LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Be honest – we need a reality check on racism.

Leave racism behind.

That’s a statement we can all support. 

We know that racism and ethnic discrimination exists, inside and outside the LGBTI communities. But the follow-up question can be a trickier one to answer:

Am I doing enough to make change happen?

Today, on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, ILGA-Europe are asking ourselves that very question. And the answer can be uncomfortable. If we are honest, many of us know that we carry unconscious bias and assumptions around with us every day. It’s unintentional, but it’s there. 

We can all think of incidents where we’ve witnessed racism or ethnic discrimination. Maybe you thought of the perfect response… after the meeting was over, or the day after you spotted that racist comment on your organisation’s Facebook wall. 

Direct discrimination sends a blatant, hurtful message. But those of us appalled by such actions also need to ask ourselves what message can be transmitted by the silence, in the pause, in the gap left in the conversation when we don’t speak out.

It’s time for a reality check.

LGBTI organisations need to make sure that their doors are open for everyone in the LGBTI communities, from all races, ethnic backgrounds, and identities. The journey to full LGBTI equality must be intersectional. ILGA-Europe know that we are in a privileged position, but that does not mean that we do not have a role to play in calling out intolerance, xenophobia and racism. 

To mark 21 March, ILGA-Europe are acknowledging that we are committed to engaging and tackling our own bias. Will you join us?