LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

May 2016


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No. 249. May 2016. In this issue...


Bias motivated speech

Bias motivated violence


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Rainbow Europe 2016 – Changing laws and changing lives are not always the same thing

On 10 May, ILGA-Europe launched the Rainbow Europe package 2016 at the fourth annual conference to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Rainbow Europe package 2016 revealed an increasingly unequal picture of developments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people across Europe.
Read more about Rainbow Europe 2016 here

Annual Conference 2016: registration is now open and scholarship programme launched

The Annual Conference 2016 will kick off in Nicosia from Wednesday 19 October to Saturday 22 October. Registration is now open - deadline is Friday 19 August. ILGA-Europe is offering scholarships for activists who would otherwise be unable to participate in the conference for financial reasons, but the number of scholarships available is limited.  Deadline for applications is Sunday 19 June 2016 (midnight CET).
Read more about the Annual Conference 2016 here

Your chance to act – European Equality Gala tickets on sale now

The second European Equality Gala, ILGA-Europe’s only fundraiser, will take place on 29 June in Brussels. This is your chance to join European political figures, opinion shapers and leading LGBTI activists for a fabulous evening in support of the LGBTI movement all over Europe.
Secure your place at the 2016 European Equality Gala here

Job opportunity with ILGA-Europe as Advocacy and Programmes Officer

ILGA-Europe is looking for an Advocacy and Programmes Officer to work with the staff team in Brussels. Closing date for receipt of applications: Wednesday 15 June 2016.
Read more about the opportunity here

Bias motivated speech

European Parliament speaks out against online homo- and transphobic hate speech

On 28 April, the European Parliament adopted a report which expresses concern about online homo- and transphobic hate speech, and calls for strong measures to counter online hate speech. The report urges  the Commission to demand greater efforts from the Member States to prosecute any homophobic or transphobic crimes that take place online. It adds that Member States should properly apply the EU legislation relating to the rights of victims.
Read more on the website of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI Rights

Bias motivated violence

Violence against LGBTI activists in Georgia

Bias-motivated violence appears to be on the rise in Georgia, which is seen by Georgian LGBTI activists as a consequence of the authorities taking an aggressor’s stance towards LGBTI. Attacks on community members in the streets have happened on the backdrop of the obstruction to 17 May rallies, reported intimidation of activists, and hosting of the World Congress of Families along with a big ‘traditional family values’ demonstration - the Day of Family Purity.
Read more about violence in Georgia here
More about Georgia on

Attacks on Polish LGBTI organisation

„This is the third attack on the Campaign Against Homophobia during the recent weeks. In the 15-year history of our organisation, we have never been attacked so frequently”- says Mirosława Makuchowska, the Vice President of Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), commenting on the incidents, which resulted in breaking the windows of the KPH’s office. According to her, recent developments in Poland are to be blamed on politicians, who are giving consent to such behaviour by their actions.
Read more about the attacks here
More about Poland on


Eight national projects on LGBTI people in school environments

On 17 May, ILGA-Europe launched eight in-depth national projects on LGBTI people in school environments supported by the Advocacy and Documentation Fund. The reports focused specifically on data-collection of discriminatory practices, including bullying, faced by young LGBTI people in the area of education and ways to overcome them. For the launch ILGA-Europe produced three visuals highlighting some of the main findings in the reports. 
Read more about the reports and download the visuals here

High level UNESCO event and launch of global report

On 17-18 May, UNESCO facilitated the high level event ‪#‎OutInTheOpen in Paris. At the event, education ministers from a number of countries (among them European countries: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Malta, Moldova, The Netherlands and Slovenia) agreed on a call for action on "inclusive and equitable education for all learners - in an environment free from discrimination and violence". Furthermore UNESCO launched a Global Report on education sector responses to violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Read more about the event here
Read more about the report here

No More Hidding – new campaign on young LGBTQI people in education

IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation, has created a film and photo exhibition to highlight the difficult and often traumatic experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex young people in education settings. No More Hiding presents a global snapshot of homophobia and transphobia, which remains a harsh reality for many students and young people.
Read more about the campaign here

Equality and non-discrimination

Cause and effect – Europe’s politicians must take responsibility for their actions on IDAHOT 2016

ILGA-Europe’s IDAHOT 2016 statement: ILGA-Europe want to remind European governments that the choices they make will have real, long-lasting impacts on people’s well-being. Improving the quality of life of LGBTI people (whether that is by protecting people from being discriminated against in school or at work, implementing robust hate crime legislation or increasing access to suitable medical care) will inevitably have positive effects on their overall health.
Read the full statement here

Opinion piece: What sort of civil society does Europe want?

"...I can’t help wondering, if strong and empowered civil society is so central to advancing equality in our societies, then what are governments doing to protect it?..."After returning from events to mark IDAHOT, our executive director Evelyne Paradis reflects on the situation faced by NGOs and civil society in Europe.
Read her full opinion piece in the EUObserver

Whose values? Upholding the rule of law and universal human rights for all

On 24 May, the General Affairs Council of the European Union discussed integration of migrants in a rule of law dialogue and our organisations want to recall the spirit of Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This must be the basis of any discussion within the European Union regarding “fundamental values, integration and the rule of law”.
Read the joint NGO statement from ENAR, the European Women's Lobby, CEJI and ILGA-Europe here

Same-sex partnership act and new anti-discrimination law adopted in Slovenia

A bill extending the legal consequences stemming from marriage to same-sex couples (except for joint adoption rights and access to fertility treatment) was signed by the Slovenian President. The law entered into force in the end of May. A second bill on protection from discrimination which includes sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression was at the same time adopted and put into force. So why are Slovenian LGBTI activists not celebrating? A possible upcoming referendum petition might roll back the two decisions. It is still unclear when and if the referendum will take place.
Read more about Slovenia on

French Ministry of Foreign Affairs organises an IDAHOT debate

On 17 May, ILGA-Europe was invited to speak together with French LGBTI organisations at a debate organised by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on IDAHOT on "how to promote the rights of LGBTI people".  
Read more about the debate here (only in French)


European Parliament speaks out for mutual recognition domestic adoptions

Italy becomes 27th European country to legally recognise same-sex couples

On 11 May, the Italian Chamber of Deputies voted in favour of a civil union bill in a final vote. This means that same-sex couples in Italy are legally recognised for the first time. ILGA-Europe warmly welcome this news and are looking forward to the imminent signature of the civil unions bill by President Mattarella on 5 June – hereafter ILGA-Europe will consequently update on Italy.
Read more about the civil partnership law in Italy

Latvian Supreme Court rules on request on marriage of same-sex couples

On 27 May, Latvia's Supreme Court overturned an administrative court decision to refuse an application to register a marriage of a same-sex couple. The matter however should have been considered in a context not of marriage, but of registering registered partnership, and it should be established whether the refusal does not contravene the Latvian Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Read more about the ruling here
More about Latvia on

Upcoming European court case on partnership recognition in Russia 

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated a complaint by three same-sex couples in Russia (two lesbian couples and a gay men couple) under Article 8 of the Convention alone and under Article 14 of the Convention taken in conjunction with Article 8 of the Convention that they “...had been discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation because they had no means of securing a legal basis for their relationship as it was impossible for them to enter into marriage. Also the couples had no other possibility to gain legal recognition for their relationship."
Read more about the upcoming case here

Constitutional amendment on the definition of “Family Life” postponed in the Lithuanian Parliament

On 20 March, a meeting to consider the Constitutional amendment, which seeked to define “family life” as emanating exclusively from a marriage between a man and a woman, was scheduled at the Legal Affairs Committee of the Lithuanian Parliament. However, the Committee failed to meet the quorum and the consideration of the draft amendment was postponed until further notice.
Read more about the postponement here

More about Lithuania on

Portuguese Parliament votes to extend medically assisted reproduction to all women

On 13 May, the Portuguese Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of extending medically assisted reproduction to all women. Until recently, this type of medical assistance was only made available to married heterosexual couples. With this vote single women and lesbian married couples will also be able to benefit from this assistance to become pregnant.
Read more in the media release from NELFA, the Network of European LGBTIQ Families Association

More about Portugal on

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Freedom of assembly

Yet another tough May month for freedom of assembly in Russia

Georgian LGBTI activists prohibited to celebrate IDAHOT

Longest Pride event in Moldova – however interrupted

Legal gender recognition

ILGA World statement on gender incongruence of childhood

On 24 April, the ILGA World board issued a statement on gender incongruence of childhood: “As the world federation of LGBTI organisations, we strongly believe that gender diversity is not – and should never be – a pathology.”
Read the full statement here

Failed attempt to introduce procedure for legal gender recognition in France

On 19 May, the French National Assembly voted in favour of a legislative proposal that would introduce a procedure for legal gender recognition. However, sub-amendments tabled by the French government mean that the fundamental human rights of trans people in France would continue to be restricted.
Read more on the website of Inter-LGBT
More about France on

Notice board

Registration is open for ILGA World Conference

It is time again for the global LGBTI movement to meet again, to network and to strategise about the future: the next ILGA World Conference will take place from 28 November to 2 December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. Deadline for registration: 29 August; 23:59 CET.
Read more about the ILGA World Conference 2016 here

Internship opportunity with IGLYO 

IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation, is looking for a new research intern to join their team in Brussels for 5 months. Deadline for applications: 20 June.
Read more about the opportunity here

Seminar "I am what I am: Promoting LGBTI rights in Europe"

On 29 November, the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and Rainbow Rose will organise a seminar in Brussels to discuss LGBTI rights in Europe and the role of local and regional authorities in championing equality and tackling discrimination. The seminar will cover topics such as civil rights, education, crime and access to public services and will include a number of high level speakers, including Maltese Minister for Civil Liberties, Helena Dalli, former MEP and President of the LGBTI Intergroup, Lord Michael Cashman, Liliana Rodrigues MEP, who recently authored a report on tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and many more.
Read more about the seminar and how you can attend here

3rd International East meets West Forum

The 2016 International East meets West Forum will take place on 17 June in Vienna, Austria. It will be the annual meeting of the East meets West network and interested outsiders, to discuss LGBT topics, present ideas, realisations, future plans and to create an environment for efficient networking.
Read more about the forum here
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