LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Sofia 2022

This year’s ILGA-Europe conference will take place in the city where the original 2020 conference had been planned, the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, from 19-22 October 2022. Add the dates to your diaries!

We look forward to being welcomed by our host organisations in Sofia, Bilitis Resource Center Foundation, GLAS Bulgaria Foundation, and Youth LGBT Organisation Devstvie. They have waited since 2019, when our conference was first planned in Sofia, so we are very happy and excited to work with them at last.

After three years not being able to gather in person, we thrilled to be able to bring our movement together in the same space once more, knowing how important it is for us all at this moment in time, and how much we need to experience connection, solidarity and inspiration with and from each other.

Despite unpredictability connected with the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, we are working to make the conference a place for LGBTI activists to come together, to connect and reconnect, to reflect, realign and identify ways to move our collective work forward as a European and Central Asian LGBTI movement.

This year, the conference programme will be built around two overarching themes. Firstly, under ‘building alliances in shifting contexts’ we will reflect on how we join forces and work together to counter different anti-democratic and anti-LGBTI forces and in response to crises, and how we shape cross-movement narratives to unify and bring positive change. Secondly, under ‘collective resilience in the movement’, we will look at questions around resourcing the movement, organisational design, fostering safety and security, staying connected and responding to changing contexts. More details about the theme and programme will be shared over the summer months!

Anticipating potential COVID-related restrictions

Anticipating potential COVID-related restrictions that could re-appear later in October – and thus avoid a full or partial cancellation of the event – one decision we had to make was to limit the number of people physically present to 300. As we want to ensure as much fairness and accessibility as possible within this participation cap, we therefore need to also put limits on the number of participants sent by each organisation this year.

This said, we are firmly committed to ensuring that the diversity of the LGBTI movement in the region is reflected at the conference. This is why throughout the registration and the scholarship process, we will try to balance, to the best of our abilities, the different profiles of activists and organisations that are present in our movement, and we will use the scholarship process to support the participation of activists from under-represented and marginalised parts of the community.

What does that imply? The conference this year will be exclusively open to:

  • Representatives of ILGA-Europe member organisations
  • Representatives of LGBTI organisations working in Europe and Central Asia
  • Allies of the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia (institutions, funders)  

A strict maximum of two participants per organisation will be able to attend the conference, regardless if they are paying participants or scholars. Furthermore, we ask organisations who have been represented by large delegations in the past to delegate only one person, if possible.

While we do not have the resources and expertise to organised a fully-fledged hybrid conference, we will offer parts of the programme online to those who may not be able to join in-person.

Our AGM portion will however be hybrid, so that representatives of the membership who can’t attend in person, are still able to participate in the governance of ILGA-Europe.

For any questions about the Annual Conference, please contact us here.

Within the cap of 300 people physically present at the event, we want to do our best to ensure there is diverse representation from across the movement and the region.

Are you an LGBTI activist based in Europe and Central Asia and representing an organisation based in Europe and Central Asia?

In addition to the programme led by ILGA-Europe, conference participants will have the opportunity to submit workshop proposals in line with the conference themes.