LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

October 2021

French Assembly banning conversion therapies, Italian Senate voting down hate crime law, and much more...


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No. 313. October 2021. In this issue...



Equality and non-discrimination

Hate crime and hate speech


Freedom of assembly

Notice board

To the top


Our second Gathering Online reflected on the power of us in times of change

The Gathering Online 2021, our second online alternative to an in-person ILGA-Europe conference, took place between 25 and 29 October. This year’s online event focused on how we can harness The Power of Us at this time, when the change brought about by the rising anti-LGBTI forces, the COVID-19 pandemic and many other socio-economic and environmental changes are altering our world in ways in which we don’t fully understand yet, and are affecting LGBTI communities in adverse ways.
Watch back the opening plenary “The Power of Us in Times of Change.”
Watch back the closing panel discussing cross-movement solidarity.

Listen to the podcast focusing on LGBTI activism in a changing world

Our new mini-season of the Frontline podcast focuses on the incredible work done by LGBTI activists across Europe at a time of great change in the world, the challenges they face in doing the work, and some of the key ways they are addressing those challenges. We also look at how ILGA-Europe is supporting and underpinning that work, and the ways in which activists and organisations are responding.


PACE calls for decriminalisation of same-sex relations in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

On 1 October, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued a written declaration on the decriminalisation of same-sex relations in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. ILGA-Europe call upon the European Union and the Council of Europe to ensure that decriminalisation of same-sex relations is a cornerstone of partnership and cooperation with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, voluntary sexual relations between two men are punishable by imprisonment under their Criminal Codes. Due to the widespread failure to understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity among the general public and law enforcement, this law negatively impacts all of the LGBT community in both countries.

Equality and non-discrimination

“Equality Bodies are the safety-net to ensure protection"

On 18 October, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović gave an opening speech at the annual seminar on equality bodies, organised by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). "When political leaders are failing in their responsibility to promote equality and human rights, national legislation and human rights structures, such as yours [Equality Bodies'], are the safety-net to ensure protection" said-she.

40th anniversary of landmark Dudgeon v UK judgment

On 22 October, it was the 40th anniversary of landmark Dudgeon v UK judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, which led to decriminalisation of same-sex relationships in Europe. ILGA-Europe marked the anniversary: “Now as then, strategic litigation plays an important role for the advancement of LGBTI rights and an important part of our work.” The Council of Europe SOGI Unit launched a video of interviews with the participation of Jeffrey Dudgeon, Tim Eicke (the Judge in respect of the UK, European Court of Human Rights), Arpi Avetisyan (Head of Litigation, ILGA Europe) and LGBTI persons' rights advocates Brian Gilmore, Richard Kennedy and Douglas Sobey. (Photo by the Council of Europe)

New website launched about being intersex in Europe

To mark Intersex Awareness Day on 26 October, OII Europe and NNID Foundation launched a new website, talking about being intersex in Europe and the issues intersex people combat daily. The goal of the website is to increase the knowledge on intersex human rights issues in Europe, contributing to the overarching goal of reaching more acceptance.

Hate crime and hate speech

Italian Senate voted down a bill that would protect LGBTI people from hatred

On 27 October, the Italian Senate voted down a bill to protect LGBTI people, women and disabled people from hate crime and speech. Italy’s Lower House had already approved the bill but following misinformation on freedom of speech, the Senate blocked the law with a majority of 23 votes. “Now, EU legislation on hate crime and speech is needed” said ILGA-Europe in their reaction to the vote.


France plans to ban so-called “conversion therapies”

On 5 October, the French Assemblée Nationale passed a bill banning so-called “conversion therapies” on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill, adopted unanimously in the Assemblée, contains provisions to ban these practices entirely, with enhanced penalties for inflicting the practices on minors. The bill will next go to the Senate.

“The time is now to create an intersectional long-term Mental Health Strategy”

On 20 October, the Mental Health Advocacy Platform, in which ILGA-Europe is a member, released a statement calling on the European Commission to develop and adopt a Mental Health Strategy that takes an intersectional approach and can meet everyone’s diverse needs. A comprehensive long-term European Mental Health Strategy is essential to tackle inequalities in mental health care, support prevention and early intervention services.

New briefing paper on mental health services for people living with HIV

To mark the World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) shared a briefing paper with recommendations emerging to improve the provision of mental health services for people living with and affected by HIV in Europe and Central Asia. The recommendations are addressed to European and national health policy makers, agencies and donors, healthcare professionals and specialty societies, research institutions and researchers, civil society and community-based organisations working with people living with, affected by or at risk of HIV. The briefing paper is available in English and Russian.

Second round of EU4Health calls launched

The European Commission launched a call for grants to support the implementation of best practices in community-based services for HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections. The grants were established under the EU4Health Regulation which was adopted to support Member States in building stronger, more resilient and accessible health systems as part of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework for the 2021-2027 period. Deadline for grant applications is 25 January 2022, 17:00 (CET).

Join the webinar about trans depathologisation in a time of anti-gender movements

To mark the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologisation, GATE launched a call for their webinar ‘Trans Depathologisation in a time of Anti-Gender Movements’ which will take place on 4 November. According to GATE, next year, the implementation of the ICD-11 will officially begin and States will work to make a reality the removal of categories that identified being trans as a mental disorder, implementing new pathways to legal gender recognition, gender affirming healthcare and its coverage.

Freedom of assembly

Turkey acquits 19 LGBTI+ Pride marchers

On 8 October, 18 students and one academic who were detained, charged and prosecuted for their participation in a peaceful LGBTI+ Pride march at Turkey’s Middle East Technical University (METU) in the city of Ankara on 10 May 2019 were acquitted, having faced charges of “participating in an unlawful assembly” and “failing to disperse despite being warned” and up to three years in prison. (Photo by ÜniKuir)

Notice board

Trans-led organisations can apply for International Trans Fund’s grants

The International Trans Fund (ITF) announced their 6th grant cycle for applications from trans-led organisations with budgets below $100,000 USD based in any region of the world. The ITF has 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. The THRIVE grant is a 1-year general support grant only for trans-led organisations that have been previously funded by the ITF. The deadline to apply is 5 December, 2021 at 5pm (ET/New York time).
Read more and apply.

New toolkit for engaging with business

Workplace Pride and Open For Business have launched a new toolkit to help LGBTI activists more effectively and meaningfully engage with private sector businesses. The Civil Society Business Toolkit provides a practical approach to interacting with businesses and building partnerships and includes case studies from LGBTI activists.
Read more and download the toolkit.

Register for the webinars about faith and LGBT+

A.Ge.D.O., an organisation of parents of LGBT+ persons, is organising a series of webinars about faith and LGBT+ in an attempt to bridge the gaps between laic and faith-based LGBT+ organisations. The webinars are free and will take place online on 11, 18, 25 November and 9 December.

Join Europe's first trans leaders academy

TGEU launched its Trans Leaders Academy, the first-ever e-learning platform for emerging trans activists in Europe. It aims at supporting, connecting, and elevating a new generation of trans leaders. The online academy kicks off with a series of courses on trans leadership developed by trans experts. Participants will be able to follow, at their own pace, courses in various formats, such as videos, quizzes, and external resources, to strengthen skills and sustainably lead and organise communities.

Join BIPOC sex worker academy

As part of it's new anti-racism program, the European Sex Workers' Rights Alliance (ESWA - formerly ICRSE) announced the launch of their BIPOC Sex Worker Academy, along with its scholarship program. Only BIPOC sex worker activists (including but not limited to representatives of ESWA member organisations) are eligible to apply. The Academy will take place between January 25 and 28, 2022 in Brussels. This training is aimed to fill the participants knowledge gaps around funding, public speaking, conflict resolution, and addressing white privilege within their organisations. ESWA offers 20 full scholarships.