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No. 206, October 2012 - in this issue...















October thoughts from Evelyne

The ILGA-Europe team is back from Dublin where we had extremely rich exchanges on many different topics, including on the very complex and multifaceted theme of this year’s annual conference, “How to advance LGBTI equality in challenging economic times?”. From the impact of the economic crisis on LGBTI people, to renewed political and social conservatism and challenging the prevailing economic model, we tackled the theme from many different angles. 
Of course, it would be presumptuous to claim there’s only one answer to the question. But I must say that, listening to everyone gathered in Dublin, it became clear to me that it does boil down in large part to political will and leadership. For, isn’t more than anything a matter of political will to assert that safeguarding human rights is actually a precondition to long-term sustainable, cohesive and healthy democracies and societies? Isn’t it a matter of leadership to stand up against any form of extremism and to ensure that no group is used as a scapegoat by other group out of fear and anxiety?
And I realised that this leadership is also ours to exercise. As human rights activists, we have our own responsibility not only to speak out against injustice but also to be part of the solution. We have a duty to take action for, in the end, our biggest enemy at the moment could very well be public apathy. This means joining forces with others who also experience increased marginalisation and exclusion, engaging with those public officials who are standing up for human rights and social justice, playing our part in empowering others to assert their rights, and more than ever, reaching out to those within the LGBTI communities who are increasingly at risk of poverty. 
With warmth and solidarity,
Executive Director


16th ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference concluded in Dublin

On 21 October, the 16th ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference concluded in Dublin. 235 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) activists, European and national politicians, representatives of other organisations from 42 countries gathered in the Irish capital from 18 to 21 October 2012 for the largest annual event on LGBTI rights in Europe.

Call for proposals – ILGA-Europe Documentation and Advocacy Fund

ILGA-Europe announces the 11th call for proposals within its Documentation and Advocacy fund. This call will specifically focus on data-collection of LGBTI-phobic hate-crimes and is part of an ILGA-Europe project on hate-crimes supported by the government of the Netherlands.

Deadline for applications: 15 November 2012.

ILGA-Europe’s statement on the International Day for Trans and Intersex Depathologisation 

ILGA-Europe reiterated its support to the International Day for Trans and Intersex Depathologisatin on the 20 October.

ILGA-Europe’s statement on the International Intersex Awareness Day

ILGA-Europe joined intersex organisations around the world to mark the Intersex Awareness Day on the 26 October.

Study visit to Council of Europe for Turkish LGBT activists

On 1-3 October 2012 ILGA-Europe organised a study visit to Council of Europe institutions for 5 LGBT activists from Turkey.

Access to good and services

Same-sex couple win bed and breakfast refusal case

A court in the United Kingdom ruled that a same-sex couple who were turned away from a bed and breakfast were discriminated against. Cambridgeshire Police said it was looking into complaints following comments made on Twitter by Member of the European Parliament  Nick Griffin about the couple.

Bias motivated speech

Judgment on severe discrimination against LGBT people in Serbia

Nebojsa Bakarec, official of the conservative Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) and councilor in the Belgrade City Assembly made a statement in September 2011 that homosexuality is not normal and that it should be treated by psychiatrists and psychologists. The First Basic Court in Belgrade found this as a discriminatory behavior and severe form of discrimination of LGBT people.

Bias motivated violence

Two violent incidents in FYR Macedonia

On 21 October, a LGBT activist was beaten by two unknown persons. The attack is the latest incident of violence against Macedonian LGBT activists. However the police are reported not to show interest to the cases. Three days later on 24 October, the newly opened Centre for Support of the LGBTI Population in Skopje was attacked by three masked persons who threw stones and broke the windows.
Read about the violence against Macedonian LGBT activists here
Read about the attack on the LGBTI centre in Skopje here

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance includes homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and hate speech

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe has interpreted its mandate to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and taken the decision to monitor homophobic and transphobic hate crimes and hate speech in its next five-year cycle of reports on the 47 member states. This is an important step, both because of the key role which ECRI plays in monitoring discrimination across Europe, and because this is the first time that a monitoring body of the Council of Europe has mainstreamed work on sexual orientation/gender identity discrimination in its work. ILGA-Europe has been lobbying for ECRI to work on sogi issues since the late 1990s. It will be important now that LGBT human rights defenders make use of the opportunity to submit information on hate crimes and hate speech for use in preparation of ECRI's country reports.


Conference: Aging LGBT, opening the door to dialogue

ILGA-Europe has been invited to speak at the conference Aging LGBT, opening the door to dialogue. The conference is organised by the ILGA-Europe member Centre LGBT Paris Ile de France, and it will explore the development of housing, home care solutions professional training for LGBT elders. Key objectives are to strengthen the network of LGBT associations interested in developing quality services for LGBT elders and to encourage dialogue in France and in Europe between associations, professionals and government officials on these subject areas. 

Read more about the conference here


Two progressive initiatives in the field of education have been announced in France and in Belgium

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, spokesperson of the French government and Minister of Women’s rights has stated that textbooks would be screened to assess how they address LGBT issues. She said for instance that textbooks should mention the sexual orientation of historical figures or well-known authors when it has an impact on their works.
In the Belgium region, Flanders, Pascal Smet (Minister for education and equal opportunities) and all stakeholders in the field of education have signed a charter that aims at ensuring respect for all sexual orientations at schools and at enabling open discussions on homosexuality both in the classroom and in the professors room. In addition, good practices and materials will be collected and used in the course of this year. Outcomes of those initiatives will be assessed in June 2013.
Read more about the statement from Najat Vallaud-Belkacem here
Read more about the initiative from Pascal Smet here

Equality and non-discrimination

ILGA-Europe’s statement regarding the European Commission’s Progress Reports 2012 on countries aiming to join the European Union

ILGA-Europe: “The European Commission needs to continue monitoring and including assessment of respect of the human righ ts of LGBT people in its annual Progress Reports and to provide technical and financial assistance for reforms in the area of human rights and non-discrimination particularly for strengthening civil society and equality bodies.”

European Parliament starts work on EU-wide action plan for LGBT rights

The European Parliament released a study on a potential EU roadmap for LGBT equality. Such an EU action plan would draw together new laws and policies to strengthen equality and non-discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the EU.

Important case at the European Court of Human Rights emphasises obligation of the state to investigate homophobic motivation in maltreatment of prisoner

In the recent case of X v. Turkey, the European Court of Human Right has found violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 3.

Committee of Ministers agrees to conduct review of implementation of the Recommendation on combating sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination

In mid-September the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held two important discussions on the rights of LGBT people. In the first, it agreed that the Council of Europe would conduct a review of the implementation of the Recommendation on combating sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination by the end of March 2013. The review will be conducted by the Steering Committee on Human Rights, and will be structured around a questionnaire. Its results will be very important in guiding future activity by the Council of Europe on combating discrimination. The second discussion involved a so-called thematic debate by the Committee of Ministers on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. It was the first ever such debate at the Committee of Ministers. There was strong support for further action by the Council of Europe regarding the rights of LGBTI people.

Support for LGBTI rights at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council Europe's Autumn session

The autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) took place in Strasbourg from 1 to 5 October saw a number of initiatives, including concern on the so-called 'ban of homosexual propaganda' in Russia and Ukraine, and approval of a major new report on the rights of LGBT people.

Spokeperson of the French government : "France as being at the forefront of the promotion of LGBT rights in Europe"

The French Minister in charge of Women’s rights and spokesperson of the Government, Najat Vallaud Belkacem has presented on 31 October an extensive plan to fight against homophobia. She foresees France as being at the forefront of the promotion of LGBT rights in Europe..

Conference on anti-discrimination strategies in Eastern Europe

ILGA-Europe was invited to speak at an international conference on “Anti-Discrimination Strategies. Experience and Perspectives” which took place on 26-27 October in St. Petersburg, Russia. Among speakers and participants of the Conference were German Federal Human Rights Commissioner Markus Loening, Human Rights Commissioners from several regions of Russia, as well as representatives of international human rights organisations and human rights organisations from Germany, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine.


European Court of Human Rights looks into second parent adoption in same-sex family case

On 3 October 2012, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights had a hearing in the case of X. and Others v. Austria (no. 19010/07). The case concerns the complaint by two women, who live in a stable same-sex relationship, about the Austrian courts’ refusal to grant one of the partners the right to adopt the son of the other partner without severing the mother’s legal ties with the child (second-parent adoption).

'Invisible Parents' - new video campaign on same-sex family discrimination in the EU

Check out the video campaign 'Invisible Parents' on same-sex parenting discrimination in the EU. ILGA-Europe is a partner of the campaign.

Health Minister of Northern Ireland challenge legal move allowing same-sex couple to apply for adoption

Health Minister of Northern Ireland Edwin Poots will challenge a High Court ruling about a ban on same-sex and unmarried couples adopting children in Northern Ireland is unlawful. At present a single gay or lesbian person can adopt but a couple in a civil partnership cannot.

Freedom of assembly

ILGA-Europe condemns the decision of Serbian authorities to ban Belgrade Pride

ILGA-Europe strongly condemns the decision of the Serbian authorities to ban Belgrade Pride events and Pride March which were scheduled to take place this weekend. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, also expressed his disappointment.

Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe reviews Russia's progress on freedom of assembly

In its role of ensuring that judgments of the Court of Human Rights are carried out, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe reviewed progress by Russia in complying with the landmark freedom of assembly case, Alekseyev v. Russia, in which the banning of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Moscow pride marches was found to be in violation of the European Convention.

Freedom of expression

Ukrainian Parliament passes draft law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ in first reading

The Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, voted with an overwhelming majority to support a bill that would ban “homosexual propaganda”. 289 out of 450 members of parliament supported the bill, which is now expected to move for a second round of reading in parliament later this month.

Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland concerned over law on homosexuality in Ukraine

In a letter sent to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland expressed deep concern over a bill which proposes to ban the so-called “promotion” of homosexuality.

Russian courts upheld homophobic politics in St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk 

On October 3, Russia's Supreme Court considered the appeal by LGBT organisation and ILGA-Europe member Coming Out, challenging the law on the so-called "homosexual propaganda" in St. Petersburg. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, finding the "homosexual propaganda" law consistent with the legislation of the Russian Federation. On October 19, Lomonosovski district court of Arkhangelsk ruled lawful the refusal of the city administration to grant official permission for a street action to LGBT organisation and ILGA-Europe member Rakurs

Legal gender recognition

Moldovan Supreme Court of Justice confirms right of transgender people to gender mark change in documents

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova has issued the Recommendation #16 “on the Procedure of examination of requests regarding amendment of acts of a civil status following sex change” due to the growing number of lawsuits in this respect, which are being currently examined by courts at the national level. According to the Supreme Court of Justice’s Recommendation,”Homosexual and transgender people must be protected through the prism of Article 8 from the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, i.e. the right to respect for private and family life. The right to change one’s sex and name is a component of the right for private life”. 

No timetable for legislation on gender recognition in Ireland

Eamon Gilmore, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, speaking at the closing of the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference 2012 in Dublin, said the Irish Government was committed to developing legislation for gender recognition but that no time frame for this could be given.

Public opinion

Strong consensus on same-sex marriage rights among young Europeans

A "European Youth Poll on Gay Rights" conducted by the European Youth Parliament drew a record number of participants on this topic: 5624 participants, 16-27 of age, from 45 European countries participated. The survey sends a clear signal: The young participants favour same-sex marriage by a clear majority of 85.5%. The European Youth Poll shows strong support also for adoption rights for same-sex couples.

Public opinion study on LGBT issues in Estonia

The Estonian project Diversity Enriches, which is managed by the Tallinn Law School at Tallinn University of Technology, has lauched a study on the public opinion on LGBT issues in Estonia.

Notice board

Toolkit on EU Structural Funds for Social NGOs

On the 6 of October 2011, the European Commission published its legislative proposals regarding the next programming period of Structural Funds (2014-2020). This proposal confirms Structural Funds will be a powerful instrument to deliver on the social targets of Europe 2020. EAPN (European Anti-Poverty Network) has developed a toolkit, which aims to support social NGOs, and help them to work with their National Authorities in order to make them prioritise the new social targets of Europe 2020.

Job opportunity - Director of Human Rights and Antidiscrimination at Council of Europe

The Directorate of Human Rights and Antidiscrimination within the Council of Europe is looking for a Director of Human Rights and Antidiscrimination. The incumbent will provide leadership to, and ensure efficient management of the Directorate of Human Rights and Antidiscrimination in the Directorate General of Democracy of the Council of Europe - in compliance with Council of Europe values and priorities.

Help and support documentary about the parents of LGBT people in Turkey

"My Child" is a feature documentary about the parents of LGBT people in Turkey. The Turkish documentary shows parents of LGBT people in Turkey intimately sharing their experiences with the viewer, as they redefine what it means to be parents, family, and activists in a conservative homophobic, and transphobic society. The organisation behind the documentary, LiSTAG, needs suggestions about festival and screening, so the documentary can be seen as widely as possible. If you have suggestions about the festivals and screening opportunities in your country then please contact LiSTAG (info@listagfilm.com).

Call For Papers: UN: Inequalities and LGBT

As the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches, the UN is preparing to review the current development goals. Inequality has been identified as one of nine thematic areas that will be discussed in 2013 to outline a post-2015 development agenda. For this purpose, UN WOMEN and UNICEF are leading a Consultation on Inequalities focusing on different kinds of discrimination and marginalized groups, including LGBT persons. Deadline for papers extended to: November 10, 2012. 
Read more about the call on the website of AWID 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.