6 ways to encourage European Election candidates to pledge their support for the human rights of LGBTI people

Here are some highly effective, but easy ways to engage your local candidates for the European Elections with the Come Out 4 Europe campaign towards LGBTI freedom and equality across the EU

The upcoming European Parliament elections in June 2024 present an opportunity for candidates to declare their support for LGBTI freedom and equality in the EU and beyond. ILGA-Europe’s campaign, Come Out 4 Europe, is not just a call to action. By signing the pledge on the campaign website, candidates clearly communicate their support for LGBTI voters and allies. It shows that they recognise and acknowledge the demands for steps toward equality. In this blog, we share six low-effort but highly efficient tips designed to mobilise candidates and encourage them to commit to protecting and advancing LGBTI human rights by singing the Come Out 4 Europe pledge.

1. Send them a letter

You can begin by kindly inviting the candidates in your country to sign the pledge. Use our letter example as a basis, adding your unique voice and perspective, or translating it into your national language. Personalised communication with a simple call to action can create genuine connections with politicians.

2. Request a Meeting

Contact your candidate and request a meeting to talk to them about the pledge. At the meeting, present a printed out version of the pledge for them to read. When talking, be polite and firm, but not confrontational. Present facts and figures you have gathered (see above), but also give them personal stories – let them know how real people are being affected. At the end of the meeting, having again asked them to sign the pledge, thank them for their time.

3. Be loud on social media

In a world dominated by digital discourse, social media is a potent tool for advocacy. Use your online presence to actively engage with candidates on various platforms. Amplify the visibility of signed pledges by sharing updates from the Come Out 4 Europe website, tagging candidates and their parties, stimulating a ripple effect of awareness and momentum. Employ simple strategic tactics such as encouraging friendly competition between parties by saying which ones are doing best, and which ones could do better, and spotlight countries that are either excelling or have the potential to improve their numbers of pledge signatures.

4. Leverage your network

Use your pre-existing relationships and affiliations within your community. Reach out to the candidates or political party staff you might know and persuade them to sign the pledge. Turn to your friends, friends of friends, allies, and fellow activists who have connections to the candidates and encourage them to do the same. Attend local events and forums where candidates congregate, such as campaign launches or hustings, and have a friendly conversation – the pledge can serve as a conversation starter with a candidate looking for votes.

5. Mobilise allies

Expand your community, mobilising allies and comrades to enhance our collective voice. LGBTI rights are human rights and even movements whose primary focus lies elsewhere can be amplifiers of this campaign for change. Talk to activists from diverse groups, asking them to participate. Encourage them to actively engage on social media platforms, disseminate campaign updates, and champion the cause. Every interaction, such as a like, share, or retweet, can help candidates realise that the improvement of the human rights of LGBTI people is a political goal they should strive for in the current climate.

6. Use ILGA-Europe’s resources

Explore ILGA-Europe’s extensive collection of resources to give you the right things to say to candidates. From the pledge itself to the in-depth Annual Review of the Human Rights of LGBTI People in Europe, which gives information about how LGBTI human rights are at stake in your country, and the Rainbow Map, these resources can provide you with facts and numbers when you talk or write to your candidates. Equip yourself with facts and compelling arguments drawn from these sources, empowering candidates with the knowledge and conviction to champion LGBTI people’s human rights.

And remember… follow up!

Deciding how you are going to follow up is important. For instance, if you have personally engaged with a candidate and they haven’t signed the pledge, you could phone their office to give a reminder. Or if they seem to not have taken notice of your social media engagement and not signed the pledge, follow up with another message. Don’t be confrontational and don’t bombard. Just a message or two over the coming months is better than going overboard or not messaging at all. If a candidate you engage with signs the pledge, don’t forget to thank them, ask them to share the fact they’ve done it, and to pass the pledge on to other candidates in their parties.

We have the power to influence the future direction of Europe. Let’s unite our efforts, utilise our resources, and encourage candidates to show support for the LGBTI community. Together, let’s work towards securing freedom for LGBTI people in the Europe we want to see.

Reach out to us at comeout@ilga-europe.org if you need support or if you require communications materials

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