LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

October 2020

October 2020: First trans minister in Belgium,  solidarity #withintersex, sex characteristics protection in Albania and much  more

 

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

No. 301. October 2020. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Gathering Online 2020

Access to goods and services

Asylum

Equality and non-discrimination

Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

Hate speech

Health

Legal gender recognition

Participation in cultural life

Notice board

To the top

ILGA-Europe

Members can join the largest resource-sharing center for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe launched our brand new, easily-accessible platform for peer learning and resource-sharing, The Hub – an easily accessible online platform for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia. ILGA-Europe offers various resource cards that contain information and guides around certain thematic areas of work. Activists can proactively contribute to building resources by sharing case studies. You can also let us know what information is missing on The Hub, so that we over time can build an even stronger resource-sharing centre.
The invitation to create accounts has been ONLY shared with ILGA-Europe member organisations.
 

Job opportunity with ILGA-Europe as Senior Programmes Officer

Do you enjoy translating complex realities into strategies and activities that help enhance the capacity of organisations? Then we might be looking for you! ILGA-Europe is hiring a Senior Programmes Officer who will contribute to our programmatic work aimed at strengthening the existing capacities of LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia. We particularly welcome applications from trans, gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals, and those targeted by racism, classism and disablism. Deadline to send applications is Wednesday, 11 November (23:59 CET).
Read more and apply.
 

Show your solidarity #withintersex

To mark Intersex Awareness Day on 26 October, ILGA-Europe launched an online campaign with the aim to show solidarity with all intersex members of our LGBTI community. The campaign invites people to share selfie photos with a sign saying #WithIntersex and will continue on social media until the Intersex Solidarity Day on 8 November.
Check out tweets #WithIntersex.
Check out Instagram photos #WithIntersex.
Check out Facebook posts #WithIntersex.

Gathering Online 2020

LGBTI activists and allies gathered online for a week-long event

During the week of 19-23 October, ILGA-Europe organised the Gathering Online 2020 under the theme ‘Protect, Adapt, Rally’. The Gathering Online explored what is at stake for LGBTI people and the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central at the moment, and identified ways forward for us as individuals, as organisations, and as communities. The week was made up of live sessions with panels and more interactive break-out sessions during which we fostered information sharing, peer learning and strategic discussions with around 500 registered participants.
Find out more.
Top tweets from the event.
 

Watch back the plenary sessions with inspiring speakers

ILGA-Europe opened up the week with a public session of discussion, featuring Masen Davis (Transgender Europe), zohra moosa (Mama Cash), Maksym Eristavi (Kyiv Pride), and Catherine Naughton (European Disability Forum). Mid-way through the week, a panel was about taking stock of the discussions from the first two days with the speakers Joëlle Sambi Nzeba (ELC), Audrey Aegerter (OII Europe), Mari Kurtanizdze (IGLYO), Luca Stevenson (ICRSE), and Marame Kane (ILGA-Europe). We closed our week-long Gathering Online with a public session of discussion with representatives from the main European institutions: Dunja Mijatović (Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe), Helena Dalli (European Commissioner for Equality), Michael O’Flaherty (Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency), and Sophie int 't Veld (MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament's LGBTI Intergroup) engaged live with us.
Watch back the panel discussions anytime anywhere.
 

LGBTI movement reflecting on a changing world

In ILGA-Europe’s special video, the LGBTI activists reflected on a changed landscape for the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia in the context of COVID-19. The video features the interviews with frontline activists and ILGA-Europe’s directors discussing the flashpoints of what happened in the world in 2020 in the context of the LGBTI movement, and the questions raised.
Watch here the video.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.
 

A new kind of solidarity: The journey forward for LGBTI activists

We asked participants and organisers of the Gathering Online 2020 about the next steps for our LGBTI movement at this time in the world. Watch this powerful, moving and forward-thinking video that we showed at the closing of the week-long event.
Watch here the video.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos.

Access to goods and services

Third-party intervention on the non-discriminatory access to goods and services before the ECtHR

On 26 October, ILGA-Europe, together with FIDH, CAJ, the Aire Centre, NELFA and ECSOL submitted a third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Lee v. United Kingdom, concerning the refusal of a bakery to fulfil an order for a cake iced with the caption “Support Gay Marriage”, on the ground that it was a Christian Business. The interveners argue that Article 14 imposes on national authorities to provide legal protection against discrimination in access to goods and services on the basis of sexual orientation, both in the private sector and in the public sector, with no possibly of exemption motivated by religious beliefs.
Find out more about the case.

Asylum

Third-party intervention on right to asylum before the ECtHR

On 12 October, ILGA-Europe, together with the Aire Centre, the International Commission of Jurists and the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group submitted a third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of R.Y. against Russia concerning the removal of an HIV-positive openly gay man to Uzbekistan. The applicant claimed that his removal would expose him to treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention, prohibiting torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. The interveners recalled the obligation of non-refoulement to countries where consensual same-sex conduct is criminalized, which is the case of Uzbekistan. Besides, enforced concealment of one’s same-sex sexual orientation constitutes persecution under refugee law and is incompatible with the ECHR.
Find out more about the case.

Equality and non-discrimination

OP-ED: Belgian milestone: A first trans minister and nobody cares

ILGA-Europe Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel wrote an opinion piece in POLITICO Europe on the appointment of Petra De Sutter as Belgian Deputy Prime Minister. “De Sutter may never have made trans rights the focus of her work, but she has never shied away from being a role model. But more importantly for trans people, the fact that she is accepted at a national level, and that she is treated fairly and respectfully in the media, is a hopeful sign at a time when trans identities are being disavowed and legislated against in a growing number of European countries.” (Photo: Philippe Buissin/European Union)
 

CoE Committee of Ministers adopted a report on LGBTI issues

On 16 September, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted its second review report on their 2010 Recommendation on LGBTI issues. The last review took place in 2013. This report, developed with input by States as well as ILGA-Europe, TGEU, and OII Europe, found some positive movement in protections on the grounds of sexual orientation in the region, cited the increased trend toward removing forced sterilisation from legal gender recognition requirements, and noted that SOGI was increasingly recognised as a ground for protection in refugee and asylum processes in Europe. It also mentions intersex issues for the first time, pointing to slow progress and increased visibility.

‘Governments should mainstream equality issues into the work they undertake in response to COVID-19’

On 13 October, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a report on upholding human rights in times of crisis and pandemics through the lens of gender, equality, and non-discrimination. According to the report, governments rarely took into sufficient account the different situations and needs of LGBTI people and minority groups when designing measures to contain and combat the pandemic. The Assembly calls on all Council of Europe governments to mainstream equality issues, including LGBTI equality, into the work they undertake in response to COVID-19.

Albanian Parliament included sex characteristics and HIV status as protected grounds against discrimination

The Parliament of the Republic of Albania has amended the Law on Protection from Discrimination. The Law will now provide protection from discrimination based among others also on grounds of sex characteristics and HIV status. Protected characteristics under Albanian law now include race, ethnicity, colour, language, nationality, political, religious, or philosophical beliefs, economic, educational, or social status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, sex characteristics, living with HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, perinatal responsibility, parental responsibility, age, marital status, place of residence, health status, genetic predisposition, outward appearance, disability, belonging to a particular group.

North Macedonia re-adopts the anti-discrimination law that protects SOGI grounds

On 27 October, the Parliament of North Macedonia adopted the Law on Prevention of and Protection against Discrimination, which covers sexual orientation and gender identity grounds. This law was originally passed in 2019 and had for the first time explicitly prohibited against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – the result of many years of work, tireless commitment and perseverance of LGBTI activists in North Macedonia. However on 14 May 2020, the Constitutional Court repealed the Law, as it was adopted without the required majority.

Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment

ECtHR: “Police raid in the office of an LGBT NGO based in Tbilisi is an ill-treatment”

On 8 October, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Aghdgomelashvili and Japaridze v. Georgia finding that the 2009 humiliating police raid in the office of an LGBT NGO based in Tbilisi followed by inappropriate investigations by the domestic authorities constituted a violation of Article 3 in its substantial and procedural limbs, taken in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention. First, the inappropriate conduct of the police officers, including strip searches, insults, and threats of physical violence, were incompatible with the principle of human dignity. Second, the investigative authorities failed to identify the discriminatory motives, namely homophobic and transphobic hatred against the applicants.

Hate speech

LGBTI issues are instrumentalised by politicians Kyrgyzstan

Two gay men had to flee Kyrgyzstan after a video openly depicting their sexual intercourse became viral online. It was created to discredit one of the political parties who was criticising pro-governmental candidates participating in parliamentary elections. Allegedly the couple had been followed by National Security Service agents and a surveillance camera had been planted in their room at a resort where they stayed over the summer. This was the most cynical instrumentalisation of LGBTI in Kyrgyzstan’s political history when the right to privacy of gay men was brazenly violated, forcing them out of country. (Photo: Арсений Мамашев / Kloop.kg)
 

Health

Watch back the webinar on COVID-19 in marginalised communities

On Friday 16 October, the Nobody Left Outside initiative organised a webinar “COVID-19 in Marginalised Groups – Challenges, actions and voices” to conclude their NLO Week 2020 – a week of online activities focusing on the unmet healthcare needs of marginalised communities. ILGA-Europe’s Senior Policy Officer, Cianán Russell was on the panel at the webinar talking about how COVID-19 has impacted the LGBTI communities.
 

How can an LGBTI activist deal with stress?

2020 has drastically altered our daily lives and as an activist it’s easy to put your mental health and wellbeing on the back burner, while you get on with other hugely pressing priorities. On top of this, LGBTI activists can suffer from particular mental health stresses that stream from discrimination, LGBTIphobia, and the uphill battle that working to secure our rights and equality can be. (Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash)

Legal gender recognition

6 countries pushing for non-binary registration in Europe

On 21 October, International Pronouns Day, ILGA-Europe shared a blog post about six European countries pointing the way forward for the recognition of different gender markers. Allowing for non-binary gender markers in official documents is primarily an issue of accuracy, privacy, and respect for a person. Belgium, Iceland, Germany, Malta and the Netherlands are five countries in Europe allowing the registration of gender markers other than male or female, or using no gender markers at all in their official documentation. (Credit: Roman Didkivskyi)

Participation in cultural life

First LGBTI movie from Kazakhstan wins an international award

A film from Kazakhstan wins a prestigious NewFest LGBTQ+ film award in New York. Depicting a story of a lesbian woman in a patriarchal society, the movie ‘Welcome to the USA’ shows complicated family relations between a lesbian woman and her relatives in Kazakhstan. ‘Welcome to the USA’ is the first full-length Kazakh film with LGBTI topic as a main story plot. (Photo: Welcome to the USA)

Notice board

Funding opportunity for trans-led organisations

The International Trans Fund’s 5th Grant Cycle is now open for applications from trans-led organisations with budgets below $150,000 USD based in any region of the world. This year the ITF is introducing two grant types: The Seed grant is a 1-year general support and/or project grant for trans-led organisations that have never been funded by the ITF, or that prefer to apply for this grant instead of the Thrive Grant. The Thrive grant is a 2-year general support grant only for trans-led organisations that have been previously funded by the ITF and are in good standing. The deadline to apply is 4 December 2020 at 5pm (ET/New York time).
Read more and apply.

Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on testing for HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections

In order to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in testing efforts for HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections in the WHO European Region, a consortium of partners, led by EuroTEST, including regional European and international organisations representing community, health care and public health institutions have come together and developed a survey assessment. The survey is available in English and Russian, contains 26 questions (depending on type of service) and will take around 20 minutes to complete.
Share your response to the survey until 1 November.