LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe Annual Conference starts in Zagreb

At a crossroad between legal progress and increasing social hostility: European LGBTI movement gathers for its largest annual conference in Zagreb.

On 24-26 October 2013, ILGA-Europe holds its 17th Annual Conference in Zagreb. Our Annual Conference is the largest event on LGBTI political agenda in Europe. 290 participants from 40 countries are attending the Conference.

The main theme Family matters! Reaching out to hearts and minds will be explored in a number of panels, over 30 workshops and self-organised spaces.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
“Since 1989 when Denmark became the first country in the world to legally recognise same-sex unions, Europe achieved tremendous progress towards legal recognition of LGBTI families. As of 2013, 35% of European population live in the countries where same-sex registered partnerships are legal and 27% in countries where marriage is open to all couples regardless of their gender and sexual orientation.

However, the social situation is still lagging behind. This year’s EU LGBT Survey showed that 66% of LGBT people avoid holding hands in public with a same-sex partner for fear of being assaulted, threatened or harassed. The figure goes up among gay (74%) and bisexual (78%) men.

Jointly, we will be exploring the reasons and causes of differences between the legal progress and social hostility and how we can improve the strategies for further legal advances as well as winning the hearts and minds of the public.“

ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference is also a unique opportunity for the European LGBTI movement to reflect on its achievements and identify challenges and threats. In order to have a more objective overall picture, our Conference is also attended by a number of European and national decision makers, politicians, human rights organisations and funders who provide valuable insight into the current state of affairs and ways forward.

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“In many ways our movement is currently finding itself at a crossroad. On one hand, more countries are advancing legal equality for LGBTI families and protection from discrimination, on the other hand, political backlash is more violent and harsher than ever in several other countries, with Russia leading this trend.

ILGA-Europe works in an environment which is increasingly more complex and which requires greater flexibility and the ability to adapt strategies and messages, to very diverse situations.

This conference is a great chance for our movement to address those new realities and to develop new or adapt existing strategies to secure continued progress and advance.”

This conference is organised in association with the Zagreb organising committee ILGA-Europe Conference 2013. The committee includes the Croatian LGBTI organisations Kontra, Iskorak and Rišpet.