LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Gathering Online 2021

In the absence of our in-person Annual Conference again this year, ILGA-Europe organised The Gathering Online 2021, which took place from Monday 25 to Friday 29 October.

This year's theme: The Power of Us

The Gathering Online 2021, our second online alternative to an in-person ILGA-Europe conference, will focus on how we can harness The Power of Us at this time, when the change brought about by the rising anti-LGBTI forces, the COVID-19 pandemic and many other socio-economic and environmental changes are altering our world in ways in which we don’t fully understand yet, and are affecting LGBTI communities in adverse ways.

Change is an inherent part of being alive. However, change – especially, big shifts and unexpected developments, the changes that bring uncertainty and risks – can be terrifying. One of the first human responses is to fight against it. We go into survival mode, or on the offensive.

Over the past 18 months, we have been deeply reminded that change can come unexpectedly and can wreak havoc, and most of us have been left with more questions than we have answers. We’ve also seen in stark ways how our ability to deal with change is so often framed by bigger structures of inequalities. 

Still, going through change is probably one of the most common human experiences of all. And our movement has proven it is an incredible source of strength, solidarity, support and inspiration in navigating the changes we all face - whether welcomed, challenging or frightening - as individuals, as activists, as organisations, as communities.

At this year's Gathering, we will be taking a moment to reflect on how we deal with change as people and movement, and on all the richness, strength and learning that lies within our movement to continue to move forward together and for each other. 

Why is there no regular Annual Conference?

After careful consideration, we have concluded that the same reasons that led us to cancel the 2020 Annual Conference are still relevant. Beyond the logistical and practical considerations, we see the profound inequalities that exist in society, which are not only replicated, but exacerbated in our communities. While some of us might be lucky enough to have access to vaccination by next autumn and regain more freedom of movement, we are acutely aware that too many in the community will not be in this position. We also know that so many of your groups and organisations have been seriously impacted by this crisis, both financially and politically. We absolutely do not want the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference to be an event that only the most privileged amongst us can join. 

Will there be an in-person ILGA-Europe conference in 2022?

The answer is simple. Given a return to normal freedom of movement, we will keep our commitment to our friends in Bulgaria, where we were first planning to come together in 2020. We hope that 2022 will be the year we finally meet in person, in beautiful Sofia! In the meantime, we are committed to making The Gathering Online 2021 a moment for us to come together virtually, not only to address the issues that are of key importance to our community, but to gain a sense of united energy that is so key to the essential work you are so courageously committed to.

Find out more

Have a look at our preliminary programme!

ILGA-Europe launches the submission of requests for financial support to cover security and access costs for attendees of The Gathering Online 2021. Apply by 12 September!

Registration has been closed.

Making our Gathering Online a welcoming, safe and accessible space for the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia is a priority for ILGA-Europe.