LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

March 2022


Help transform realities for LGBTI communities across Europe and Central Asia.With your support we can do more. Make change happen here.

No. 318. March 2022. In this issue...



Bodily integrity


Human rights defenders

Rule of law

Notice board


Information, Action, Direction

At ILGA-Europe we recognise that the war is not going to be a short-term situation for vulnerable people in Ukraine, Russia, neighbouring countries, and all countries in Europe and Central Asia that are and will be hosting displaced people. We recognise that efforts to help are complex and will become more so as time goes on. Our work as well constantly needs to adapt and reflect the developing situation for LGBTI people. Our central working principle, for, with and on behalf of LGBTI activists and organisations in Ukraine, Russia and other affected countries, in the short, medium and longer term, is to connect and mobilise people, institutions and resources to strengthen and reinforce the work happening on the ground. We are working to make it as effective as possible on three core levels: Information, Action, and Direction.
Read more and access our resource page.

Support for LGBTI people in Ukraine

LGBTI groups in Ukraine are playing a critical role in trying to support their communities. Current needs are around shelter, access to food and medication and psychological support, and often relocation to safer places. For now, we feel it is most appropriate to direct donations to groups in Ukraine who are receiving funds. We encourage people to support initiatives that are already in place and doing the work.
Read more about the groups you can support in Ukraine.

Podcast episode on LGBTI people and the war in Ukraine

In the new episode of our podcast The Frontline, we are talking about how we at ILGA-Europe are responding to the war in Ukraine, and in particular the effects on LGBTI people, both in Ukraine and Russia, in neighbouring countries, and all host countries across Europe and Central Asia. With us to talk about the current situation, from ILGA-Europe’s perspective, combined with what we know from our member organisations in Ukraine, Russia and across the region, is our Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis.
Listen to the podcast.

Here’s what you should know about trans communities from Ukraine

To mark March 31, Trans Day of Visibility, we shared a blog post to tell about the current needs of trans communities staying or leaving Ukraine. The blog talks about some of the current needs of trans people from Ukraine and how trans-led organisations are responding.
Read our blog.

“The EU and Member States must now work together to put commitments into practice”

On 27 March, ILGA-Europe joined over twenty NGOs to jointly urge the EU and European countries to work together to put into action their refugee response commitments in light of the crisis in Ukraine. This call came ahead of EU justice and home affairs ministers meeting on 28 March to discuss the EU’s support for people fleeing the crisis in Ukraine.
Read the joint statement.

“Specific needs of LGBTI people should be included in humanitarian aid and international protection”

On 28 March, the EU home affairs ministers met in Brussels to discuss European coordination for the reception of people fleeing Ukraine. Ahead of the meeting ILGA-Europe called for inclusion of the specific needs of LGBTI people in humanitarian aid and international protection. (Photo credit: MININT / J. Rocha)
Read ILGA-Europe’s letter to home affairs ministers.

“Simplify access for trans and intersex refugees to hormones and medicines”

Ahead of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting on 29 March, where EU health ministers discussed European coordination for the reception of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, ILGA-Europe sent a letter to the ministers calling for active inclusion of the health needs of LGBTI people, including access to hormones, in humanitarian assistance and refugee planning.
Read our letter.

UN expert: “Protection of LGBTI and gender-diverse refugees remains critical”

On 22 March, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection from violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, issued a statement and expressed his deep concern about evidence being brought to his attention confirming that exposure to dangers faced by people who seek protection during this time is greatly exacerbated for those who identify as LGBTI and/or gender-diverse.
Read more about the statement.


Join OrgMinds - a new programme on designing purposeful LGBTI organisations

A big part of our mission has always been to support LGBTI activists in developing their organisations in ways that truly make sense for them, their communities, and their purpose. This year, we are creating a dedicated space for LGBTI activists to dive deeper into organisational design and development. This space is OrgMinds – an ILGA-Europe learning programme for LGBTI activists on designing and running organisations that are fit to advance their missions, withstand troubles, and make the best of their resources. The programme runs from 1 May to 1 December 2022.

Apply to be our next Programmes Director

We are looking for a passionate Programmes Director with strong and relevant experience, who can lead our dedicated programmes team at a time in Europe and Central Asia when the movement for equality and democracy is more important than ever. Our new Programmes Director will lead ILGA-Europe’s work supporting the development of a resourced, skilled, accountable and sustainable LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia.

Bodily integrity

Sign the petition to end forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities in Europe

The European Disability Forum (EDF) has launched a campaign to ask the European Parliament, the Council and European Commission to prohibit forced sterilisation in all EU Member States as a part of the EU Directive on violence against women and domestic violence. In Europe today, persons with disabilities, especially women and girls, face forced sterilisation, which only puts them at further risk of abuse.


Kosovo’s Parliament rejected draft bill on same-sex partnerships

On 16 March, the Parliament of Kosovo rejected a draft bill that would recognise the rights of same-sex partnerships. The debate in parliament highlighted discriminatory, homophobic views and rhetoric and incitement to hatred. ILGA-Europe condemned the misinformation and discriminatory speech used in the parliament when the draft civil code was rejected due to its inclusion of the possibility to regulate same-sex partnership.

Join the event on cross-border recognition of familial ties within the European Union

On 19 April, COFACE is organising an online talk within their regular breakfast byte webinars looking at different types of support to families. The event will discuss cross-border recognition of familial ties within the European Union. The webinar will present the results of a study conducted on this topic in 2021, giving more evidence of the existing obstacles and offering a range of recommendations to the EU institutions and Member States on why and how they could push for a better cross-border recognition of rainbow families.


Human rights defenders

New report highlights stories of LGBTI activists targeted by SLAPPs

On 16 March, The Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) published a new report entitled “Shutting Out Criticism: How SLAPPs Threaten European Democracy” which was compiled by the ARTICLE 19 and the The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation. At the launch event for the report, The European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová said that "Stories of LGBTI activists targeted by SLAPPs really stuck with me”.


Rule of law

Urgent call on the European Commission and the Council to refrain from approving recovery funds to the governments of Poland and Hungary

On 23 March, ILGA-Europe joined eleven other NGOs for a joint letter to The President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen and the President of the European Council Charles Michel to refrain from approving recovery funds to the governments of Poland and Hungary and provide direct support to local authorities, civil society and human rights defenders providing for refugees of the war. Revising the critical decision to suspend approval of the EU recovery funding for Poland and Hungary now, would send the wrong political signal to the governments of Poland and Hungary who have made no progress in course-correction of laws, policies and practices undermining checks and balances and the overall rule of law architecture.

The 5 trending attacks on the fundamental rights of LGBTI people in the EU

In ILGA-Europe’s submission to the European Commission’s annual Rule of Law report, we’ve reported on the systematic attacks on the fundamental rights of LGBTI people across the EU, which have been enabled by the weakening of rule of law and democratic structures in several member states. ILGA-Europe, with the input of various national-level LGBTI organisations, has submitted written input to inform the 2022 annual report, in order to ensure the violations of LGBTI rights linked to rule of law deterioration are recognised by EU institutions, and are addressed in their follow-up with member states. (Photo credit: Lukasz Kobus)

Notice board

ILGA World is looking for a UN Programme Officer

ILGA World seeks a Programme Officer to join their United Nations team to support the members and other local LGBTI groups engaging with UN human rights mechanisms and organising national activities aimed at follow-up on and implementation of UN SOGIESC recommendations. Anyone with dedication to - and experience in regard to - the human and social rights of persons with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and sex characteristicsis welcome to apply.
Read more and apply before 8 April.

ERA LGBTI seeks an Executive Co-Director

ERA - LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey is looking for a talented, dedicated and committed individual to join its team as its Executive Co-Director. The Executive Director functions as a primary liaison for the key stakeholders, holds the responsibility for overall implementation of the new ERA’s strategy for 2022/2023-2028, and oversees the work of all ERA staff members and the implementation of all ERA programmes.
Read more and apply before 17 April.

Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice is hiring a Communications Lead

Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice is looking for an Communications Lead to creatively manage their communications and press and take Equinox’s public presence to new heights. Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice is a people of colour-led initiative working to advance rights and justice for all people in Europe.

Take GATE’s online training on safety, security and wellbeing for activists

GATE launched their brand-new Safety, Security and Wellbeing Training that is offered freely to global trans and gender diverse activists (and LGBTQI activists in general) engaging with digital communications. You can explore five key areas in the video sessions: Reflections on violence, Security and Safety, Feminist self-care, Digital security, and Safety and Self-Care Plans for Organizations.

Apply for IGLYO’s Activist Academy

The call for applications is open for IGLYO — International LGBTQI Youth and Student Organisation’s Online Activist Academy, which is a 2-week skills-based training programme for young people between 18 and 30 at the beginning of their activist careers who are passionate about activism, advocacy and learning, and have a strong interest in LGBTQI rights.

Join the study on Iranian queer refugees living in Turkey, the UK and Canada

The University of Sussex started a new project entitled “Negotiating Queer Identities Following Forced Migration (NQIfFM): A Comparative Study of Iranian Queer Refugees Living in Turkey, the UK and Canada.” If you have you left Iran to escape persecution or discrimination related to your sexual orientation or gender identity or if you support someone who has gone through this experience, the research team invites you to share your story as part of a study to improve the experiences of queer Iranian refugees in Turkey, the UK and Canada.