LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Want to make a change on Human Rights Day? Here’s a place to start…

Today, on 10 December, the United Nations encourages us all to ‘stand up for someone’s human rights’. 

This year’s theme might sound straight-forward but there is a challenge to all of us contained there. The UN’s message reminds everyone of their responsibility – and ability – to create change.

This week, ILGA-Europe launched our new Turn on the Lights campaign, with the aim of putting the experiences of LGBTI people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds centre stage. The campaign is our commitment to learning how LGBTI activists can fight racism and discrimination within our own communities.

On Human Rights Day 2016, there are many exercises that we can do to make sure we are more inclusive – as individuals, as communities, as organisations and as a wider movement dedicated to human rights.

So many of us are privileged, because of where we are born, our level of education, our physical appearance, our family situation… there are lots of ways in which some of us can end up having an automatic advantage. Becoming more self-aware is very important; recognising the benefits that our privilege gives us is a vital first step. But that is just the beginning.

Check your privilege and do something about it.

Use your access to political power, media, or spaces where decisions are being made about LGBTI issues to invite voices who aren’t heard enough to the table. Seek out people who are directly affected and give them a platform to speak. Reach out to other groups to build alliances and friendships. Stop conversations that are offensive in the absence of the group that the words are targeting. Challenge intolerance (obviously while being smart about your own physical safety).

Speaking out against prejudice is just one of the ways we can stand up for someone’s human rights today. That is the core of our campaign - we need to hear your voice and your suggestions so that we can turn on the lights and fully recognise everyone that makes up our wonderful rainbow movement.