The COVID-19 pandemic and the political responses to it have hit already beleaguered LGBTI asylum seekers in Europe particularly hard. We report on the alarming impact.

Credit: Kyle Glenn / Unsplash

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, but not everyone has been impacted has been impacted in the same way,” said moderator Luna Liboni at the opening of the first panel of the ‘COVID-19 and Queer Asylum Symposium’ on April 29. This is particularly true in the case of LGBTIQ persons seeking asylum and refugees in Europe, a community who already faced a double stigma and discrimination in host countries before the health crisis started.

“The EU has been too slow in the context of COVID-19,” said Professor of Law Nuno Ferreira at the symposium. …

On 5 June 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a landmark judgement against Romania, recognising that the term spouse includes same-sex spouses under EU freedom of movement laws. Three years later, Clai Hamilton, spouse of Romanian citizen Adrian Coman, has not been granted residency yet. Now they’ve brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Here, Adrian Coman talks about the original case, and his hopes with this latest development.

Adrian Coman and Clai Hamilton. Photo by Rudolf Costin

When Adrian Coman and Clai Hamilton first met, they did not know that the love they’d found would ultimately change the lives of rainbow families in the European Union. In 2010, while working at the European Parliament in Belgium, Adrian married Clai, a US citizen living in Brussels. Two years later, they decided to move and settle together in Adrian’s home country of Romania.

However, the Romanian authorities chose not to follow EU laws and refused to recognise their marriage, so Clai was not able to apply for a residence permit. Almost a decade on, the situation remains the same.

To mark #InternationalSexWorkersDay on June 2, we talked to Sabrina Sánchez, trans migrant sex worker based in Spain, on her journey, the pandemic and why sex workers rights are central to the LGBTI movement.

Courtesy of Sabrina Sánchez

Sabrina Sánchez can say she’s mostly happy. Happy and tired. Last month, she attended the Trans United Europe conference in Amsterdam, supported by the No One Left Behind fund from ILGA-Europe. Just before our conversation she was at another meeting and later on the same day, she’s participating in an event organised by the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, the topic is “this sort of gentrification of sex workers’ aesthetics in music”. Finally, the Spanish Supreme Court has recently recognised the right of sex workers to unionise, thanks to the pledge of Spain’s Sex Workers Organisation (OTRAS). …

Published on May 17, ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Map & Index 2021 reveals a disturbing stand-still on LGBTI human rights across Europe. But what are the reasons for this deadlock, small advancements and worrying regressions, and navigate more maps on LGBTI rights in the region.

ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Map 2021

For the first time since ILGA-Europe published its first Rainbow Map in 2009, which benchmarks every European country on the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people, we have seen no positive change in 70% of the region.

The reasons behind the stand-still

It would be easy to blame COVID-19 for the almost complete lack of legal progress, but the reality is far more complex. Although the global health crisis has certainly played a role, we already reported a growing stagnation of LGBTI rights last year, before the pandemic spread in Europe. Besides, it was clarified in Europe that a difficult health context shouldn’t be…

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…


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