LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

May 2019

Rainbow Europe, IDAHOBIT, largest LGBTI survey in Europe, WHO's approval of depathologisation, and much more...

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No. 284. May 2019. In this issue...


Rainbow Europe 2019

Annual Conference 2019

Bodily integrity

Equality and non-discrimination

Freedom of assembly

Hate crime

Hate speech


Notice board



ComeOut Pledge received record number of signatures

The European Elections took place on May 23-26 across its 28 Member States. It has seen the highest voter turnout in 20 years. In total, we had 1674 candidates sign our Come Out pledge committed to progressing LGBTI rights across every Member State - a record number, and 473 signatures higher than our last campaign. We are now assessing which of our signatories have secured an MEP position, and what the next 5 years will look like for shaping LGBTI equality and human rights issues at EU level.
See who has signed ComeOut Pledge country-by-country.
Check out overall updates on the European elections results.

Applications are open for a study session on LGBTIQ homelessness

Apply now for a study session on LGBTIQ homelessness, co-organised by ILGA-Europe, FEANTSA, and True Colors United between 11-16 November in Budapest. The five day training course will provide the opportunity to deep dive on LGBTIQ homelessness and co-create solutions between homeless and LGBTIQ services. Deadline for applications is 21 June 2019.
Read more and apply for the study session.

Get ready to party for equality!

Tickets for ILGA-Europe’s annual summer fundraiser are on sale! The European Equality Gala brings together supporters of LGBTI equality in Brussels and beyond for an evening of food, cocktails, glitter and dancing... all in support of LGBTI equality. Get your ticket now and join us at AREA 42 in Brussels on Thursday 27 June. All proceeds from the event go directly towards ILGA-Europe's work defending LGBTI rights across Europe & Central Asia.
Read more about the Gala and get your tickets. 

Facebook fans make a difference

“Instead of birthday wishes, how about supporting a great cause?” Supporters on Facebook increasingly ask this question and have to date raised over €3000 for ILGA-Europe by inviting friends around the world to contribute. Thank you! Keep on helping by starting your own fundraising page in just a few clicks. Facebook don’t charge any fees on donations made on the platform, meaning ILGA-Europe receive 100%, and might even chip in the first donation to kick-start your fundraiser.
Start your own fundraising page in just a few clicks.


Rainbow Europe 2019

Confirmed stagnation and regression on LGBTI equality calls for immediate action

Launched on 13 May, the Rainbow Europe 2019 reveals not only a standstill in a significant number of European countries but a visible backslide on laws and policies safeguarding equality and human rights of LGBTI people. Decline is indeed clearly noticeable on this year’s Rainbow Map, ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool, which ranks 49 countries in Europe on their LGBTI equality laws and policies. For the first time in the Index’s ten-year history, countries are moving backwards as existing laws and policies disappeared.
Read our media statement and executive summary.
All data is accessible at our interactive online module

"We are here to ring an alarm bell”

"We are here to ring an alarm bell. For some years now we have seen stagnation, what we see this year for the first time in ten years is a regression in legal and policy situations protecting the rights and equality of LGBTI people across Europe" said ILGA-Europe Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel. She joined the European Commission International Cooperation and Development Department on 17 May to discuss our Rainbow Europe results and LGBTI rights in Europe.
Watch the live video recorded.

What’s next? Check out country-specific recommendations

The Rainbow Map&Index presents a picture of what the policy landscape is like right now, while our country-specific recommendations attempt to answer the question “what’s next?” These recommendations for national policymakers are intended to encourage policymakers to address the most pressing legal and policy priorities within the framework of our Rainbow Map&Index. The recommendations were gathered following an online consultation with a wide range of LGBTI organisations in the various countries.
Visit to see country-by country recommendations.


Annual Conference 2019

Spread the word: Scholarships are open

Propose workshops, consultations, and presentations

Bodily integrity

OII Europe has two new resources on intersex rights

OII Europe released two important documents – the Good Practice Map and the Intersex Legal Toolkit. The Good Practice Map 2018 is a compilation of good practice examples from selected European countries, including examples for missed opportunities and rights under attack for intersex people. The toolkit, released in collaboration with ILGA-Europe, describes the areas of life in which intersex people are most vulnerable to violations on the basis of their sex characteristics, and provides detailed guidance on what to do to minimise or eliminate these violations, and is accompanied by a detailed appendix and a checklist for policymakers.

New research publication: ‘Intersex - towards building an intersectional platform’

Geten, ILGA-Europe member organisation in Serbia, presented the research results of their project ‘Intersex - towards building an intersectional platform’. The central part of the project includes two researches: a research of intersex people's legal position in Serbia and a research about medical workers' and associates' knowledge and attitudes to intersex people in Serbia.


Equality and non-discrimination

IDAHOBIT 2019 - What did I miss?

ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said “Let today be a real celebration of the unwavering determination of LGBTI people in all their diversity to be heard, to be seen and truly valued for who they are.” 17 May was a busy day in the calendar of LGBTI activists all over Europe. We have a round-up of events, statements and celebrations that took place to mark International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia, and Intersexphobia 2019.
Read what happened on 17 May 2019 around Europe.

Trans Rights Map and Index 2019 is out

Transgender Europe (TGEU) launched the 2019 edition of the Trans Rights Map & Index on 13 May. The Map highlights the forced sterilisation of transgender persons and the requirement for a mental health diagnosis in gender recognition procedures. The Index details country information in 29 legal categories, such as legal gender recognition, asylum, bias speech/ violence, non-discrimination, health and family. TGEU presented for the first time the Map&Index with the information included from the Central Asian countries and with the translated version in Russian.

New anti-discrimination law in North Macedonia

The Law on Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination came into effect in North Macedonia after the newly-elected President signed it on 22 May. Sexual orientation and gender identity are included as protected grounds, which is a result of the LGBTI movement’s efforts for many years. ILGA-Europe congratulate all LGBTI activists and their allies who stood behind the law. Civil society organisations, including those working for LGBTI equality, are ready to work with institutions on ensuring full implementation of the new legislation and will be closely monitoring impact of the legal protections and implementation policies.

Freedom of assembly

Right-wing groups attacked a feminist event in Kyrgyzstan

On International Workers’ Day on 1 May, the 8/365 Movement uniting feminists and LBT women were attacked in Bishkek by vigilantes of the Qyrq-Choro Nationalist Movement at an event dedicated to raising awareness about labour rights of women and LGBT people in Kyrgyzstan. Prior to the day, a press-release had been issued calling for decent work for all, equal pay for women, non-discrimination at work, work and leisure balance among others. On 27 May, the 8/365 Movement addressed a formal letter to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic requesting him to publicly state his position on the attacks and ensure unbiased investigation of the crime. Previous attempts to hold the the Qyrq-Choro Nationalist Movement accountable for hate speech and hate crimes have so far been unsuccessful. (Photo credit: Kaktus Media)

Police attacked a student-led Pride in Ankara due to the Rector’s ban

The LGBTI+ students group from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara scheduled their annual Pride March for 10 May. Although o local court had lifted the blanket ‘state of emergency’ ban on LGBTI+ events in the city since 19 April, the university Rector announced few days prior to the planned March that it cannot take place due to the ban in Ankara. On 10 May, hundreds of LGBTI+ students and their allies gathered on the campus for the 9th Pride March. However, the security forces, who came to the university with the call of the Rector, attacked students with plastic bullets, tear gas and physical force to stop. A lecturer and 21 students were detained and released later in the night. (Photo credit: Kaos GL)

Hate crime

Trans women are attacked by taxi drivers in Bishkek

Two trans women were attacked by a taxi driver in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on 5 May. The driver demanded the passengers to leave the cab and denied them the service. When the women refused to leave, the driver grabbed one of them by hair to pull her out of the car. Other taxi drivers, who were nearby, also rushed to help the driver to force the passengers out of the vehicle. The women received injuries and filed a formal complaint with the district police and the management of the taxi company. Relevant law enforcement bodies have so far been reluctant to take the case further; however the victims are persistent in pursuing the justice. The investigation is ongoing.


Hate speech

New research on anti-LGBTQ speech in Europe

A book by Eric Louis Russell out this month looks at anti-LGBTQ speech on the populist Far Right in Italy, France and Belgian Flanders, contributing to our understanding of the ways in which homophobic discourse functions. The author, Associate Professor at University of California, Davis, has generously dedicated all his author royalties to ILGA-Europe in support of the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia.

Funding opportunity to counter hate and extremism both online and offline

Applications are now open for the Google.Org Impact Challenge on Safety - a €10m fund to support organisations across Europe that are working on challenges related to hate, extremism, and child safety, both online and offline. By funding new and existing community projects across Europe, Google aims to support initiatives to counter hate and extremism, and help young people to become confident digital citizens. Deadline for applications is 28 June.
Find out more about the Impact Challenge on Safety and how to apply.

Call for papers for the international conference on anti-LGBT hate crime

University of Brescia (Italy), Lambda Warsaw (Poland), Hatter Society (Hungary), in cooperation with the National University of Public Service (Hungary) and together with 50 partner organisations, have announced the international conference ‘Raising Awareness On Anti-LGBT Hate Crime: Research, Policy and Practice’, organised within the framework of the EU-funded project Call It Hate. During the conference the Call it Hate Research Report will also be launched. You can now send your proposals for the programme of the conference by 28 June.
Read more about the project and conference.

Anti-LGBTI rhetoric in presidential election campaign in Kazakhstan

As Kazakhstan nears to yet another election to elect the new President, one of the candidates utilizes anti-LGBTI rhetoric in his presidential campaign which had not been the case in previous elections. According to the presidential candidate Sadi-Bek Tugel “implementation of Kazakhstan’s programme on developing the tourism sector shall prohibit amoral behaviour of foreign tourists travelling to Kazakhstan”. In his campaign, Sadi-Bek Tugel believes that such “amoral behaviours” include “gays, lesbians and prostitutes”, who are inconsistent with the “Kazakh mentality” and as such “cannot be tolerated”. Hate speech against LGBTI people by public figures in Kazakhstan is a common phenomenon about which the Kazakh authorities have not address deliberately.
For more, read (in Russian).



Monumental shift in global health for trans and gender diverse people

Trans and gender diverse activists around the world, along with their allies, are celebrating the adoption of the International Classifications of Diseases 11th Revision at the World Health Assembly on 27 May. The 11th Revision marks the depsychopathologisation of trans identities (i.e. signifying that trans identities are not a mental illness). There is significant work to be done still on the pathologisation of intersex people and their bodies and of trans and gender diverse children. Additionally, now begins the process of advocating for national-level implementation with full coverage within national health systems.
Read more about WHO’s historic decision.
OII Europe and intersex-led organisations worldwide join in a statement on the lack of intersex depathologisation in ICD-11.

Queering sexual and reproductive health and rights

On the occasion of the upcoming Pride Month, the Inspire NGO has launched a three-week series called “Queering Sexual And Reproductive Health And Rights” in the hope of raising awareness on current sexual and reproductive health and rights’ struggles, goals and achievements related to intersex, queer, gay, lesbian, bi and trans people. With this series, the goal is also to challenge the binary and heteronormative narratives around sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to encourage colleagues, partners and others to make SRHR discussions all-inclusive.
Read the first blog ‘Queering SRHR: LGBTIQ Families’.
Read the second blog ‘Queering SRHR: Homo-Bi-Trans-Phobia No More’.

Survey regarding visit in your HIV clinic in Europe

European AIDS Treatment Group launched a 5min survey to people living with HIV and clinical staff working at HIV clinics about their visits to HIV clinic and their access to telemedicine services. The survey aims to increase understanding on the uses and impact of m-health solutions in the delivery of HIV care in Europe. The survey is part of an EU funded project called EmERGE and it is available in different languages.
Read more and take part in the survey by 17 June.


Notice board

Take part in and share the largest survey about the lives of LGBTI people in Europe

The EU LGBTI Survey is now live – the largest survey about the lives of LGBTI people in Europe, launched by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. If you live in a European Union Member State, Serbia or North Macedonia, this is your chance to share what it’s like to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex in your country. Because it will send a strong data-driven message about what works and what doesn’t for improving the lives of LGBTI people, and where policies, legislation and implementation need to step up for human rights and equality.
Complete the survey by 7 July in your preferred language.

Registration open for the regional LGBT+ platform meeting in Central Asia

LGBT+ people will gather on August 12 – 14, 2019 in one of the capitals of Central Asian countries to discuss creation of a regional LGBT+ Platform for knowledge and information exchange. LGBT+ people in the Central Asian region face common challenges and the platform will allow a safe learning space for human rights defenders and LGBT+ community members to develop various approaches to advocacy, community building, security support and researches. LGBT+ people across Central Asia who would like to share their experience, knowledge and expertise may register to the event at this link by the deadline of June 10, 2019.
For more information, visit the event’s website (in Russian).

International Detention Coalition seeks for a Programme Officer

The International Detention Coalition has a vacancy for a Europe Programme Officer who will work closely with the Europe Regional Coordinator to fulfil the IDC’s mission at the national and regional levels through networking and capacity building; advocacy; awareness raising and campaigns; and research and reporting on issues relating to immigration detention and alternatives to detention. They will contribute to supporting and facilitating the European Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Network and working collaboratively with members to implement national and regional strategies for reducing immigration detention in Europe.
Send your applications before 9 June.

Call for nominations: Success stories of resistance

European Civic Forum are looking for victorious stories of activists, associations, movements or groups of citizens who fight for fundamental rights and justice for all, while also resisting attempts to deny their rights to associate, protest, speak out and act. Selected activists will be invited to a reward ceremony in Brussels in winter 2019, and their stories will support ECF’s campaigning and advocacy efforts for 2020. Nominations are open until 15 June.
Read more and apply.

Apply for OutRight’s Advocacy Week 2019

Every December, OutRight Action International hosts LGBTIQ activists from around the world in New York for a week of high-level meetings and activities at the Headquarters of the United Nations. Advocacy Week 2019 will be held from December 4 to 13 and kick off with two days of training. Throughout the rest of the week, OutRight sets up strategic meetings with diplomatic missions, governments, and individuals, as well as organizing events at the United Nations for activists to take part in and make use of.
Read more and apply before 8 July.