LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

July 2021

Infringement procedures against Hungary and Poland, first same-sex unions in Montenegro, and much more...

No. 310. July 2021. In this issue...


Data collection

Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Freedom of speech

Hate crime

Notice board



Listen to our interviews with author Elif Shafak and journalist Ben Hunte

ILGA-Europe published two new episodes of The Frontline podcast containing interviews with the internationally acclaimed Turkish novelist, essayist, and advocate for women’s and LGBTI rights and freedom of expression, Elif Shafak and BBC LGBT Correspondent, Ben Hunte. Elif Shafak joins ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis to talk about a widespread decline of democracy, the fight for LGBTI rights and equality, the power of our stories and her own journey towards being a vocal member of the LGBTI community. In the next episode, Ben Hunte sat down with us to talk about the relationship between the media and LGBTI issues, why some stories get all the attention to the detriment of others, the rise of anti-trans voices in newspapers and broadcasting, and ways we might get the real diversity of LGBTI stories picked up.
Listen to the podcast episode with Elif Shafak.
Listen to the podcast episode with Ben Hunte.
Find previous episodes.

Data collection

New survey report on the impact of COVID-19 on lesbian people in Europe and Central Asia

The Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Community – EL*C published their brand-new report “Resistance As A Way Of Living: Lesbian Lives Through The Covid-19 Pandemic”, which analyses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lesbian communities (individuals and NGOs) across Europe and Central Asia. The report highlights the ways the pandemic has exacerbated pre-COVID-19 inequalities and presents a series of recommendations for decision makers to address the issues at stake.

New publication documenting the status of Prides around the world

OutRight launched a new briefing "Pride Around the World" which shows that 102 countries around the world host some form of Pride event; 8 countries have held their first Pride in the last 3 years; in many places, Pride events are coming under increasing attack; and despite hostile environments, new Pride events emerge every year.

New report on LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in the UK

NGO akt’s The LGBTQ+ Youth Homelessness Report 2021, shines a light on the experiences of LGBTQ+ young people between the ages of 16-25 who have faced homelessness in the UK within the last 5 years. Using both a quantitative survey and in-depth interviews with young people, it explores factors leading to homelessness (familial abuse and intimate partner abuse), the impact of homelessness, awareness of support services and levels of access, experiences of discrimination and harassment within support services and young people’s recommendations on how to improve services. Trans young people, young people of colour and disabled young people were disproportionately impacted by most of the issues covered in the report.

Equality and non-discrimination

EU has clarified that member states can no longer act against human rights with impunity

On 15 July, the European Commission announced that it will take landmark infringement procedures against both Hungary and Poland. The procedures against Hungary concern the censorship of a children’s book portraying LGBTI characters, and the legislation that entered into force last week, which prohibits the inclusion of LGBTI people in material in schools or in media for under-18s. The procedures against Poland concern a refusal to clarify whether LGBTI people are discriminated against in the labour market in the country’s so-called LGBT Free Zones.

5 ways you can help the Hungarian LGBTI community

As Hungary introduces a draconian new anti-LGBTI law, ILGA-Europe have been receiving a huge volume of requests for information about how to support the Hungarian LGBTI community in the face of such a ruthless attack on their fundamental rights and freedoms. In a blog post, we list five concrete things you can do to support LGBTI people in the first EU country to introduce Russian style anti-propaganda legislation. (Photo credit: Nagy Szabolcs / Budapest Pride)


IVF rights to be extended to lesbian and single women in France

On 30 June, the French parliament voted in favour of extending invitro fertilisation access to lesbians and single women. Unfortunately, the law fails to address the rights of trans or intersex people, leaving more work to do. This is an important step toward full protection of the right of LGBTI people to found a family, and we hope it will be just one of many steps in ensuring full equality for all. (Photo credit: Inter LGBT)

ILGA-Europe and TGEU welcome European Court judgement in favour of trans parental rights in Russia

On 6 July, in a landmark judgement strongly welcomed by TGEU and ILGA-Europe, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of a woman in Russia who was denied access to her children because of her gender identity and transition. Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe said: “Too often we are hearing the best interest of the child being abused as an argument to limit the rights of LGBTI people. We are glad to see the Court clearly rejecting such an abusive argument, and instead naming very concrete responsibilities for state authorities in ensuring the best interest of the child. Spreading hatred, misinformation and splitting loving parents from their children is not in the best interest of children.”

European Court acknowledges states’ positive obligation to establish a legal framework for same-sex unions

On 13 July, the European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgment in the case Fedotova and Others v Russia concerning recognition of same-sex unions. The Court reiterated states’ positive obligation to establish a legal framework to ensure the effective enjoyment of the rights of private and family life under Article 8 ECHR. The judgment acknowledged the social reality of same-sex couples’ lives in and the conflict the existing legislation creates due to lack of recognition of their relationships: access to rights for a minority cannot be dependent on the acceptance of those by the majority. This is a great step forward in strengthening recognition of same-sex unions and applies across the Council of Europe member states.

First same-sex partnership concluded in Montenegro

On 25 July, the first ever same-sex partnership was concluded in Montenegro, in the town of Budva. The same-sex partnership law was voted by Parliament on 1 July 2020, making Montenegro a leader in the region as the first Western Balkans country outside the EU to adopt such legislation. We now hope to see all relevant bylaws amended so that the law can be implemented in its entirety and all couples under this law can conclude registered partnerships.

Freedom of assembly

Fourth hearing of METU Pride trial takes place

On 16 July, the defendants of the METU Pride trial faced their fourth hearing in Ankara, after another postponement in April. The defendants requested to give their defense at the next hearing, which will take place on 8 October. On 31 July 2020 an Ankara administrative court annulled the 2019 ban on the METU Pride March, which should have led to the acquittal of the defendants during the 10 December 2020 hearing. (Photo credit: METU LGBTI+)

Freedom of speech

First trial against Polish activists who created the “Atlas of Hate” takes place

On 21 July, the team behind the “Atlas of Hate” (which mapped Poland’s municipalities and regions which have adopted anti-LGBT resolutions and Family Charters), faced their first trial in Ostrołęka. The activists are being sued for “defamation” for the Atlas of Hate. The next hearing will also take place in Ostrołęka, on 8 October. This case is one of a number of cases, organised by Ordo Iuris in the name of various local councils, aimed at silencing and intimidating the activists who have highlighted the discriminatory nature of the resolutions and Charters that have been adopted. These cases are known as SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), which ILGA-Europe is working in a coalition of NGOs to tackle at the European level.

Hate crime

MEPs address lesbophobic violence in Albania

On 2 July, the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights published a letter which addressed, among other lesbophobic violence incidents, hate speech against an Albanian LGBTI activist. ILGA-Europe joins the Intergroup in condemning this hate speech, and we also point to the fact that hate speech leads to hate crime: some days after the start of this wave of hate speech against the activist, a trans person was physically assaulted by ten men in Tirana, on 16 June.

Azerbaijan: Investigate attacks on LGBTI+ persons

On 6 July, ILGA-Europe, The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Civil Rights Defenders, and RFSL released a joint statement calling on Azerbaijani authorities to swiftly respond to the recent instances of hate crime incidents with unambiguous public condemnation, and prompt, thorough, impartial, and independent investigations to hold those responsible to account. Since 30 May 2021, there have been credible reports of a series of attacks against LGBTI+ persons in Baku. The attacks include physical violence, threats, and harassment with explicit homophobic and transphobic intent, including hateful comments made online. According to local human rights defenders, ten hate-related incidents have been reported to the police. (Photo credit: Minority Azerbaijan)

LGBTI organisations urge Georgia to address recent attacks at the UN Human Rights Council

On 9 July, at the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, ILGA-Europe and ILGA World delivered a joint statement, drafted in consultation with NGO Women's Initiatives Supporting Group, on recent attacks against LGBTI people and organisations in Georgia. Together with several Georgian LGBTI community organisations, we urge the Government of Georgia to address these hate crimes adequately, conduct proper and thorough investigations, and hold those responsible to account. We call as well on the Georgian authorities to take necessary measures to ensure safety for the LGBTI community in general.

Notice board

European Commission publishes first funding calls of EU4Health

The European Commission published first calls for their “EU4Health” projects which will close on 15 September, with the results published in December. As the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy committed to ensuring funding for research on LGBTI health, and specifically on trans and intersex health, ILGA-Europe recommends LGBTI organisations to consider the opportunity.
Read more and apply by 15 September.

ILGA World is seeking an Executive Director

ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is seeking an authentic, respected and mission-driven individual to join as Executive Director. LGBTI D/deaf and disabled people; lesbian and bisexual women; intersex persons; trans, gender-diverse, and non-binary persons; and persons from the Global South are especially encouraged to apply, to increase the representation of people among LGBTI communities in ILGA World’s work.
Read more and apply by 9 August.

IGLYO is looking for an Executive Director

The International LGBTQI Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) is accepting applications to become their Executive Director. IGLYO particularly encourages applications from women, trans, intersex and non-binary people, people of color and black people, people with migrant or immigrant backgrounds, those with disabilities and those who are under 30 years old.

Transgender Europe has several staff and consultancy vacancies

Transgender Europe (TGEU) is looking for a Deputy Director, a Research Officer, two Policy Officers, and an EECA Officer to join their team as full-time staff. TGEU also published consultancy opportunities on policy, strategic litigation, translation, interpretation, and evaluation.

OII Europe is looking for a Finance and Administration Officer

The Organisation Intersex International Europe (OII Europe) seeks a Finance and Administration Officer who will manage the organisation’s financial resources and implement and control, together with the Executive Director, all finance-related activities of the strategic and operational financial planning, monitoring and reporting of the organisation.