2020 proved to be a game-changer for LGBTI activists, sending almost every aspect of the work into the digital sphere. Luckily ILGA-Europe had been developing an online resource-sharing centre for a few years before COVID-19 hit, and we probably couldn’t have picked a better moment to launch it.

Imagine the year is 2019. Like so many other activists in the international human rights movement, so much of your work seems to depend on travelling and attending in-person events. At the same time, it’s impossible to keep up to speed with the things you need to know to do your work successfully. It’s hard to think of other ways to get informed, and the work just seems to grow and grow, leaving very space and time to focus on the work you need to do. …

On 7 April, in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, we celebrated World Health Day with the motto: “Building a fairer, healthier world”. But to make this a reality the voices and needs of the most marginalised, including LGBTI people, must be front and centre. Here is how ILGA-Europe and the Nobody Left Outside initiative are working together to build on this vision.

Photo by Sharon Maccutcheon / Unsplash

The COVID-19 crisis has made it clear that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Health and access to healthcare is one of the seven areas where COVID-19 has hugely impacted LGBTI people, organisations and communities in Europe and Central Asia. Although the corona virus does not discriminate, already marginalised groups have been hit harder by the pandemic and yet remain among the least protected. These vulnerable communities include LGBTI people as well as people experiencing homelessness, undocumented migrants, sex workers, people who use drugs and prisoners.

The Nobody Left Outside (NLO) initiative, with the participation of ILGA-Europe, is a…

“When we are connected, our voices are louder and more heard.”

Self portrait courtesy of Seka

Their name is Asmira Topo, but everybody calls them Seka. “A long time ago, a friend thought that I was much younger than her when we first met, and that’s the name she started calling me,” Seka explains. “It means little sister in Balkan languages. It just stuck.”

It’s March but it already feels like summer in Zagreb, where Seka, originally from Bosnia, has lived for the past decade. Initially they came to the city to do their masters and be with their (now former) partner, but then they got involved in activism with the Croatian organisation, Trans Aid. Back…

“If we dismantle the gender binary, we will make life a lot easier for everybody.”

Self-portrait courtesy of Paulie Amanita Calderón-Cifuentes

As most days, Paulie Amanita Calderón-Cifuentes is feeling fabulous and has a busy agenda. These weeks she’s working at the Life Beyond HIV project as a consultant; she’s hosting events, modelling in photoshoots, facilitating the sexual health group at TransAktion and dealing with her resident visa in Denmark, where she currently lives.

When she came to the Scandinavian country to do her master’s degree in molecular biology, she didn’t know this is where she would be spending the next eight years. Originally from Colombia, she lived in Germany and the United States before finding a home in Copenhagen.

“I have…

“There is so much strength found in solidarity, now more than ever.”

Self portrait courtesy of Shash Appan

When Shash Appan was just 18 and living in the UK city of Birmingham, she came out to her family as trans. It didn’t go well. “It was a cataclysm of things going wrong,” she remembers. “As with a lot of queer kids at that age, my schooling was affected. All my plans to escape went up in the air because I was in such difficulty that couldn’t get the grades I needed to move on.”

Eventually, Shash was driven to attempting suicide. She was then sectioned by her parents. “My memory of this time is very hazy,” she says…

“Hope is my keyword for the year.”

Self-portrait courtesy of Ariadna Vigo

It’s an unusually sunny day in Pamplona, the north-eastern Spanish town famous for the San Fermines festivities where Ariadna Vigo currently lives.

For her, the city has more to it than its renowned bull fights. “Pamplona’s Old Quarter is one of the most progressive places in Spain,” she says. “This is something people don’t know.”

Ariadna is a trans lesbian activist who holds a PhD in linguistics. On our zoom call she wears her personality with ease, red lipstick, black thick eyeliner and two bracelets worn over the left sleeve of a grey swan neck sweater, give her an air…

From committing to end intersex genial mutilation to improving freedom of movement for rainbow families, find out in our blog why this new EU strategy is great news for LGBTI kids.

“Children’s rights are human rights”.

On 24 March 2021, the European Commission published the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child. Protecting and promoting the rights of the child is a core objective of the EU and therefore, the strategy aims to “build the best possible life for children in the EU and across the globe.” It strongly complements the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020–2025, committing to clear actions to end intersex genital mutilation, tackle online bullying of LGBTI youth, and improve free movement for rainbow families.

Here are the key points of the strategy that focus on LGBTI…

At this moment, the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan has a historic opportunity to decriminalise same-sex relations between men and provide better protection for LGBT people. In today’s blog, Oliver, an LGBT activist from Uzbekistan , shares his story with us, and what changing the Criminal Code would mean for him.

As he did every morning, Oliver began his day checking his email, drinking a cup of coffee. But this morning, the 32-year-old LGBT activist from Uzbekistan was upset.

The reason was that a member of the Uzbek Parliament, Rasul Kusherbaev, had publicly declared the day before, March 15, 2021: “I will never accept the cohabitation and relationship of a man with a man as husband and wife. And I believe that while we are alive, such absurdity in Uzbekistan will not be allowed by law. The day this is allowed will be the day of our death.”

At this unique…

The EU is now an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone, as declared by the European Parliament. This is great news, but real action must be taken to make this a lived reality for LGBTI people across the EU.

Protests related to detention of an LGBTI activist, Margot Szutowicz in Warsaw, August 2020. Photo credit: Aleksandra Perzynska / KPH

On 11 March 2021, in response to the proliferation of over 100 so-called ‘LGBT-Free zones’ in Poland, the European Parliament voted and declared the EU an LGBTIQ Freedom Zone. While it’s a strong symbolic gesture, this will not have any positive impact in LGBTI people’s lives unless it’s followed by meaningful actions and measures at EU and national levels.

Across the EU, we are witnessing a stark rise of hate against LGBTI people. In our recently published Annual Review, we reported an increase of hate speech from political, religious leaders and on social media in several countries of the region…

Guest blogger, Richard Roaf, director of VideoRev and an expert in helping activists develop low-budget viral campaign videos, shares his best tips for LGBTI activists filming home-made campaign videos and the learnings from the ‘Skills Boost’ workshop he conducted for ILGA-Europe.

Video is one of the most powerful ways LGBTI activists can reach new audiences. People are most persuaded by hearing from individual people, not faceless organisations, and with a presenter video you can share your campaign and your story with people around the world.

I’ve seen how video can shine a light on injustices to millions, drive thousands to take online actions and even help build powerful international movements.

The great news is that these days, if you’ve got a laptop or a smartphone you’ve got everything you need to be a great filmmaker.

This blog will take you through…


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