LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Sofia 2006

In this section you will find various materials related to our 2006 conference which took place on 26-29 October in Sofia, Bulgaria . The theme of 2006 conference was “We are Family” – Our families in Europe and the European family.

ILGA-Europe members gather for anniversary annual conference

This week ILGA-Europe members and activists are gathering in Sofia for the 10th annual conference. Between 26 and 29 October 2006, over 200 delegates from all over Europe will gather in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia for the ILGA-Europe’s 10th annual conference (ILGA’s 28th annual European conference). The conference theme is “We are Family – Our families in Europe and the European family.”

The main focus of this conference is twofold – celebrating the diversity of families and celebrating the 10th anniversary of ILGA-Europe. Europe and some of its countries has made significant progress is terms of acknowledging, legally recognising and accepting various family models. But there is still significant work to be done in order to achieve full social acceptance and legal equality for all families across the continent. ILGA-Europe is firmly placing diversity of family models and their acceptance and recognition back to its priority list by organising a special panel and various workshops on families.

Traditionally our conference is a unique opportunity for activists from all over Europe to discuss challenges, celebrate achievements, and brainstorm further strategies and projects. We will continue our efforts of strengthening the capacity of the member organisations by organising various practical workshops on improving our skills and techniques in implementing diversity practices, lobbying, fundraising and working with media.

As this is our 10th anniversary conference, we will reflect on our achievements and pay tribute to ILGA-Europe’s fathers and mothers. We will also sketch out our next 10 years, identify the main challenges and discuss the best ways of achieving further and fuller equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Europeans. It is significant and symbolic that the conference takes place in Bulgaria which joins the European Union next year. We hope this will be a great opportunity not only for the Bulgarian LGBT activists and organisations to meet their colleagues from across Europe. And also that this will be a great chance for the Bulgarian officials to better understand LGBT issues and learn from other European experiences how to address these issues and build Bulgaria as an equal and inclusive society for all its citizens.

The Bulgarian Gay Organisation GEMINI, which co-hosts the conference has provided tremendous contribution toward the organisation of the event. Not only does the conference working programme promise to be exciting, diverse and stimulating, the same is expected from the social programme!

10th ILGA-Europe annual conference: birthday cake in family circle

On 26-29th October 2006 almost 200 delegates from all over Europe gathered for the 10th ILGA-Europe annual conference in Sofia.

The conference theme was “We are family: our families in Europe and the European family.” ILGA-Europe re-affirmed its determination to work towards full legal equality and social acceptance of all forms of families across Europe. During the conference a draft ILGA-Europe’s key demands on diversity of families was circulated and soon its final version will be available. One of the panel sessions and various workshops discussed and explored the diversity of families and the ways of ensuring their recognition and acceptance.

During more than 30 workshops and caucuses the delegates discussed a whole range of issues affecting LGBT people in Europe. This year’s conference was innovative in a way that during each conference day the delegates were offered in-depth capacity building workshops – on using video as a human rights advocacy tool, understanding and working with the media and making our organisations more diverse and inclusive.

This was also a celebratory conference as ILGA-Europe marked 10 years of existence and paid tribute to all ILGA-Europe’s mothers and fathers. The delegates reflected on and celebrated achievements of the last decade and sketched out priorities and challenges for the next decade.

The conference has also elected a new ILGA-Europe Board:

  • Ruth Baldacchino (Malta Gay Rights Movement, Malta)
  • Martin Christensen (LBL, Denmark)
  • Linda Freimane (Mozaīka, Latvia)
  • Riccardo Gottardi (Arcigay, Italy)
  • Lisette Kampus (Diversity, Estonia & KPH, Poland)
  • Deborah Lambillotte (Holebifederatie, Belgium)
  • Christine Le Doaré (Centre LGBT de Paris, France)
  • Miha Lobnik (Legebitra, Slovenia)
  • Pierre Serne (Commission LGBT des Verts, France),
  • Tomasz Szypuła, (KPH, Poland)

Reserve Board members elected are Jackie Lewis (UNISON, UK) and Vera Cîmpeanu (ACCEPT, Romania).

The conference also confirmed Ruth Baldacchino (Malta Gay Rights Movement, Malta) and Janfrans Van Der Eerden (COC Nedeland, Netherlands) as representatives of ILGA-Europe on the Executive Board of ILGA. Reserve representatives of ILGA-Europe on the Executive Board of ILGA are Jackie Lewis (UNISON, UK) and Søren Andersson (RFSL, Sweden).