Safety

All LGBTI people have the right to live in dignity. Part of that means that wherever they are, their physical and emotional safety is fully and effectively protected.

For more information, contact: Akram Kubanychbekov, Senior Advocacy Officer

When we talk about safety for LGBTI people, we mean ensuring that they’re fully protected from a range of threats to their wellbeing.

These include bias-motivated speech (both online and offline), bias-motivated violence and gender-based violence. Besides, safety also means that LGBTI victims of crime or violence receive adequate support – and that LGBTI people in asylum are never left behind.

Here is how we work with each of these focus areas:

Bias-motivated speech

At ILGA-Europe, we work to ensure that LGBTI people are protected from bias-motivated speech and anti-LGBTI speech based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) – both offline and online. At the same time, striking a balance with freedom of speech and expression is critical. 

Specifically, we work against bias-motivated speech by advancing protections against it in national, regional and international standards. Moreover, we strengthen legal and non-legal measures at national, regional and international levels that will help us combat anti-LGBTI hate speech and disinformation. 

Another part of our work has to do with raising awareness. We work to inform different stakeholders about bias-motivated speech or its specific elements – like protection gaps, LGBTI-specific challenges, underreporting and failures to investigate incidents.

Besides, ILGA-Europe works with strategic litigation, provides support to our members and networks with other civil society organistations working on the issue – like European Digital Rights (EDRi), Access Now, European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the European Disability Forum (EDF). 

Bias-motivated violence

At ILGA-Europe, we work towards fully protecting LGBTI people from bias-motivated violence – and to ensure that LGBTI victims receive the support they need without discrimination. We do this in a number of ways.

First of all, we work to strengthen legal and non-legal measures at national, regional and international levels to combat violence against LGBTI people that’s motivated by bias. People with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) need to be fully included in all laws protecting against hate and providing safety and support for victims.

We also strive to ensure that different stakeholders are aware of the issue and its specific elements – like the underreporting of crimes against LGBTI people, the lack of specialised support services for LGBTI victims and discrimination in criminal justice. Implementation guidelines and trainings, both for police forces and for the judiciary are key in tackling underreporting. 

Last but not least, we work with strategic litigation, support our members across our region and work with other like-minded civil society organisations – like the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Victim Support Europe (VSE) and others.

Gender-based violence

It is crucial to understand that LGBTI people are at great risk of gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic violence. The reason? LGBTI people are often seen as transgressing societal norms of gender and gender expression – especially in contexts where binary gender stereotypes are the rule and norm. Also, especially young LGBTI people can face hostility and violence in family settings, but to non-acceptance of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

As a result, addressing gender stereotypes and gender-based violence goes hand-in-hand with focusing on the intersections between gender and SOGIESC. Only then can we address all the implications and impacts of harmful norms – and draw out their root causes.

At ILGA-Europe, we strive to ensure that all forms of GBV and domestic violence against LGBTI people are recognised and addressed by all stakeholders at all levels. We do this in a number of ways.

First, we work to help members, stakeholders and decision-makers understand how GBV and domestic violence also effect LGBTI people and how laws and policies need to be inclusive of SOGIESC. We work to ensure that LGBTI people are protected from all forms of GBV in national, regional and international standards.

Last but not least, we support our members and network with other civil society organisations working against GBV and domestic violence.

Asylum

LGBTI asylum seekers in the region deserve safety and fair treatment. At ILGA-Europe, we particularly focus on making this a reality. Specifically, we work to advance protection for LGBTI asylum seekers in the EU and ensure they’re treated fairly on national, regional and international levels. We also strive to strengthen legal and non-legal measures to combat discrimination against LGBTI asylum in host countries.

Besides, we work to raise awareness amongst different stakeholders about SOGIESC asylum. Last but not least, we strategically litigate to advance protection for asylum seekers, support our members and network with other civil society organisations working on the issue. 

It’s important to note that we do NOT support individual asylum applications. We do not have the resources and expertise to work on individual cases and emergencies: assisting individual asylum seekers requires a deep knowledge of national asylum law, which varies greatly from country to country.

Police and law enforcement

Our work with police and law enforcement is focused on ensuring that, as the front line of the criminal justice system and the first point of contact for many LGBTI people, they are aware of the particular challenges the LGBTI community faces. That way, police and law enforcement can effectively identify and investigate crimes without prejudice; in particular, hate crimes against LGBTI people.

Specifically, ILGA-Europe collaborates with The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and the High Level Group on combating hate speech and hate crime. We also work to raise awareness around the relationship between policing and LGBTI people – covering issues like structural discrimination and underreporting.

We also strategically litigate to change police and law enforcement practices, support our members and network with other civil society organisations working with police and law enforcement.

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