#IESofia2022: Daily Report, Saturday October 22

As our Annual Conference sadly comes to an end, over 300 participants enjoyed one last day of workshops and celebrated the election of the new ILGA-Europe board, before the Gala Dinner and one last dance together. Here’s a round-up of the final day!

This morning the breakfast room was calmer than usual. Many activists surely needed some extra sleep after putting their singing and dancing talents to work at our legendary karaoke night last night. The most popular band was Abba, with many of their hits chosen by super-enthusiastic singers, but the song many will remember is the Opus number, Life is Life – for reasons that will only be known to whoever was there!

Still, despite karaoke-induced tiredness, our spirited participants took part in the 13 workshops and applauded with joy at our third and last General Meeting.

The new ILGA-Europe board members, elected during the Conference, were announced: Yves Aerts, Ivan Dimov, Natia Gvianishvili, Xheni Karaj and Zhanar Sekerbayeva join Emina Bosnjak, Mamikon Hovsepyan, Tommy Petersen, Soudeh Rad and Penny Smith will sit on our Executive Board until October 2023. Yuri Guaiana and Olena Shevchenko will be regional representatives at the ILGA World Board for another year, while Rachael Moore, Dan Christian Ghattas, Elias Fjellander, Alina Mirozyan and Sabrina Sánchez will be leading some of the ILGA World steering committees. Finally, we had a chance to say goodbye in person to those leaving or have recently left the board: Yuri Yoursky, Anastasiia Danilova and Darienne Flemington – we will miss you so much!

13 wonderful workshops

Participating LGBTI activists learned about interacting with the media and managing change at their organisations at two four-hour long workshops this morning. At the ‘Drop the Mic’ workshop, participants rehearsed their media game in mock TV interviews with our facilitators and brought home key techniques to apply in their media relations.

In a parallel workshop, participants explored the potential bottlenecks and breaking points that their organisations may go through in face of disruptive events, like those we’ve experienced in recent times. Two-hours self-organised spaces gave the chance for trade union leaders to get together and to discuss how to shape the future by taking care of the past.

Money, money, money must be funny

We sang the Abba hit last night and today activists had the chance to gain some wisdom on funding and partnering with the private sector.    

‘Who’s Afraid of Pinkwashing?’ asked COC Netherlands at one of the late morning workshops. In places like the Netherlands, some companies are pulling out of Prides due to criticism of pinkwashing. Companies taking less space at Prides is a good thing, but what are alternative ways of working with the private sector to keep companies engaged and supportive of the LGBTI movement? This workshop navigated these questions through an interactive role-playing exercise where participants wore the hats of company CEOs, LGBTI staff representatives, PR advisors and critical members of the public.

After lunch, the practical hands-on ‘Effective Fundraising Campaigns in Times of Crisis’workshopprovided practical tips for creating fundraising campaigns targeted at individual donors, with activists from Poland and Armenia sharing examples of how they’ve raised funds following hostile developments and in response to crisis.

In the afternoon too, participants had the opportunity to join workshops on anti-NGO laws, building alliances for displaced LGBTIQ Ukrainians and next steps on Ukraine response, queer imaginings and moral panics on trans minors.

We will all soon go back to the places we call home. Gathering together in person after three years would not have been possible without the wonderful support of our local hosts. Big shout outs to GLAS Foundation, Bilitis and Deystvie for enabling these unforgettable days of rich, nurturing and game-changing conversations! See you all in 12 months in Slovenia, if not beforehand!

See also

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