Across Europe, the rights of rainbow families are divergent, yet every European country has one thing in common: legal protection for LGBTI parents and their children is stalling. To mark International Day of Families 2021, we look at the situations and challenges for rainbow families across the region.

Photo credit: Robin Worrall / Unsplash

“Rainbow families exist whether you like it or not,” says Bjorn Sieverding from the Network of European LGBTIQ Families (NELFA) in one of our latest podcast episodes, from a season we created about rainbow family rights in Europe. Over the last 30 years, legal recognition of rainbow families has hugely advanced, but usually in the face of strong opposition. …

As ILGA-Europe launches a re-granting programme to strengthen the capacities of European and Central Asian LGBTI organisations in the current landscape of rising anti-LGBTI forces, we share three core tactics to develop in the face of groups who strategically attack our rights and lives.

Photo credit: Unsplash / Brian Kyed

Anti-LGBTI forces are diverse and widespread, and yet largely united in their efforts to limit the rights of, encourage discrimination against, and negatively affect the day-to-day lives of LGBTI people. Their tactics are instantly recognisable: spreading harmful misinformation about LGBTI people and their lives; initiating and feeding into smear campaigns against LGBTI activists; attacking funding of LGBTI movement; campaigning against progressive laws; and lobbying for discriminatory policy and legislation. And that’s just some of their strategies.

As a result, activists across Europe and Central Asia are dealing with waves of anti-LGBTI attacks on an everyday basis. They face it when…

As #LesbianVisibilityWeek draws to a close, here’s why lesbian visibility matters every day.

Credit: Santiago Blando / Unsplash

Although lesbians constitute the first letter of the LGBTI acronym, lesbian women remain largely invisibilised in societies across Europe and Central Asia. Although there have been advancements in lesbian rights in some countries since the acronym gained popularity in the 90s, such as marriage equality, access to medically assisted insemination or protection against discrimination — the struggles of lesbian communities and individuals continue in 2021 and are part of cis, trans and intersex women everyday lives. These struggles notably impact the most marginalised lesbian communities at the intersections.

Data is a motor for change. EL*C, the Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Conference, recently…

ILGA-Europe’s podcast The Frontline presents a brand-new mini-series looking at the many issues affecting LGBTI parents and their children across Europe.

Presented by ILGA-Europe, The Frontline is a podcast about LGBTI activism and lives in Europe and Central Asia. Deep-diving and analysing from a unique and informed perspective, The Frontline aims to bring you to the core of queer activism and give you an understanding on the complexities of what’s happening, why it’s happening, the wins and the losses, the challenges and commonalities, and the extraordinary ways in which the work of those on the frontlines continues in a rapidly changing world.

The latest mini-series from The Frontline explores rainbow family rights, and the lack thereof, in Europe. We look at…

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…


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