LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

September 2019

Time for an EU-level LGBTI strategy, IVF for lesbians in France, first Sarajevo Pride, and much more...

No. 288. September 2019. In this issue...

ILGA-Europe

Annual Conference 2019

#BiVisibilityDay2019

Asylum

Bodily integrity

Equality and non-discrimination

Family

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of association

Hate crime

Health

Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Notice board

 

ILGA-Europe

Looking for candidates for the ILGA-Europe Executive Board

Good news for those who missed the last day to get nominated for the ILGA-Europe Executive Board. We have extended the deadline for our member organisations to nominate candidates until Tuesday, 8 October. The voting will take place at the 2019 Annual Conference in Prague.
Read carefully the guidance for the nominations and fill out the form by 8 October.
 

What are the needs of the movement in the field of communications?

ILGA-Europe will soon launch a survey on strategic communication needs assessment. Building on our work done in the last five years, the project aims at assessing the needs of the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia in the field of communications. The wide-participation of the LGBTI organisations, groups, and initiatives is vital since the results will have an effect on international donors’ funding strategies as well as ILGA-Europe’s movement support mechanisms in the upcoming years. The needs assessment survey will be launched within the next three weeks. Stay tuned!
For more information, contact ILGA-Europe Senior Campaign and Programmes Officer Laura Piazza at laura@ilga-europe.org
Visit our webpage about our work on strategic communications.

 


Annual Conference 2019

23-26 October, Prague, Czech Republic

New speakers announced

We are thrilled to announce more speakers and panellists for the Annual Conference that will take place in Prague between 23-26 October. Alison Lowe who is the Chief Executive of Touchstone that work with and for people with mental health problems; Annelies Tukker who works on international policy for intersex rights at NNID Foundation; Olave Nduwanje who is jurist and queer, anti-racist, feminist activist; Marija Golubeva (Member of the Latvian Parliament) who proposed a civil partnership law in Latvia; and Tomáš Petříček (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic) as one of the top politicians from our host country will be speaking at the Conference.
Read more about the speakers.
You need to register for the Conference as soon as possible.

 


#BiVisibilityDay2019

Why are bisexual asylum seekers almost completely invisible?

 


Asylum

Indefinite immigration in the UK detention is inhumane

Did you know that the UK is the only country in Europe to not have a time-limit on how long people can be kept in detention? UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) launched a new campaign with the stories of LGBTQI+ people who have been held within the UK immigration detention system to urge MPs to support amendments to the immigration bill this autumn to bring in a 28-day limit to detention.

Bodily integrity

OII Europe hosted their 3rd Intersex Community Event in Zagreb

OII Europe celebrated both their 4th anniversary of official foundation and organised 3rd Intersex Community Event which took place between 26-28 September in Zagreb, Croatia. The event was hosted by the local organisation TransAid and aimed at creating a space for intersex people and their families to connect, strategise, and socialise. It included two-day closed community event and a day of public conference open to endosex people (people who are not intersex). More than 60 participants from 23 countries were present at the event.
 

ILGA-Europe and OII Europe to hold a side event during the PACE sessions

In May 2019, OII Europe and ILGA-Europe published their brand-new toolkit Protecting Intersex People in Europe: A toolkit for law and policy makers; which will be presented at a panel discussion during the autumn sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Dan Christian Ghattas (Executive Director of OII Europe), Mauro Cabral Grinspan (Executive Director of GATE), and Cianán Russell (Senior Policy Officer of ILGA-Europe) will speak at the event which is taking place in Strasbourg on Wednesday, 2 October between 13.00 and 13.45.

 


Equality and non-discrimination

This is a critical time for the EU Commission to adopt a comprehensive LGBTI strategy

Europe is at a dangerous crossroads and that’s why this is a critical time for the Commission to adopt a comprehensive LGBTI strategy over the next five years, say ILGA-Europe in the media release on 17 September. An EU LGBTI strategy, adopted and owned by the political leadership of the European Commission would give a very important political sign that the EU will not only continue but also strengthen its work on protecting and advancing the human rights of LGBTI people in the European Union. Also, it will help all Directorate Generals of the European Commission to feel empowered to ensure full implementation of existing commitments and to plan proposals and actions that will advance LGBTI human rights and equality.
Read more about our call for an EU-level LGBTI strategy.

Finnish Presidency organised a high-level conference on LGBTI equality

On 23 September, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission organised a high-level conference in Brussels on Advancing LGBTI Equality in the EU: from 2020 and beyond. The speakers, including the Finnish Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality and the Dutch Minister for Education, Culture and Science clearly stated that this is the time for more action and political leadership from the EU institutions. There was a clear call for the EC to adopt an EU LGBTI strategy to continue and step up the progress made through the EC list of actions. ILGA-Europe, in consultation with member organisations, are working on specific recommendations for thematic focus to the European Commission and will submit them at the end of October.
Read ILGA-Europe's Communications Director Brian Finnegan’s blog post ahead of the Conference.
 

Eurobarometer report on LGBTI acceptance is not the full picture

The Eurobarometer 2019 report, which polled of more than 27,000 EU citizens on the social acceptance of LGBTI people across the EU and perceptions on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, has been published on 25 September. Welcoming the results which reports positive findings on the acceptance of LGBTI people, ILGA-Europe Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis says they need to be taken into account with the rise of anti-LGBTI hate speech and attacks on the fundamental rights of LGBTI people in general in EU Member States.
Read our analyse for the Eurobarometer 2019.
Read the Eurobarometer LGBTI findings.

Landmark decision by Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court to uphold the privacy of a lesbian couple

In January 2018, two young women were filmed kissing at a cinema in Almaty by a man, Eldar Mamedov who posted the video to Facebook. The faces of both women were fully identifiable and they were subsequently recognised on the streets and received death threats, calls for violence and other hate speech. On 30 July this year, the Supreme Court found in favour of the women, saying that everyone has the right to privacy, personal and family secrets, protection of one’s honour and dignity.
Read more on our news article about the decision.

Transgender youth in Lithuania face overwhelming challenges in education and employment

Absence of legal gender recognition and health care in Lithuania places transgender young people at serious risk when it comes to education and employment, says LGL from Lithuania. Unable to change gender marker in legal documents, access health care and confronted with prevailing transphobic attitudes in the Lithuanian society, transgender individuals face a high degree of social marginalisation and are often unemployed.
Read more on LGL’s analyse of challenges faced by transgender community in Lithuania.
The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson in Lithuania published a report of their research on the situation of transgender persons.
 

Family

IVF to be available for lesbian and single women in France

After yearlong debates in France, often very hateful and harmful for lesbians and single women, the victory has finally come on 27 September. The National Assembly approved the new bioethics law extending the right to use IVF methods to lesbian and single women. ILGA-Europe want to congratulate all the activists who have fought hard and tirelessly for this over the years. We regret that trans men are excluded from the law. The law adopted still has to be approved by the upper house before going into effect.

"If a man gives birth, he’s the father"

The UK’s High Court has ruled that Freddy McConnell, a trans man who gave birth to his child, does not have the right to be registered as a “father” on his child’s birth certificate. McConnell has indicated his intention to appeal. At present, people who give birth to a child in the UK are always registered as the “mother”. However, this does not accurately reflect the lived reality of a growing number of transgender birth parents, and can therefore create inconsistencies.

 


Freedom of assembly

First Sarajevo Pride took place with great success

More than 3000 participants took the streets of the capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina the day of the first-ever Pride March on Sunday, 8 September. Activist Llejla Huremagic told the crowd at the end of the March that the Pride is also to support anyone else who is left out of society. Although there was a counter-protest labelled as ‘pro-family’ day the day before the Pride march, the protest only gathered a couple of hundred people.

 


Freedom of association

The registration of Feminita is denied again in Kazakhstan

On 3 September, the registration of LBQ women’s organisation Feminita has been denied again by an appeal court in Kazakhstan. “It feels like they are constantly searching for grounds to stop our work,” Zhanar Sekerbaeva, co-founder of Feminita, said to Human Rights Watch. Feminita members have experienced discriminatory treatment by the authorities before. In 2019, the authorities denied Feminita permission to organise a march for International Women’s Day multiple times. In 2018, Sekerbaeva was detained, charged with “minor hooliganism,” and fined $30 because she organised a photo shoot that she said was intended to destigmatize menstruation.

Hate crime

Trans woman in Uzbekistan killed after coming out on social media

A representative of the police department in Tashkent's Yunusobod district announced on 13 September that two suspects were charged with the murder of 25-year-old trans woman, whose body was found a day earlier. It has been reported that this was followed by her public coming out on social media. ILGA-Europe hope that the Uzbek Law Enforcement will carry out thorough and transparent investigation of the murders.
 

Brutal LGBTI-phobic murder in Tajikistan

A body of an LGBTI person* was found in the river in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on the week of 16 September. According to police, the victim was lured into a fake date by a group of 6 men who later raped, stabbed and thrown the victim in the river. Same-sex relations in Tajikistan were decriminalised in 1998, however LGBTI people are stigmatised and publicly attacked. Hate crimes based on SOGIESC are common in Tajikistan where the Government has openly stated it would not protect the LGBTI people and has refused to adopt the international recommendations to uphold the rights of LGBTI people in the country.
* Reported by LGBTI activists in Tajikistan.

 


Health

3rd European Chemsex Forum to be held in Paris from 14-16 November

The European Chemsex Forum initiative launched in 2015 with clinical, therapeutic, research and community chemsex responders. The 3rd European Chemsex Forum will be two and a half day, multi-disciplinary event, in Paris between 14-16 November. The organisers encourage participation by people who engage in chemsex including gay men, MSM, trans and non-binary people and others. They encourage participation by people from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus regions: as well as participation by people from locations where chemsex use has been identified but there is not yet adequate chemsex response.

Human rights defenders

Why the struggles of the climate and LGBTQIA+ movements are deeply connected

LGBTQIA+ people recognise that the same forces that attack our communities are also the ones who are exhausting the planet, wrote Queers4Climate from the Netherlands for ILGA-Europe Blog. “Climate breakdown is of huge risk to everyone, but it has a disproportionate effect on already marginalised communities. This is what makes it a queer issue.”

 


Legal gender recognition

Activists from South Africa visited Brussels

On the first week of September in Brussels, a delegation of 10 South African activist from Iranti, Intersex South Africa, and the African Center for Migration and Society, in partnership with ILGA-Europe, met with civil society (OII Europe, NNID, Transgender Northern Ireland, and Utrecht University), the DG-JUST of the European Union, the European External Action Service, and European Parliament LGBTI Intergroup, and MEPs interested in advancing trans and intersex rights. This is a milestone moment as South Africa explores legal gender recognition legislation based on self-determination as well as legislation targeted to eliminated intersex genital mutilation.
 

Campaign in Germany: “Say it loud: Self-determination!”

ILGA-Europe member organisation Bundesverband Trans* (BVT*) launched a new campaign "Say it aloud! - self-determination! Abolish TSG!" to opposed new legal gender recognition laws in Germany with any restrictive requirements. ILGA-Europe strongly support legal gender recognition based solely on self-determination, and stand in solidarity with the trans community in Germany.

 


Notice board

What happened at the 2019 ILGA World Conference in New Zealand?

Gathering together is how we remind ourselves that what unites us is far stronger, and powerful, than those forces trying to break us apart. It was the first ILGA World Conference to ever be held in Oceania: with 120 sessions in six days, together with the celebration of the first 40 years of ILGA. They have published their Conference report under the theme “Celebrating the past to liberate our future”.
Read the ILGA World Conference report.
 

New opportunities to join ILGA Asia

ILGA Asia is recruiting a full-time Finance and Administration Officer to look after the operation of the Bangkok office and a full-time UN Programme Officer to work on international advocacy. The deadlines for applying for the position of Finance and Administration Officer is 13 October (23.59 ICT*) and the deadline for the position of UN Programme Officer is 20 October (23.59 ICT*).
*ICT – Indochina Time
Read more and apply for the Finance and Administration Officer post.
Read more and apply for the UN Programme Officer post.

Postdoc position EU Gender Equality Law at the Utrecht University

The Utrecht University Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance seek to fill a position for a Postdoctoral Researcher in the field of EU Gender Equality Law. The successful candidate will be part of the coordination team of the gender stream of the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination. The primary task of the network is to gather reliable expert information on legislation, case law and national developments to enable the Commission to fulfil their role as guardian of the treaties.
Read more and apply by 13 October.

Freedom House seeks a consultant for a gender inclusive approach to emergency grantmaking

Freedom House are looking for a short-term consultant to better understand and respond to gendered protection needs at each stage of their grantmaking operations which provides emergency assistance to human rights defenders, civil society organizations, and survivors of religious persecution globally, including LGBTI+ human rights defenders and CSOs. Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis during October.
Read the terms of reference for more information.