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No. 235. March 2015. In this issue...


Bias motivated violence



EU Enlargement

Equality and non-discrimination


Foreign policy

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of association

Legal gender recognition

Participation in public, cultural and political life

Notice board


Annual Conference 2015: Theme set and first keynote speakers confirmed

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, is one of the four confirmed keynote speakers to address the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference in Athens. Confirmed speakers also include Jessica Stern, Executive Director of IGLHRC and Geeta Misra, founder of CREA.  The theme of the conference is: Many voices, One movement. Together, mobilised for a just society – more detailed information on the theme will follow soon. The registration will open in May.
Read more about the Annual Conference 2015

“Equality for All” conference on discrimination issues faced by LGBT and Religion and Belief-based communities

On 26 March, ILGA-Europe and ENORB, the European Network on Religion and Belief, jointly organised a ground-breaking event to examine existing and proposed equality legislation in Europe.

Internship opportunity with ILGA-Europe

ILGA-Europe is looking for an intern from June to November to work with the staff team in Brussels. This is a paid internship. Closing date for receipt of applications: Wednesday, 15 April (10.00 CET).
Read more about the opportunity here

International Women's Day 2015: We Can Do It - together!

Activists from across Europe agreed to share their own personal stories with ILGA-Europe on  why it needed to focus on barriers to participation and the visibility of lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women in the LGBTI movement.

Questions remain on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Standing up against hatred. Working to combat prejudice. These goals have been part of the fabric of ILGA-Europe since our foundation in 1996. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March offered us a valuable opportunity to assess the work we are doing to counteract discrimination.

Bias motivated violence

Call for submissions: OSCE Hate crime report 2014

ILGA-Europe will soon start preparing a global submission to the OSCE/ODIHR, in view of their annual report on hate crime in 2014. We will prepare the comprehensive submission on all the countries on which we collected information on incidents that happened in 2014. If you have any information, please send your input by Monday 20 April 2015 to Michael Cerulus, Senior Policy & Programmes Officer.


Education Ministers adopt declaration to tackle intolerance and discrimination

On 17 March, Ministries of education from European Union member states met with EU Commissioner for Education, Tibor Navracsics. The 28 Ministers adopted a declaration on the role of education to address discrimination and intolerance. ILGA-Europe welcomes this declaration. Education systems have a key role to play to address homophobia and transphobia. We look forward to concrete measures at European level.   
Read more about the declaration here

Homophobic bullying in Lithuanian schools: survey results and recommendations

Irish university launches policy on gender identity and gender expression

On 19 March, Trinity College Dublin launched a policy which outlines the College's formal commitment to recognise and support an individual’s gender identity and gender expression. It is the first of its kind in Ireland according to the university.
Read more about the policy here


Call for proposals: data-collection of LGBTI discrimination in the field of employment

ILGA-Europe announces the XIV call for proposals within its Documentation and Advocacy fund. This call will specifically focus on data-collection of discriminatory practices in the field of employment. Deadline for applications: 4 May 2015, 18.00 CET.
Read more about the call here

Dutch Senate abolishes possibility to dismiss LGB-teachers

A legal provision which allowed religious schools to dismiss, refuse or send away lesbian, gay and bisexual teachers and pupils was abolished by a vote of 72 out of a total of 75 in the Dutch senate. Dutch LGBTI organisations have been fighting for the abolition of this discriminatory provision for 21 years. The final vote took place on 10 March.

Russia fails to block for UN benefits for staff in same-sex partnerships

The United Nations General Assembly voted to uphold Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s “personal status bulletin” of June 2014. The administrative ruling would give partnership benefits of all UN staff, as it would include marriages performed outside of the country of the employee’s citizenship. Russia failed to block this by a vote with 80 to 43 with 37 abstaining.

EU Enlargement

European Parliament reviews progress on LGBTI rights of Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia

On 11 March, the European Parliament adopted four of its annual reports for candidate and potential candidate EU countries. MEPs have assessed the rights of LGBTI people, and recommended the countries to improve the situation.

Equality and non-discrimination

A major step towards gender equality in Europe

Civil society and human rights organisations welcomed the adoption of the Report on Equality between women and men in the EU (2013) authored by MEP Marc Tarabella. Adopted with a comfortable majority of 441 votes in favour and 205 votes against, this report addresses persistent and increasing deadlocks on gender equality and proposes actions on a wide range of issues.

NGOs concerned for future of LGBTI and women's rights strategies

ILGA-Europe and the European Women's Lobby wrote an open letter to First Vice President Frans Timmermans urging him to confirm his support for the EU LGBTI Strategy and the EU Strategy for Equality between Women and Men.

Guaranteeing the rights of LGBT people at local and regional level

The Council of Europe Congress adopted the resolution and recommendation presented by Yoomi Renström (Sweden, SOC) on “Guaranteeing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people’s rights: a responsibility for Europe’s towns and regions”. The texts call on local and regional authorities to mobilise against the discrimination of all kinds which LGBT people suffer at local level and to introduce policies more respectful of their rights.
Read more about the resolution here

Swiss parliament adopts law against hate speech and discrimination

"It's nice to live in a country that recognizes diversity and supports the same equal protection for everyone" – the reaction of Bastian Baumann, Secretary-General at Pink Cross, to the vote by the Swiss Parliament on 11 March.
Read more about the vote here

New publications on the situation for LGBT people in Ukraine

Two reports/overview on LGBTI human rights in Ukraine in 2014 has been published at the beginning of March by two Ukrainian organisations:
Nash Mir published report “From Despair to Hope: LGBT situation in Ukraine in 2014".

Opinion piece: Fundamental rights in the EU: Where to next?

'Despite progress made, there continues to be serious gaps in the EU's fundamental rights and equality legislation and in its enforcement.' - read the joint opinion piece from ILGA-Europe and our NGO allies which was published 30 March in EUObserver.

To the top


Marriage equality on the horizon in Slovenia

On 3 March, Slovenia’s National Assembly passed a gender-neutral marriage bill. A move that signals broad political support for LGBTI equality. The proposed law, which phrases marriage in gender neutral terms, was adopted by an impressive margin of 51 to 28.

Irish human rights commission comes out for marriage equality

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission welcomed the upcoming referendum on marriage equality in May. The Commission stated that the opening civil marriage to two persons, without distinction as to their gender, is a matter of equality and human rights.

Families of Choice, Poland: new study out in English

“Families of Choice in Poland” is the first multi-method research project on non-heterosexual families in Poland. The report presents the results of the quantitative part the research concerning the family life of 3085 LGBT people (of whom 9% raises children) and discusses various aspects of their family practices.

Video "Bringing the Rainbow into the Schools of Europe"

The ILGA-Europe German member, LSVD Bundesverband, made a video about Rainbow Families from all over Europe. The video was filmed during the NELFA 2014 European Family Meeting.
Watch the video here

Foreign policy

MEPs and Mogherini: need for human rights ‘outside and inside our borders’

On 12 March, the European Parliament adopted its Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 authored by Pier Antonio Panzeri which includes, amongst others, important recommendations in relation to the rights of LGBTI people. During the debate on the report High Representative and Vice president Mogherini reiterated that ‘protection of human rights is and will remain the overarching priority of our external action, not one of the priorities but THE priority’

Freedom of assembly

Support EuroPride 2015 in Riga

From 15-21June, the Latvian capital will host EuroPride 2015. The event has already faced opposition - both from other organisations, and from the Latvian president, Andris Bērziņš, who in December stated that homosexuality should not be “imposed and advertised,” and called it a “road to nowhere”. ILGA-Europe will be present in Riga, and we are calling for support of the historic Pride event.

Freedom of association

Russian member organisation fined as ‘foreign agent’

Maximum, one of ILGA-Europe’s eleven member organisations in Russia, has been fined for failing to register as a so-called ‘foreign agent’.

Legal gender recognition

Promising ECtHR decision on sterilisation requirement

In a European Court of Human Rights Chamber judgment released on Tuesday 10 March, the 7-judge panel confirmed that Turkey had breached the applicant’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by denying him gender reassignment surgery on the grounds that he had not already undergone sterilisation.

Participation in public, cultural and political life

First openly LGBTI person to be elected to public office in Turkey

Sedef Çakmak, who ran in the 2014 local elections for membership to the Republican People Party’s Beşiktaş Municipal Assembly with her open lesbian identity and who was elected as an assembly member substitute, has risen to the post of assembly member. Çakmak has been actively working in the Beşiktaş Municipality since the elections and has been an advisir to the mayor on policies and services for LGBTI people.

Notice board

“Positive Steps Beyond Criticism” – conference on norm criticism

IGLYO, International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation, is organising the conference Positive Steps Beyond Criticism. The conference will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 25 May to 30 May 2015 (inclusive of travel), in partnership with RFSL Ungdom. Note the deadline: for applications: 1 April 2015, 23:59 CET.

Conference Victims of Crime in Europe: the future is now!

The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) and Victim Support Europe (an umbrella network of 38 national member organisations, providing support and information services to victims and witnesses of crime in 25 European countries) will organise the International Conference “Victims of Crime in Europe: the future is now!”, that will take place on 13 and 14 May 2015, at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in Lisbon.
Read more about the conference here

Rainbow Leaders 2015: call for applications

Rainbow Leaders is a leadership training program, offered to leaders in the Global LGBTI movement by RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ rights. Already more than 100 leaders have taken part of the training. This call is for Rainbow Leaders cycle 4, starting on August 30th 2015.
Read more about the training here

Call for applications: Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme

ISHR, International Service for Human Rights, is calling for applications for its 2015 Geneva training programme for human rights defenders. The training will take place between 10 and 24 June 2015 and provides defenders with opportunities to put their advocacy skills directly into action at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council and the 22nd Annual Meeting of UN Special Procedures.
Read more about the training here

Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society

The 19th  Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam will take place from  12 July-6  August 2015. Over the years hundreds of students have been attending the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society, which have provided them with a unique opportunity to explore and study the social and cultural dimensions of human sexuality.
They have gained knowledge of sexuality research as conceptualised and practiced globally, pertaining to both theory and methodology.
Read more about the Summer Institute here

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.