LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

January 2020

Landmark ECHR judgment on online hate speech, legal victory for trans community in Kosovo, tips on how to respond to the anti-gender, and much more...



Help transform realities for LGBTI communities across Europe and Central Asia. With your support we can do more. Make change happen here.

No. 292. January 2020. In this issue...




Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Hate speech and hate crime


Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Funding opportunity to support D/deaf and disabled LGBTI activism

D/deaf and disabled LGBTI people face specific barriers and challenges when accessing human rights. Accessibility and inclusiveness have increasingly been part of conversations in the LGBTI movement, yet most D/deaf and disabled LGBTI people continue to be marginalized. At ILGA-Europe, we want to contribute to changing that with our new funding opportunity to support D/deaf and disabled LGBTI activism in Europe and Central Asia. We have worked to make this re-granting scheme as accessible as possible; you have three options for submitting an application either via online form or the form in Word format or video applications.
Read more and apply by 10 February.

Tips for responding effectively to the anti-gender discourse

In the last few years ILGA-Europe worked on various fronts to better understand the anti-gender movement and its impact on public discourse and the lives and rights of LGBTI communities. We held a research project with our members to identify the mental models around anti-gender forces but also find the best possible narrative to respond effectively. The research project consisted in 3 focus groups in 4 different countries and the main lessons learned were presented in the course of a webinar in December 2019. If you are an LGBTI activist and you wish to receive the recording of the webinar and the research report, please contact ILGA-Europe Senior Campaign and Programmes Officer Laura Piazza.
Read our blog post on Medium with 5 framing tips for responding to the anti-gender.
Read more about our work on responding to the anti-gender.

Save the date for the largest LGBTI activist conference in the region

The 24th ILGA-Europe Annual Conference will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria between 21 and 24 October 2020. The Conference will be organised in close cooperation with the Bilitis Resource Center Foundation, GLAS Foundation, and the Youth LGBT Organization Deystvie.
Read more on our webpage.

Voices of ILGA-Europe: Members tell us about their journeys to the frontlines of LGBTI activism


Annual Review 2020 will be launched on 4 February

The new edition of ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People covers events that occurred in Europe and Central Asia between January-December 2019. We will launch the report on 4 February on our digital channels and at a launch event at the European Parliament in Brussels. The Annual Review is ILGA-Europe’s yearly publication documenting legal, political and social developments in 54 countries and 4 institutions (UN, EU, COE, OSCE).
Watch the launch event live on 4 February from the European Parliament.
Come back here on 4 February at 9 AM CET to access the report.

Five pathways that are key to achieving our vision

Actively developed in association with members, the ILGA-Europe Strategic Framework 2019 – 2023 takes a different approach to our previous strategies. Using a Theory of Change methodology, the Framework breaks the work of ILGA-Europe down into five pathways that are key to achieving our vision for LGBTI people in Europe and Central Asia, which is of societies in which all people – with their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics – are enabled to live a fulfilling life as who they are, in safety, and empowered to make choices at all stages of their lives; societies which are just and fair, where the diversity of people is celebrated and where everyone is free to fully participate.
Read our Strategic Framework 2019-2023.



Party guests donate to equality

“Instead of presents, I asked for donations to ILGA-Europe at my birthday party this year as I want to contribute to improving the lives of LGBTQ people across Europe and Central Asia.” This lovely message accompanied the first donation we received in 2020. A big thank you to our supporter Julian from Germany and all his birthday party guests who contributed! Would you dedicate a special day to equality this year? Consider asking for donations in lieu of gifts, or set up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook.
Get inspired on our website.

New partnerships for LGBTI equality

Thank you to Andrew Christian, leading men’s underwear and swimwear brand, for supporting LGBTIQ equality around the world. When purchasing any item in the brand’s Project Love collection online, customers have the option to add a donation to one of ten worthy LGBTIQ+ organisations including ILGA-Europe. You might recognise the brand from RuPaul’s Drag Race, where they’ve been featured as official ‘Pit Crew’ sponsor.
Find out more about the collection and shop online.



Registration opens for the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups Annual Conference

The Board of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups and the Mozaik Community from Hungary have announced the opening of the registration for the Annual Conference that will take place in Budapest on 20/21-24 May. The European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups is an ecumenical association of LGBT Christian groups in Europe aiming to achieve equality and inclusion for LGBT people within and through Christian churches and other religious bodies and multilateral organisations.



NEW REPORT: Developments and priorities of the human rights of LGBTI people in EU accession countries

ILGA-Europe and the Equal Rights Association (ERA) launched on 27 January the joint ‘LGBTI Enlargement Review’ for developments and priorities of the human rights of LGBTI people in EU accession countries during 2019. The review will feed into the European Commission’s annual Enlargement Progress reports for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey. Adoption and effective implementation of anti-discrimination laws, legislation tackling hate speech and hate crime, recognition of same-sex partnerships, and legal gender recognition are among major issues highlighted in this year’s report.

Re-opening accession talks with the Western Balkans is crucial for protecting LGBTI rights

ILGA-Europe and the Equal Rights Association (ERA) sent a letter to the Croatian Presidency on 27 January to stress that opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania is critical in protecting LGBTI rights. In October last year, the European Council failed to approve the opening of accession talks with the Western Balkans. According to Katrin Hugendubel, Advocacy Director at ILGA-Europe, “The accession process has been a game-changer in the region as regards LGBTI rights.”
Read more on our joint press release with ERA.


Equality and non-discrimination

Big win at the Council of Europe

On 29 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on the protection of freedom of religion or belief in the workplace. Beforehand, a coalition of ILGA-Europe, IPPF European Network, European Humanist Federation, European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights, and Center for Reproductive Rights successfully lobbied, along with numerous allied Parliamentarians from across the region, to block dangerous language on "reasonable accommodation" from being adopted within the resolution text by the Council of Europe. As a result a resolution supporting protection of freedom of religion and belief in the workplace, with continued reflection of anti-discrimination law was adopted - one that protects human rights without laying the groundwork for legalisation of homophobic, transphobic, interphobic, or anti-SRHR discrimination.
More information about the resolution and voting results.



Gay couple’s foster care application rejected in Croatia

On 28 January, the Social Welfare Center in Zagreb, Croatia has rejected a foster care application submitted by a gay couple, who are life partners in Croatia, although this is in contradiction with the Croatian Administrative Court's binding ruling of 19 December 2019. The December judgment, the result of a two-year court proceeding, states that life partners should be considered on equal footing as other types of families. Not only this is a clear case of discrimination based on sexual orientation in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, but a blatant disregard of the rule of law, which is one of the priorities of Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Read more.


Freedom of assembly

PACE urges Turkish authorities over the prosecution of Pride participants

On 30 January, 22 members of the of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have published a written declaration about the several trials of LGBTI+ people and their allies on charges stemming from their attendance of Pride events in Istanbul, Ankara, Mersin and Izmir. These charges follow repeated bans of freedom of peaceful assembly around the country against LGBTI+ Pride events, and in a climate of repression of the human rights of our communities. ILGA-Europe supports this attention and concern from the Parliamentarians. Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right and the prosecution of Pride participants is a human rights abuse.
Read the full declaration signed by 22 parliamentarians.


Hate speech and hate crime

Landmark European Court of Human Rights judgment on online hate speech

On 14 January, the European Court of Human Rights found Lithuania’s failure to investigate online hateful comments against a gay couple to violate their rights to private and family life as well as being discriminatory on the ground of sexual orientation. The landmark case of Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania originated after one of the applicants posted a photograph of him kissing his male partner on his Facebook page, which led to hundreds of online hate comments.

‘Call It Hate’ project findings published with video and blogs

The EU-funded consortium project ‘Call it Hate’ has ended as of December 2019. The project team shared a series of videos from the closing conference and two blog posts on the International Network for Hate Studies website. The author Dr Piotr Godzisz discusses the research results in his first blog post “Understanding Attitudes toward LGBT People as Victims of Crimes” and he introduces the context effect in attitude surveys in his second blog post “Context effect in the study on the perceptions of violence against LGBT people”. The context effect was used to analyse the gender dimension of respondents’ attitudes towards the victims of anti-LGBT violence.

Homophobic attacks grow in Spain

A French gay couple were beaten and hospitalised while on holiday in Torremolinos, in the south of Spain. The incident occurred on 5 January when four people attacked them while shouting homophobic insults. The same week, on 9 January, another gay couple was assaulted in Vallecas, Madrid, by a group of boys who had attacked them before. One of the victims had his ulna broken and will need surgery. Two more homophobic attacks were reported in Barcelona the last weekend of January.


HIV infections among gay and bi men fall by 71% in UK

Gay and bisexual men have experienced the most dramatic decline in new infections since 2012, with rates falling by 71% in the UK, according to Public Health England. The decrease has been attributed to a rise in the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP). This means that among gay and bisexual men (both cis and trans), transmissions of HIV have dropped from 2,800 in 2012 to 800 in 2018. Campaigners are urging the government to make Prep, which is almost 100% effective at preventing transmission, more widely available.

#Health4LGBTI training course increased knowledge on LGBTI health and inequalities

A recent science paper, which was written by the #Health4LGBTI project partners, including ILGA-Europe’s Katrin Hugendubel and Cianan Russell, describes the training methods and impacts of the training materials for healthcare providers. Results indicate that training participants increased their understanding, sensitivity, and empathy with LGBTI people seeking healthcare across all sites for the training. The training materials are available for use by EU governments and beyond, and are freely available for download. Both clinical and support staff can benefit from the trainings.

Legal gender recognition

Legal victory for trans community in Kosovo

After a two-year court battle in Kosovo and a legal decision in the Basic Court of Pristina affirming his human rights, Blert Morina was finally able to change his name and gender marker in identity documents on 20 January. This is a landmark decision for Blert, transgender persons, and the whole LGBT community in Kosovo as it was the second such case in which Kosovo’s courts have ruled in favour of a trans person’s gender recognition.


Notice board

COC Netherlands is looking to recruit an evaluation consultant

COC Netherlands is looking to recruit an evaluation consultant/team to lead the end evaluation of its 5-year programme, PRIDE. The PRIDE programme is active in 16 countries and 5 regions as well as at a global and regional policy level, with 125 partners worldwide. Started in 2016, the programme has now entered its last year of implementation, warranting a final and independent evaluation. The deadline for applications is Thursday 5 February at 12pm GMT.

Job vacancies at IGLYO

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) has two job vacancies: You can apply for the Policy & Research Officer position until 17 February and for the Senior Finance Officer position until 16 February. Both posts are full-time.

All Out seeks for Senior Manager of Supporter Engagement

The global campaign group All Out is seeking for a Senior Manager of Supporter Engagement who will lead All Out's online marketing work. They will identify ways to grow and cultivate the online membership; oversee the strategy and implementation of online fundraising campaigns; manage reporting across all platforms, and supervises the Social Media Manager on the development and implementation of social media strategy.
Read more and apply by 16 February.

European Commission has open funding calls

On 15 January, the European Commission opened several calls for funding under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme. If you are an organisation based in one of the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Serbia, you are eligible to apply for project funding. The applications for the call for proposals to prevent and combat all forms of violence against children, young people and women and the call for proposals to promote the effective implementation of the principle of non-discrimination continue until 1 April; the call for proposals to prevent and combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance and to monitor, prevent and counter hate speech online is open until 15 April.
See the full list of calls and apply.