Inclusion and Equality
For more information, contact: Belinda Dear, Advocacy Officer
Equality for LGBTI people and full inclusion are at the core of our rights.
Effective anti-discrimination laws — explicitly including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics — are crucial to ensure equality in all areas of life, including employment, education, health and access to goods and services.
In addition to legislation, independent and well-equipped equality bodies with a clear mandate including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), play a significant role in ensuring that non-discrimination can be a reality for all LGBTI people. That’s why at ILGA-Europe, we work to close legislative gaps across the EU — ensuring that non-discrimination legislation covers all areas of life and explicitly includes SOGIESC. But even in countries where legal equality for LGBTI people exists, many in the community are disproportionately hit by social deprivation and poverty. LGBTI people can be discriminated against when accessing services, in education and in access to employment and healthy working conditions.
Taking the above into account, equality and inclusion need to go beyond legal non-discrimination. We must actively reach out to the most marginalised in our communities and work with key partners, like trade unions, business associations and governments. Only then can we ensure that all LGBTI people can safely access services, as well as educational and income opportunities.
At ILGA-Europe, we strive to extend inclusion and equality to all LGBTI people by focusing on the following areas: access to goods and services, education, employment and housing.
Here is how we work with each of these focus areas:
Access to goods and services
To ensure more LGBTI people can access goods and services, our team works to identify the existing barriers and raise awareness about the issue. We want people to understand why mainstream services often fall short of serving marginalised LGBTI people and work together to ensure LGBTI people are included and served.
We also work to close legislative gaps as part of our aim to increase legal protection against the discrimination LGBTI people can face when accessing goods and services. For example, we strive to secure new anti-discrimination legislation in Europe; we also help implement relevant international and European human rights standards.
We also work to close legislative gaps as part of our aim to increase legal protection against the discrimination LGBTI people can face when accessing goods and services, both on EU and national level, and work towards the full implementation of relevant international and European human rights standards.
When it comes to ensuring that LGBTI people can safely access education, our overall aim is to increase legal protection against discrimination. As part of that, our team advocates for safer, more inclusive schools across our region. In tandem, we closely monitor developments within European institutions and provide input whenever possible.
Education is usually handled nationally — and not an EU competence. With that in mind, a great portion of our work focuses on supporting our members across the EU. We help them identify good practices and challenge discrimination and/or legal proposals that further put LGBTI pupils at a disadvantage.
We work closely with relevant partners like IGLYO. Together, we contribute to relevant policy processes at international and European levels; we also identify and share good practices in education policies, like developing inclusive curricula that covers LGBTI rights and families.
Last but not least, we support our members and NGO partners by sharing our knowledge and expertise. We also help coordinate their initiatives all over Europe.
At ILGA-Europe, our goals in this area are twofold. First, we want to ensure full protection against discrimination when LGBTI people seek employment. Next, we aim to secure healthy working conditions for our community in the labour market and workplace.
Specifically, we promote inclusive employment policies that ensure safe and welcoming workplaces for all. For example, we try to enable LGBTI-supportive human resources policies and workplace cultures. We also work with businesses — helping them become authentic allies to LGBTI communities. We help them commit to creating LGBTI-inclusive workplaces, respecting human rights standards throughout their operations and supporting the advocacy efforts of LGBTI organisations in different countries.
In addition, we advocate for strong non-discrimination legislation in employment. We monitor how existing legislation is implemented and advocate for support in the labour market across Europe. Throughout it all, we draw attention to the persistent discrimination LGBTI people face in labour markets — both across Europe and Central Asia and in individual countries.
To achieve our goals, we liaise with Equinet — a network of national equality bodies in the EU — and national equality bodies in the broader region. We also collaborate with trade unions and businesses to effectively tackle discrimination based on SOGIESC within employment.
Last but not least, we identify and support strategic litigation cases to close gaps in LGBTI people’s legal protection in employment across Europe.
Housing instability and homelessness impact LGBTI people — especially youth and young adults — disproportionally across the globe. We work with the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) and True Colors United to better understand LGBTI youth homelessness in Europe. Our collaboration also enables us to advocate for homelessness policies and services that are inclusive and accessible for LGBTI people.
Moreover, we raise awareness around the prevalence of LGBTI homelessness — and encourage data collection to back up our claims. And together with LGBTI organisations and Homelessness service providers, we identify the obstacles LGBTI people face when trying to access these services — and develop solutions.
Overall, we advocate for homelessness policies on both European and national levels that pay specific attention to the needs of LGBTI people. In this way, we hope to ensure that the most marginalised members of our community are protected and supported.
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For more information, contact: Belinda Dear, Advocacy Officer