LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

October 2019

Conference in Prague, new survey on communications, rising hate attacks in Europe, 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. 289. October 2019. In this issue...


Annual Conference 2019

Bodily integrity


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Freedom of expression

Hate speech and hate crime


Notice board




Make your voice heard by our new survey: Communicating for Change

On 21 October, ILGA-Europe launched a survey to assess the needs of the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia in the area of communications. We invite all groups and organisations, small and big, registered and non-registered, ILGA-Europe members or not, to participate in this survey. ILGA-Europe will be using the results to plan for new resources to support your work, and, with the help of donors, creating new grant opportunities to support communications efforts.
Take the survey now in English or Russian.
Read more about the strategic communication needs assessment.

Join our team as Senior Advocacy Officer

We are looking for a Senior Advocacy Officer to join our staff team based in Brussels. The successful candidate will be contributing to ILGA-Europe’s advocacy work aimed at bringing legal, political and social change for LGBTI people across Europe, by working with European institutions to leverage their mechanisms for change, by setting benchmarks for national governments on LGBTI equality, by engaging with governments and civil society at national level to strengthen capacity to translate political commitments into concrete measures, and by acting as a thought-leader on strategic issues for the European LGBTI movement.
Send your application by 25 November 2019 (12:00 noon CET).

Revolut community raises €20k for equality

Here is proof that every little really does count. By choosing to donate their spare change, customers of Revolut have raised more than €20,000 for ILGA-Europe since launch of the new Donations feature back in July. Thank you! Revolut, a leading digital bank, allows users across Europe to round up their card payments and instantly donate the difference to good causes like LGBTI equality.
Read about the donation feature on Revolut. 

Watch the webinar on LGBTIQ youth homelessness and the role of LGBTIQ organisations

LGBTIQ youth homelessness is a much under addressed issue in the European and Central-Asian region, a reality that needs to change. As part of our intersectionality work and in an effort to address socio-economic inequalities and their impact on LGBTIQ people, ILGA-Europe organised the webinar ‘An introduction to LGBTIQ youth homelessness and the role of LGBTIQ organisations’ on 27 September. Moderated by ILGA-Europe's Senior Programmes & Policy Officer Valeria Santostefano, during this webinar we heard from four partners: Simona Mursec from Ljubljana Pride Association, Robbie Stakelum from FEANTSA, and Gregory Lewis from of True Colors United.
Watch online the recording of the webinar anytime anywhere.


Annual Conference 2019

600 activists and allies came together in Prague

23rd ILGA-Europe Annual Conference took place in Prague, Czech Republic between 23-26 October. 600 participants from Europe, Central Asia, and all around the world gathered for the Conference with the theme ‘Stronger Together’, which was hosted by local organisations, Prague Pride and Proud.
Participants shared their thoughts on social media throughout the Conference.

Watch the live streams online

You can watch the key sessions back here - including the inspiring panel discussions on this year’s theme ‘Stronger Together’ and the inspirational speech by Alison Lowe.
Watch the opening session with the speeches from local hosts, ILGA-Europe ED and co-chairs, and Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.
Watch the Quuer-ed speech by Alison Lowe, Chief Executive of Touchstone.
Watch the panel discussion on ‘Stronger Together’ with Georgy Mamedov (Leftist and LGBT activist, curator and educator), Marija Golubeva (Member of the Latvian Parliament), and Mina Tolu (Co-spokesperson of FYEG - the Federation of Young European Greens).
Watch the second panel discussion on ‘Stronger Together’ with Carol Shepherd (Secretary of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups), Annelies Tukker, (International policy officer at NNID Foundation), Olave Nduwanje (Jurist and queer, anti-racist, feminist activist), and David Kakhaberi (Executive Director at Equality Movement, LGBT/AIDS activist, founder of HOROOM Nights).
Watch the keynote speech by Dunja Mijatović (Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights).
Watch the closing remarks by Terry Reintke (co-chair of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament) and Irena Moozova (Director for Equality and Union Citizenship at the European Commission).


Bodily integrity

Share your intersex story with OII Europe

‘France lacks understanding of intersex human rights violations’

On 8 October, OII Europe released a press statement following the amendments to the French Bioethic law adopted at the National Assembly in France. The members of the Assembly failed to prohibit non-vital surgeries on infants and children with a variation in their sex characteristics by 89 voices against 19. “French intersex activists and their allies have worked hard to make sure that include intersex human rights would be the basis of bioethics law amendment. As we see today, this work has not yet come to an end” said OII Europe in their statement.
Read the statement in full. 

Event on human rights law for bodily integrity and bodily autonomy is available online

On 2 October during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe autumn session in Strasbourg, OII Europe and ILGA-Europe organised a side event to discuss human rights law regarding bodily integrity and bodily autonomy. Dan Christian Ghattas, Executive Director of OII Europe, Mauro Cabral Grinspan, Executive Director of GATE, and Cianán Russell, Senior Policy Officer of ILGA-Europe had a discussion about the resource “Protecting Intersex People in Europe: A Toolkit for Law and Policymakers”, which was published by OII Europe and ILGA-Europe last May.
The recording of the event is now available online.
Download the toolkit “Protecting Intersex People in Europe”.



LGBTQ+ representation on TV awarded

ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director Evelyne Paradis was proud to judge the Representation of LGBTQ+ category in the MIPCOM Diversify TV Awards, held this month in Cannes. Warm congratulations to the winners: Vida, a series about two Mexican-American sisters rebuilding their mother's business; Transkids, a coming-of-age journey of four teenagers in the process of transitioning; and in the Kids’ programming category, The Bravest Knight, about two princely dads telling their adventures to their adoptive daughter.


Equality and non-discrimination

Trans woman in Kyrgyzstan wins a court case against a media outlet

On 10 October, the trial court in Kyrgyzstan issued a judgment on a trans woman’s lawsuit against the media outlet NewsTV. Lola is is a vocal trans activist about violations of human rights of trans people in Kyrgyzstan. In October 2018, NewsTV released a programme featuring Lola and her friends without their consent. The reporters showed up at the time when Lola and her friends had been stopped by the traffic police and were having arguments as to the reasons of why the police had stopped them. NewsTV reporters filmed Lola and her friends in spite of numerous requests not to film them without disguising their faces. NewsTV widely shared the video online showing the persons’ faces and disclosing their identity. It became viral online, receiving hundreds of transphobic comments and threats. Lola sued the NewsTV for releasing the video. After nearly a year of investigations and hearings, the court declared the actions of the channel partially illegal and imposed a fine on the news outlet. Lola is not fully satisfied with the court ruling and is contemplating whether to appeal the judgement.

Is the Lithuanian Equal Treatment draft law another missed opportunity?

This September, the Lithuanian Parliament began to review a new legislative proposal on the Law of Equal Treatment amendments, initiated by the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. According to ILGA-Europe member organization LGL, the amendments failed to extend a list of grounds of prohibited discrimination, not including gender identity as such, “which might result in transgender individuals having no legal mechanism effectively securing them from possible discrimination in a variety of spheres, such as education or work.”


National Assembly in France passed the bill on IVF for lesbians, other women in same-sex relationships, and single women

The French National Assembly voted on 15 October to provide lesbians, other women in same-sex relationships, and single women in France with access to medically assisted reproduction methods, including IVF. The bill passed 359-114 and it will be considered in the Senate as last step to become a law.
Read the reaction from ILGA-Europe’s member organization Inter-LGBT.

Freedom of assembly

Istanbul Pride participants were sentenced at the Court

The hearing for 6 people, who were detained by the police during the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March which took place on 1 July 2018, was held on 4 October at a local criminal court. The allegations included the defiance to the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations as well as "resisting police officers to prevent them from doing their task" and "endangering traffic safety". Although 4 of them were acquitted, one person sentenced to 5 months on the allegation of resisting a public official, and another was sentenced to 2 months and 15 days on the grounds of endangering traffic safety. In both decisions, the announcement of the verdict was deferred. The Pride Committee said that they will appeal against ruling.

Freedom of expression

Russian LGBT Network will sue against blocking their social page

The activists of the Russian LGBT Network are going to court to appeal a blocking order for the organisation’s official page on the Vkontakte social network. A district court had earlier ruled in favor of the prosecution’s request to block the page on grounds that it contains information that ‘neglects family values, promotes nontraditional sexual relations and forms disrespect to parents and/or other family members.’ The Russian LGBT Network say that they won’t agree with the ‘propaganda’ labelling of their resources and that they have no intention to introduce any age restrictions for their information. They are preparing a collective appeal.

Court in Hungary fines advertisements with same-sex couples

On 14 October, the Pest County Government Office in Hungary imposed a 500,000 HUF (1,500 EUR) fine on Coca-Cola for its billboard campaign in August 2019 featuring same sex couples. The governing party, Fidesz's deputy speaker in Parliament István Boldog criticized the campaign in August and called for a boycott against Coca Cola. The court decision claims that the campaign "harmed the physical, mental, emotional and moral development of children and minors". According to Hungarian LGBT Alliance, “it is the first decision by public authorities in the past two decades that try to limit freedom of expression on LGBTQI issues with such an argument”.
Read more about the court decision for which Coca Cola can still appeal.


Hate speech and hate crime

Alarming rise in hate attacks on European LGBTI communities

PACE strongly condemns anti-LGBTI rhetoric in Poland

Hate speech can and does lead to violence, especially when coming from political leaders. Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe took clear notice of the use of anti-LGBTI hate speech and violation to freedom of assembly by politicians in Poland, issuing a written declaration on 3 October, which calls on the government to act. Further, the General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI Peopl, Violeta Tomic has issued a video statement.
Read the written declaration.
Watch the video statement from Violeta Tomic.

Gorzów Equality March organiser Monika tells her story

Born and bred in Gorzów, a city in western Poland, Monika Drubkowska came out publicly when she campaigned in the European Parliament elections earlier this year. This led to her organising the Equality March in her home city this year. Unlike the Equality March in Bialystok, the march went ahead peacefully, but there were unforeseen consequences for Monika. She shared the story with the Polish activist Slawek Starosta for ILGA-Europe’s Blog.
Read the interview with the Polish activist Monika Drubkowska.



Meeting in Warsaw on HIV response for gay, bisexual men, and trans people

ILGA-Europe co-coordinated, with UNAIDS, the European AIDS Treatment Group, and AIDS Action Europe, a meeting on gay and bisexual men and trans people and the HIV response in Turkey, Poland, and Hungary as a pre-meeting to the PrEP in Europe Summit in Warsaw, Poland on 9 to 10 October. Participants shared their insights and experiences from working in both public health and HIV as well as LGBTI rights in their contexts, with the aim of finding entry points for more successful advocacy on both sets of issues.

PACE members send a call to fully implement ICD-11 in national health systems

“Council of Europe Member States should take swift action to fully implement ICD-11 in national health systems” say the signatories of the declaration written at the Parliamentary Assembly of on 3 October. ICD-11 is WHO’s revised classification of diseases in which trans identities have been depsychopathologised – in other words, trans-related diagnoses have been removed from the list of mental disorders and diseases. A new set of diagnoses now exist in a new non-pathologising chapter on sexual health.
Read the written declaration.
Read more about WHO’s new classification of diseases.


Notice board

Opportunities for work at, or with, ILGA World

ILGA World is looking for a full-time staff member at the level of Senior Programme Officer to head-up their UN advocacy and policy work with the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review (Deadline to apply: Thursday 28 November 2019, 13:00 CET). They are also inviting bids/applications for three short-term consultancies to work on media monitoring and documentation in Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania-Pacific, & Europe and Americas (Deadline to submit bid/application: Monday 18 November 2019; 13:00 CET).
Read more about the opportunities.

New toolkit for strategic litigation with the UN Treaty Bodies

ILGA World has launched the first toolkit focusing on strategic litigation with the UN Treaty Bodies and on individual communications to this human rights mechanism. United Nations Treaty Bodies’ individual communications mechanisms provide defenders with opportunities to obtain justice after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, and to benefit from positive developments achieved in the field by defenders from other countries and regions.
Access the toolkit online.

Publication on race and mental health at work has been launched

On 10 October World Mental Health Day, European Network Against Racism (ENAR) published a new toolkit on race and mental health at work. It explores how we can understand the links between racism, inequality, and wellbeing. It provides a summary of available evidence related to racism, mental health and wellbeing, exploring the individual, organisational and structural levels. It also offers a step-by-step guide for employers looking to create a workplace that promotes wellbeing for all.
Read the toolkit published by ENAR.

Looking to recruit young employees, trainees or apprentices?

The European Solidarity Corps 4 Youth project is part of the occupational strand of the European Solidarity Corps initiative, aiming at offering 4.000 fixed term work placements to young Europeans across the EU in occupations with a solidarity dimension. If you are seeking to fill a position, the ESC4Y will act as an intermediary to help you find a suitable candidate and provide financial incentive up to €2.000 per placement.
Find more information and post your placements by early November 2019.