LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

April 2021

New report on LGBTIQ youth homelessness, European court opinion in favour of same-sex parented families, and much more...

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No. 307. April 2021. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Decriminalisation

Equality and non-discrimination

Family

Freedom of expression

Hate speech and hate crime

Health

Housing

Notice board

ILGA-Europe

Join The Hub, ILGA-Europe’s free resource sharing centre for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia

The Hub is an easily accessible online platform for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia. Through it, ILGA-Europe offers various resource ‘cards’ that contain information and guides around certain thematic areas of work. You will find dozens of resources already in the thematic sections on campaigning, communications, community, fundraising, management, security, wellbeing and Russian language cards. Each card contains comprehensive information around a particular area of work.
Join today – by creating your own account at hub.ilga-europe.org
Read our blog on why online resource sharing is the way forward for the LGBTI movement.
 

Responding to anti-LGBTI forces: ILGA-Europe's call for project proposals

We have launched a re-granting programme to strengthen the capacities of LGBTI organisations in Europe to achieve change in the current landscape of growing populist anti-LGBTI rhetoric and state-led anti-LGBTI attacks. If you are an LGBTI organisation currently working, or planning to work on communication, alliance and resilience building to counter anti-LGBTI forces. Proposals should be submitted by 23 May, Sunday, 23:59 CEST.
Read more and submit your proposal.
 

New report on the communications strength of the movement in our region

On 15 April, ILGA-Europe held an online event for the activist launch of ‘Communicating for Change: a communications needs assessment of the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia’. Consisting of surveys, focus groups, interviews and webinars with 190+ activists from 45 countries, this is the most in-depth investigation into the communications strength of the movement in our region.
Download your own copy of the summary report in English.
Download your own copy of the summary report in Russian.
 

Save the date for The ILGA-Europe Equality Gala Online

We are excited to announce ILGA-Europe’s second annual online fundraising Gala, which will feature a range of exciting guests from the worlds of sports, arts and entertainment, alongside a diverse range of activists from across the LGBTI movement, all to be announced over the coming months. In the meantime, please save this date in your diary, Tuesday June 22 at 7pm CEST.
Add the date to your calendar now by clicking here.
 

MEMBERS ONLY: A busy year with two General Meetings!

Is your organisation a member of ILGA-Europe? This year, we will not be short on opportunities to connect as there will be not one but two Annual General Meetings (AGMs)! So mark your calendars for the two AGMs – which will of course be held online: Saturday 12 June 2021 – Extraordinary GM; Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 October 2021 – Regular AGM.
Read more and look at the timeline explaining what to expect and when.

Decriminalisation

“49 people are in jail for same-sex conduct in Uzbekistan”

For the first time in Uzbekistan’s history, the Interior Ministry revealed the number of people convicted under article 120 of the Uzbek Criminal Code, which penalises consensual same-sex conduct between men. On April 23, the Uzbek language news outlet Qalempir.uz published the statistics referring to the law enforcement agency. Under article 120, six people were convicted in 2016, 15 in 2017, seven in 2018, also seven in 2019, nine in 2020. As many as 49 people are currently in jail for “homosexuality”. When questioned previously by relevant UN Treaty bodies and EU institutions, Uzbek officials would deny the existence of LGBT people convicted under article 120 and would always claim that Uzbekistan does not exercise the article in reality. The statistics were revealed as Uzbekistan came under international criticism for penalising consensual same-sex conduct between men following ILGA-Europe’s campaign on decriminalisation in March.

Equality and non-discrimination

New Constitution in Kyrgyzstan could potentially harm NGOs and LGBTI activists

On 11 April, Kyrgyzstan adopted yet another Constitution in a nationwide referendum. Nearly 80% of the voters, who came to the polls, supported the new Constitution containing provisions that could potentially restrict LGBTI activism. One such provision is Article 8(4): public associations shall ensure transparency of their financial and economic activities. LGBTI organisations compare this article to the law on “foreign agents”, which has been practiced in Russia and has significantly restricted operation of LGBTI organisations. Another harmful provision is Article 10, which deals with mass media, and includes: “in order to protect the younger generation, activities that contradict moral and ethical values and public conscience of the people of the Kyrgyz Republic may be restricted by law”. This provision might prohibit any LGBTI community organising and movement building activities in Kyrgyzstan.
 

New report on the economic case for LGBT+ inclusion in Central and Eastern Europe

ILGA-Europe member organisation Open For Business have published a new report ‘The Economic Case for LGBT+ Inclusion in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): Hungary, Poland, Romania and Ukraine’. The report finds that LGBT+ discrimination comes at a high cost to countries in the region, but also shows how embracing inclusion can be a path for greater economic growth. The report includes a study of 190 businesses in the four countries, and features case studies.
 

Family

Opinion from European court: same-sex parented families should be officially recognised in all EU member states

ILGA-Europe and NELFA are very encouraged by the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) opinion, published on 15 April in the case of V.M.A. v Stolichna obshtina, in which a same-sex couple who were refused a birth certificate in Bulgaria for their newborn daughter claim the Bulgarian authorities are violating the rights of a European citizen on the grounds of sexual orientation, namely to free movement, and to private and family life. This constitutes a breach of the fundamental principles of the EU. (Photo: Court of Justice of the European Union)

 

 

Listen to ILGA-Europe’s podcast mini-series on rainbow family rights

In the latest offering of the ILGA-Europe podcast, The Frontline, we present a mini-series on rainbow family rights in 2021, looking at the issues affecting LGBTI parents and their children across Europe. We're exploring two landmark cases being taken to the European courts right now, looking at the growth of partnership rights in the Western Balkans, and the lack thereof in Ukraine, the situation for trans parents, and the issues that are coming up beyond 2021, including multi-parenting.

Freedom of expression

Yulia Tsvetkova will stand trial again under Russian criminal charges

On 6 May, Russian LGBT+ and feminist activist, Yulia Tsvetkova will stand trial again under absurd criminal charges for sharing body positive art online. She is currently under a gag order and cannot leave her town. Yulia’s trial in the “pornography” case started on 31 March 2021, and she is set to appear in court several times throughout April to June. The trial is happening behind closed doors, contrary to Yulia’s defense demands.

Hate speech and hate crime

Violence against LGBTI people in Kyrgyzstan intensifies

On 23 April, an ILGA-Europe member organisation in Kyrgyzstan was bullied online by unknown social media trolls. A video was released demonising the LGBT+ organisation, revealing the names of most of the staff members, misgendering and publicly outing them. The video, which was later deleted by Youtube, contained anti-LGBTI messages and bias-motivated speech, misinformation about the organisation and mislead viewers by manipulating factual information. Targeted activists believe this was done to deter public attention from socio-economic and political failures of the recently elected President Sadyr Japarov. The release of the video comes as a continuation of a series of anti-LGBTI and anti-civil society narratives that have intensified in Kyrgyzstan since March. On 15 April there was an anti-LGBT demonstration in the capital Bishkek, in opposition to demonstrations calling for Interior Minister’s resignation. The Ministry had failed to protect a young woman who had been killed as a result of bride kidnapping.

Health

New research into harm caused by gender identity conversion therapy in the UK

A new report published in the United Kingdom exposes the violent nature of so-called gender identity “conversion therapy”. Survivors report verbal abuse, isolation, beatings, forced feeding / food deprivation, “corrective rape” and forced nudity. The research involved 450 respondents who stated that their gender identity did not match the sex assigned to them at birth. This included 170 respondents who identified as non-binary. In total 64 people had been offered Gender Identity “Conversion Therapy” and 39 had undergone it. Of those, nearly half had been forced through it.
 

How to build a fairer, healthier world during a global pandemic

On 7 April, in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, we celebrated World Health Day with the motto: “Building a fairer, healthier world”. But to make this a reality the voices and needs of the most marginalised, including LGBTI people, must be front and centre. Health and access to healthcare is one of the seven areas where COVID-19 has hugely impacted LGBTI people, organisations and communities in Europe and Central Asia.
 

WHO released new information note about COVID-19 vaccines and people living with HIV

The World Health Organization released on 9 April a list of questions and answers about the COVID-19 vaccines and people living with HIV. According to the WHO, “despite limited data, available information suggests current WHO recommended COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer/BioNtech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Johnson&Johnson) are safe for people living with HIV”. (Emblem: World Health Organization)

Housing

Survey finds that LGBTIQ organisations and homeless services across Europe are dealing with large numbers of LGBTIQ youth homelessness

A report published on 28 April, based on a survey by ILGA-Europe in association with the LGBTIQ Youth Homelessness organisation True Colors United, and the Silberman Center for Sexuality and Gender (SCSG) at Hunter College, explores the experiences of LGBTIQ focused organisations in Europe in working on the issue of LGBTI youth homelessness, points to a large prevalence of LGBTI youth homelessness across Europe, with over 60% of LGBTIQ organisations surveyed saying they have worked with young people who have experienced homelessness. A comparative report from FEANTSA also finds that over 60% of homeless services organisations have dealt with young LGBTIQ people experiencing homelessness but often without any training or support.

Notice board

European Commission to support proposals in the field of gender-based violence

The European Commission launched a call for proposals to prevent and combat gender-based violence and violence against children. The first priority of the 2021 calls for proposals aims to address the challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety and security measures put in place in relation to it. The second priority addresses masculinities and engagement of men and boys in the prevention of gender-based violence. The call recognises the need for proposals to equally address the specificities of the situation for women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity. (Emblem: European Commission)
Read more and submit your proposal by 15 June.

IGLYO’s job vacancy for a Policy & Research Officer

IGLYO is currently looking for a Policy & Research Officer to join their staff team. The ideal candidate will have experience in a relevant advocacy, policy or research related position (preferably in a civil society organisation), and knowledge of the international LGBTQI rights framework. IGLYO highly encourage women, trans, and non-binary people, individuals from black communities, other communities of colour and ethnic minorities, and who are under 30 years old to apply for this position.
Read more and apply by 10 May.

Survey on experiences of LGBTQI+ students and youth during their mobility

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has released a survey called Rainbow Survey to learn more about the experiences of the LGBTQI+ students and youth who currently are or have previously been on mobility, with an emphasis on the integration in the local community and other experiences that have shaped their mobility experience. Your participation will help ESN better represent the interests of international LGBTQI+ students and young people in the future. The survey will be open until Sunday, June 20.

“Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from tackling Cancer”

The European Cancer Organisation announced their virtual launch event of the Time To Act campaign in over 20 languages: “Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from tackling cancer”. The event will be held on Tuesday 11 May from 11:00-12:00 CEST and you can register, free-of-charge. This event will bring together European political leaders in cancer, including EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and the Chair and MEPs from the EU Parliament’s Special Committee on Beating Cancer (BECA), as well as other policy-makers, healthcare professionals and patient advocates who are all very concerned about the negative impact of COVID-19 on Cancer.