European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Reaction to UK referendum result – the ILGA-Europe perspective

ILGA-Europe have always strongly believed in the power of activists and allies to work together for a common goal, namely to improve life for LGBTI people across Europe. 

Over our 20 year history, we have supported the work of our dedicated UK membership, and learnt just as much from them in return. So, as a European network of human rights activists, we naturally regret the fact that the UK will no long be a voice for progress in the European Union.

As we pointed out in the run-up to yesterday’s vote, the UK and the EU have a long history of complementing and building on the work of the other when it comes to advancing LGBTI equality. Anything that limits this shared work is clearly a concern for us.

From ILGA-Europe’s perspective, the message that must be taken from the UK referendum result is the need for more solidarity, not less. For greater compassion, not concentrating on what divides us. For celebrating our common humanity, not withdrawing to an insular worldview.

Human rights organisations must come together to articulate a clear vision for the sort of Europe we want, one that is based on our shared vision of social justice, equality, freedom and diversity.

We are not just talking about the LGBTI movement, but all human rights and equality groups, whether that is the women’s rights movement, environmental initiatives, development organisations, or sexual health and reproductive NGOs. More than ever, we all need to come together, standing stronger and more unified in our resolve to translate this vision into reality.

Predictions about what will happen as a result of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union are fanciful at this point.

But our commitment to working with our members in all parts of the United Kingdom to drive forward equality there and across the entire continent of Europe is one thing that will never be in doubt.