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No 213, May 2013 - in this issue...


Bias motivated violence


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Freedom of association

Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Not “la vie en rose”

The most comprehensive overview of the LGBTI people rights and lives in Europe 2013. To mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on 17 May, ILGA-Europe launched its Rainbow Europe package reviewing the human rights situation and assessing what life is like for LGBTI people in Europe in 2013. The Rainbow Package 2013 received overwhelmingly positive attention and top European politicians and officials stood in line to applaud the two tools in the package: the Annual Review 2013 and Rainbow Map 2013.

Meeting on anti-propaganda laws with key actors and LGBT activists in Kyiv

On 27-28 May, ILGA-Europe organised a meeting in Kyiv to debate strategies to tackle proposed law banning 'homosexual propaganda'. 10 LGBT activists from Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Moldova and representatives of international organisations took part in the event. At the meeting were also present representatives of the Council of Europe, European External Action Service of the European Union, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as representatives of the Embassies in Ukraine.

EU study visit for LGBT activists from Western Balkan and Turkey

On 27-29 May, ILGA-Europe organised a EU study visit for 8 participant from Western Balkans and Turkey. Several meetings were on the programme with the European Commission Directorate General of Enlargement , European External Actions Service, Commissioner Fule’s cabinet, the DROI secretariat of the European Parliament, LGBT Intergroup of the European Parliament, rapporteurs for relevant countries, EQUINET and the European Group of National Human Rights Institutions. The activists will also participate at the European Commission’s consultations on Progress reports on the Western Balkans and Turkey.

ILGA-Europe in press conference on situation for LGBT people in Greece 

On 30 May, Eveyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe Executive Director, took part in a press conference on the situation of LGBTI people in Greece, who face strong discrimination and very little legal protection. Also on the panel were Konstantina Kosmidou, from the local LGBT organisation, OLKE, and a reserve board member of ILGA-Europe and the two MP's Vassili Katriuanou from the left wing Siriza and Maria Yiannakaki from Democratic Left, who had both been instrumental in securing the mentioning of sexual orientation and gender identity in the new law on hate crime that was recently passed. Both MP's  expressed their support for LGBT issues and the continued need for further legislation as well as education of the general public about LGBTI-issues.

Bias motivated violence

Homophobic and transphobic violence in Georgia

A huge crowd of counter-demonstrators attacked a peaceful and officially sanctioned demonstration by LGBTI activists on 17 May in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. ILGA-Europe strongly condemned the homophobic and transphobic attacks, and is deeply concerned by ongoing risks for the security and safety of LGBTI individuals in the country. Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and the co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe did also strongly condemn the violent incident.

Albania amends hate crime law to include sexual orientation and gender identity 

The Albanian Parliament amended its criminal code and levelled hate crimes against sexual orientation and gender identity with offenses against gender, race, ethnicity, religious belief, disability ect.. Moreover the amendments also now means that dissemination of LGBT-phobic information through any means will be punished. 

Homophobic murder in Volgograd

The brutal killing of a gay man in Volgograd, Russia, has sparked outrage among Russia's LGBT community, and LGBTI activists say the case reflects growing intolerance in Russia. Police have been questioning two men over the murder which they are treating as a homophobic attack. The victim's naked body had been dumped in a courtyard. Local reports tell, that his skull was smashed, the perpetrators raped him with beer bottles and lastly set fire to his corpse.

Sharp rise in homophobic attacks in France

A report from the French LGBT organisation, SOS Homophobie, shows a worrying sharp rise of homophobic attacks and homophobic speech. The number is likely to be linked to the approval of the marriage equality according to the organisation behind the report. SOS Homophobie said it recorded 1,977 calls on its helpline in 2012, a 27 percent increase over the previous year.


Survey on the impact of LGBT-phobic bullying on education and employment

A new research project about the impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on education and employment opportunities has been launched. The target group is people aged 18-35 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer in Croatia, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Poland.The survey is carried out by Sheffield Hallam University (UK) on behalf of IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organization. The deadline for responses is 31 May 2013.

School sets up 'gender-neutral' dressing room

A Stockholm high school is set to open a third changing room for trans students and those who don't want to define themselves as being male or female, a move believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Equality and non-discrimination

IDAHO 2013 - Rainbow Europe package, statements, activities and ground breaking reports

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) 2013 was marked with important statements from United Nations, Council of Europe and the European Union. The European Unions Agency for Fundamental Rights launched their long waited results of the biggest European survey on LGBT issues, the Council of Europe launched an action day against hate speech, Transgender Europe launched their Trans Rights Map and ILGA-Europe published the Rainbow Europe Package for 2013.

Thorbjørn Jagland: Russia must protect LGBT rights

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, demanded that Russia allow LGBT pride events and weighing in on what has become an increasingly divisive issue since Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency.

Unanimous PACE Committee: combat violations of freedom of expression and assembly

The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parlimentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimously adopted a draft recommendation on the basis of a report prepared by Håkon Haugli, General rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people of PACE. The Committee expressed deep concern at the repeated infringement, in some Council of Europe member states, of the right of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression in relation to LGBT people and at the clear setback in this area due to the introduction of laws and draft laws on the prohibition of so-called homosexual propaganda.

Important judgments final after rejection of appeal to the Grand Chamber

Applications to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights for leave to appeal in three important sexual orientation cases have been rejected. The requests were made in the hope of overturning progressive judgments in the cases of Ladele v. UK and MacFarlane vs UK (grouped together with other cases under the title of Eweida and Others v. the United Kingdom) (which disallowed discrimination against LGBT people on the grounds of faith in the public sphere) and X v. Turkey (on homophobic motivation in maltreatment of prisoner). The rejections mean that the Chamber Judgments stand and become the definitive position of the Court.
Click here to download the media release from the court
Read more about the judgment on Eweida and Others v. the United Kingdom
Read more about the judgment on X v. Turkey

Commissioner Reding refuses to take leadership or step up EU action on LGBTI issues

On 17 May, the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights presented the results of the largest LGBT Survey of its kind in the world. The results revealed that discrimination and fear from violence are lifetime companions of LGBT people literary at all stages of their lives. Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights said that the EU is already doing all that it can, and if Member States want to improve the situation in their country, then they should do it themselves. Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, responded: “Commissioner Reding categorically refused to assume EU leadership on the LGBT issues in spite of the shocking results of the Survey."


Second parent adoption but not joint adoption extended to same-sex couples in Portugal

Portugal’s Parliament passed a law allowing same-sex married couples to adopt their partners’ children, but at the same time the Portugese lawmakers failed to pass legislation granting same-sex couples the same adoption rights as different-sex couples regarding joint adoption.

Huge anti-marriage equality protests and first same-sex marriage ceremony in France

On 17 May, the Constitutional Council of France cleared the way for the marriage equality law. Already a few days later President Hollande signed the law to come into force. Despite this, Paris saw a huge anti-marriage equality protest which ended in violence and chaos. However the hatred in Paris did not hinder the first same-sex marriage ceremony to take place in Montpellier on 29 May.

Croatia holds first marriage equality march

On 27 May, some 400 people took part in the first ever marriage equality march in staunchly Catholic and largely conservative Croatia, set to join the European Union on 1 July. The participants marched through downtown Zagreb to the main government offices where they put out a giant rainbow flag and read out their demands.

Consultative council on LGBT rights to focus on civil unions in Malta

A consultative council has been appointed by the Maltese government to give recommendations and prepare legislation involving the Maltese LGBT community. The council's priority will be to prepare legislation on civil unions for same-sex couples, and will later work on a draft law to regulate the recognition of trans persons.

Freedom of assembly

Kyiv Pride goes ahead despite ban

On 25 May, about 50 LGBT activists participated in a pride march in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, despite a ban by local authorities on. The event lasted less than one hour amid a strong police presence. In 2012 Kyiv Pride had to be cancelled when the police stated they would not be able ensure adequate protection.
Read about the short pride march, and the reaction to the ban prior the pride march

March “LGBT for Traditional Values” successfully held in Moldova

On 19 May, the Moldovan LGBT movement held a LGBT pride march took place during the Pride Festival “Rainbow over the Dniester”. About 100 persons participated in the event titled “LGBT for Traditional Values”, including the Dutch Member of EU Parliament Marije Cornelissen, Embassies of Sweden, United States, United Kingdom, Italy and others, OSCE Mission to Moldova, Council of Europe, EU Delegation to Moldova, various departments of UN Office in Moldova, friends and allies of LGBT people and finally Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy.

Abrupt end for approved LGBT pride event in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg authorities abruptly ended a previously approved LGBT protest rally against homophobia and transphobia — described by the organiser as Russia’s largest in the past few years — for alleged security reasons. Called Rainbow Flashmob, the protest was organised by LGBT organisation Vykhod (Coming Out) and the Alliance of Straights for LGBT Equality and drew an estimated 200 participants. A similar number of anti-LGBT counterdemonstrators, many of whom acted aggressively and shouted insults and threats, also attended.

Dozens held at Moscow LGBT pride event

Several dozens of LGBT activists and their opponents were detained in the Russian capital on Saturday 25 May during a string of LGBT pride events in the city’s center. The majority were held during an attempted pride event in front of the City Hall, which refused earlier to sanction the event. Several LGBT activists were also held by the State Duma’s building when attempting to stage consecutive solitary pickets, which require no official permits.

Freedom of association

LGBT organisations in St. Petersburg accused of being “foreign agents”

Three organisations have been charged so far for failing to register as “foreign agents” (Coming Out, Side by Side LGBT film festival, and Anti-discrimination center Memorial). Two out of the three are LGBT organisations, while the third openly supports LGBT rights. The law on foreign agents is forcing Russian NGOs financed from abroad and involved in political activity to register themselves. The LGBT organisation, Coming Out, has stated that it will not register as “foreign agents”, as they consider it to be a misleading and offensive label, and will find other lawful and legitimate ways of continuing their work to defend LGBT rights in St. Petersburg and Russia.
Read more about the controversial 'foreign agent' law here

Human rights defenders

Ressource: Digital Security First-Aid Kit for Human Rights Defenders

This kit contains short guides for human rights defenders who find themselves in emergencies related to communication and digital security. As guides are being added, individual sections of following scheme become active. While the kit does not provide exhaustive guidelines on how to respond to specific situations, it does suggest concrete steps, further resources and references to support groups to whom activists can turn to for further assistance.

Legal gender recognition

The Lithuanian Parliament makes the first step towards banning gender reassignment

On 23 May, the Lithuanian Parliament made a first step towards explicitly prohibiting the procedure of gender reassignment in Lithuania by placing the corresponding amendment to the Civil Code on the parliamentary agenda. 

Trans Rights Europe Map & Index 2013 from Transgender Europe

Transgender Europe launched on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia their Trans Rights Europe Map & Index 2013. The map and index reflects European countries’ laws and administrative practices which protect or violate the human rights of trans people and provides detailed country information in 21 categories. Data contained in these documents is based on the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Europe Map 2013.

Notice board

Internship opportunity at IGLYO

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation, IGLYO, is looking for an intern. Applicants are couraged to apply by 30 June 2013, however applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so interested parties should apply as soon as possible.

Seminar: "Anti-propaganda laws" The new criminalisation of homosexuality

On 4 June, the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights is organising a seminar on the "anti-propaganda laws" as a form of a new criminalisation of homosexuals. The speakers are Stávros Lambrinídis (EU Special Representative for Human Rights), Dmitri Bartenev (International Commission of Jurists), Werner Schulz (MEP, member of Russia-EU delegation), Article 19, ILGA-Europe, the Russian LGBT Network and the Ukrainian Council of LGBT Organisations. The seminar is chaired by Michael Cashman, MEP and Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup.
Check out the website of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights for more information

LGBT Youth & Social Inclusion Conference

One of ILGA-Europe's Irish member organisations, BeLonG To Youth Services, is organising on 17 June the conference LGBT Youth & Social Inclusion Conference. This conference is supported by the Department of Children & Youth Affairs; and is organised in collaboration with ILGA Europe, IGLYO, the National Youth Council of Ireland and the European Youth Forum, and is an " Associated Irish Presidency Event".

Summer School on 'Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy of the European Union'

Odysseus Academic Network is organising a Summer School on 'Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy of the European Union', which will take place in the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Brussels (Belgium) from 1 to 12 July 2013. The aim of the Summer School is to provide its participants with an comprehensive understanding of the immigration and asylum policy of the European Union from a legal point of view. The closing date for applications has been set for 7 June 2013.

ComiX4= Comics for Equality

The ComiX4= Comics for Equality project is based on the need to promote the development of a European society based on respect for fundamental human rights, and to fight against racism, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance. The project has a particular focus on Italy, Bulgaria, Estonia, Romania and Latvia, and seeks to involve migrants and second-generation immigrants – often the subjects of discrimination – in the creation of artistic resources – namely comic strips – to be used in combating racism and xenophobia. The project ComiX4= Comics for Equality is led by Africa e Mediterraneo (Italy), in partnership with NGO Mondo (Estonia), the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation (Bulgaria), ARCA (Romania) and Grafiskie stasti (Latvia).


ILGA-Europe Rainbow Digest is published by ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association

ISSN 1998-8117
Editor: Mehmet Akin
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This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Rights Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme 2014-2020 of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of ILGA-Europe and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.