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No. 234. February 2015. In this issue...


Bias motivated speech

Bias motivated violence

Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of association

Foreign policy


Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Police and law enforcements

Notice board


Mark your calendars: ILGA-Europe Annual Conference 2015

Bias motivated speech

Moldovan bishop liable for spreading false statements

On 19 February, Bălți Court of Appeal rejected the claim by the Bishop of Bălți and Fălești Markel of the Moldovan Orthodox Church where he had asked for annulment of the judgment issued by Bălți court of first instance on 9 June 2014. In the judgment from June 2014, Bălți court of first instance ruled that Bishop’s statements represented hate speech and incitement to discrimination against homosexuals.
Read more about the rejection here

Bias motivated violence

All Victims Recognised, No Victim Forgotten

ILGA-Europe signed a joint statement to mark European Day for Victims of Crime on 22 February 2015. A day to remember those who have suffered at the hands of criminals – many millions every year –children and adults, women and men, poor and wealthy, residents and visitors to the EU.

Equality and non-discrimination

Call for Proposals: Reaching the “Moveable Middle”

The call for proposals is based on findings that emerged from a comprehensive needs assessment conducted with LGBTI activists in Europe. This is a multi-donor initiative being jointly supported by the Open Society Initiative for Europe, the Open Society Human Rights Initiative, and the Arcus Foundation. Deadline for applications: 6 March.

Cities take the lead in promoting LGBT policies in Europe

In March 2015 the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities will vote on the contents of a report on opportunities for cities and regions to guarantee LGBT people’s rights in Europe.

Review and update of the World Bank Safeguard Policies

On 30 July 30 2014, the World Bank Board’s Executive Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) authorised the release of a proposal document for consultation purposes to seek feedback on its content.

New publication: What is it like to be young Roma and LGBT?

A new publication, Barabaripen, includes life stories of nine young Roma, and an analysis of the mechanisms of discrimination and the strategies that young people use in order to tackle it. The publication is also an awareness-raising and educational tool with proposals for educational activities with youth using the life stories and background materials. The booklet is published by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe as part of the Roma Youth Action Plan, the SOGI unit cooperated with the publication.
Read more about the publication here


Slovakian anti-equality referendum fails

On 8 February, a referendum intended to strengthen a constitutional definition on marriage as a union between a man and a woman in Slovakia failed due to low turnout.

Cause for optimism in Slovenia

Members of the Slovenian parliament’s committee on labour, family, social affairs and people with disability met on 10 February to discuss defining marriage in gender neutral terms. The members voted in favour of change to Marriage and Family Relations Act by 11 votes to 2.
Read ILGA-Europe's reaction here

Finland president signs gender neutral marriage law

President Sauli Niinistö confirmed the new law that will make marriage gender neutral. The law will come into force on 1 March 2017. This is the first piece of legislation that has been brought to Parliament by the public, under the citizens' initiative, and approved as the law of the land.
Read more about the gender neutral marriage law in Finland here

Committee of the Swiss National Council comes out in favour of marriage equality

The Legal Affairs Committee of the Swiss National Council voted in favour for a recommentation to adopt the Parliamentary Initiative “Marriage for all”. The committee vote was 12 in favour, 2 opposed, with 1 abstention.
Read the reaction from Swiss LGBTI organisations here

Further improvements in family law in Denmark

As of 1 January 2015 adoption by couples in Denmark does no longer require marriage. This is a general revision of the Adoption Act. It is of particular interest to rainbow families who become pregnant by means of home insemination, i.e. not under the responsibility of a health person. In that case, if the same-sex partner of the birth mother is to be legal parent she must make a second-parent adoption -  the same goes for a male partner of the biological father. 
Read more about the improvements here

International Family Equality Day 2015 - The Kids Are Alright

On 3 May, LGBTQ family organisations from around the world will join together for the fourth time to increase the international visibility of LGBTQ families. The International Family Equality Day not only raises awareness of sexual orientation and gender diversity within families, it provides an opportunity for LGBTQ parents and their children to celebrate our families and communities.
Read more on the website of International Family Equality Day

Freedom to accociation

Russian LGBT organisation fined as ‘foreign agent’

Arkhangelsk LGBT organisation ‘Rakurs’ has been fined 300 000 rubles (approximately 4 200 euro) for operating as a ‘foreign agent’ NGO without required registration as such. ‘Rakurs’ was unilaterally declared a ‘foreign agent’ by the Ministry of Justice in December 2014 upon conclusions by the Prosecutor’s office.  Another LGBT organisation, which was the second to be unilaterally added to the ‘foreign agents’ list, -- “Maximum” in Murmansk – is still awaiting subsequent court hearings in relation to similar charges brought against it by the prosecutors.
Read more about the fine here

Foreign policy

European Parliament: Include LGBT non-discrimination clause in future agreement with African, Caribbean & Pacific States


Health care staff told to stop helping patients get conversion therapy

HIV prevention: PrEP essential element of overall treatment package

The Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) took place in Seattle on 23-26 February. Prior ILGA-Europe took the opportunity to highlight that in the fight against HIV infection, Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a vital tool when properly administered and monitored.
Read more about HIV prevention here

Human rights defenders

#Quorum: ILGA-Europe's Anastasia Smirnova speaks out on Russia

Sochi, LGBTI rights and the life of an activist - our Programmes and Policy Officer Anastasia Smirnova was part of The Daily Beast’s Quorum event for global LGBTI voices.
Watch the honest and powerful interview with journalist Masha Gessen here

Call for nominations for the 2015 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Each year the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly awards the prestigious Vaclav Havel Prize to an NGO or to an individual to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights, in Europe and beyond. Selection is by a panel of experts, headed by the President of PACE, Anne Brasseur. The deadline for nominations for this year's award is end April, and the winner will be announced during the autumn PACE session at the end of September.

Legal gender recognition

ILGA-Europe opinion piece: We could put Ireland at the forefront of trans recognition, so why don’t we?

Emma Cassidy, our Communications and Media Officer, wrote an opinion piece on trans rights across Europe and asking why Ireland currently has the dubious distinction of being one of the only EU states without any legal recognition process for trans people.

Stop to the nightmare of legal gender recognition in 34 European countries

A new campaign from Transgender Europe calls attention to the fact that 34 countries in Europe still do not allow trans people to change their legal name and gender without having to undergo humiliating and abusive procedures. With the release of a new video on legal gender recognition, Transgender Europe demands action to reform gender recognition laws in Europe.
Watch the campaign video and learn more about the campaign here

Swedish law proposals on legal gender recognition and gender reassignment treatment

The Swedish government tabled in January two law proposals on legal gender recognition and gender reassignment treatment.

New “Parisian citizenship card” with option to choose preferred gender marker

On 11 February, the city council of Paris voted on the creation of a “Parisian citizenship card” where everyone will be able to indicate their preferred gender marker. The measure is symbolic given that there is still no established legal gender recognition procedure in France.
Read more about the new citizens card here (in French)

New gender options on Maltese identification documents

Although ‘male’ and ‘female’ will remain the only sexes recognised by the laws of Malta, the Maltese government is set to allow individuals to choose not to declare their sex or gender identity on identification documents through the introduction of an ‘X’ marker.
Read more the new gender options in Malta

Police and law enforcement

St Petersburg LGBT venues targeted by police and prosecutors

St Petersburg prosecutors launched an inspection of the “Infinity” women’s nightclub and its page on the Russian social network ‘VK’. The club’s management links the inspection with an earlier situation, when one of the club’s managers took and posted online a photo of herself kissing her companion in front of deputy Vitaly Milonov, who is known by his anti-LGBT initiatives. Later in February, it was reported that two LGBT other venues in St Petersburg were raided by the police. All guests at “Malevich” art-club and “3L - TrieEl” bar, which are located almost next door to each other, were searched by officers of Special Rapid Response Unit (SOBR) with dogs.
Read more about the raid of Infinity nightclub here

Notice board

Job opportunity as Policy Officer with European Youth Forum

Job opportunities as consultants on LGBT discrimination issues at the Council of Europe

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.