ILGA organization was created in 1978 – but was established as a separate region and an independent legal entity in 1996. The role of the members is to enable the movement and be the connector. They unite activists with allies – and put institutional actors in touch with the issues they care about and the movement as a whole. With that in mind, they build strategic partnerships with LGBTI allies in society, like the private sector; but overall, they also nurture greater alliances between LGBTI and other equality and social justice movements. Throughout their work, they focus on shaping narratives that welcome nuance over polarization.
They speak to the realities of LGBTI people’s lives and activism and highlight forces for change – both negative and positive. In order to do that with credibility, they ensure they have an overview of what’s happening; in other words, an understanding of the positive and negative issues that affect LGBTI people. Moreover, ILGA-Europe mobilizes and moves resources, skills and knowledge across our network. They stay on top of what LGBTI activists and organizations in Europe and Central Asia need and prioritize – and use that knowledge to set standards for LGBTI equality and human rights at regional and international levels.
Ultimately, ILGA-Europe is here to amplify the voices and issues that are too often sidelined in our societies.
At ILGA-Europe, they uphold specific values that guide how they work and what they stand for. They:
- Focus on equality, inclusivity, and accountability. They hold themselves accountable to the movement.
- Are membership and movement based.
- Focus on people’s needs as their starting point.
- Believe in people’s power to create change.
- Believe in centering the voices of those most affected and amplifying the voices of those who are marginalized.
- Are engaged in the practice of building collective strength. Rather than placing themselves at the center of things, they spread their resources and
- knowledge as widely as possible.
- Act so that the movement as a whole can grow stronger – not just ILGA-Europe.
Annual Conference, Prague 2019
CURRENT PROGRAMS AND FOCUS CENTER
The key strength of ILGA-Europe’s programmatic work is that their activities follow a strategic plan that is formulated through a participatory process with their membership and constantly adapted to the changing needs within the movement.
While their staff team hold expertise on a variety of topics that are relevant to the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia, they also tap into cross-country knowledge, experience and skills to help sustain the movement with their programmes. This underlines one of the foundations of ILGA-Europe’s work – peer learning, which allows activists to learn from each other.
Here are the current capacity building programmes they offer:
STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS. Their goal is to support a more effective strategic communications culture within the region and invite more collective thinking around shaping public narratives.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC JUSTICE. They support work of the LGBTI movement towards socio-economic justice for LGBTI communities, by which they mean the removal of obstacles and oppressions which disproportionately worsen the social and economic conditions of already marginalized populations.
COMMUNITY ORGANISING. They provide on and offline platforms to facilitate experience exchange among LGBTI activists on diverse practices of LGBTI community organizing across Europe and Central Asia.
DOCUMENTATION AND ADVOCACY. They provide organizations with funding and learning opportunities to start or continue their documentation work of human rights violations on a national level and to strengthen LGBTI advocacy capabilities.
ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND DESIGN. They are here to support LGBTI activists in creating and developing organizations, groups, collectives and networks that make sense for their purpose and context.
SECURITY AND WELLBEING. They support organizations in a holistic manner, encompassing security, wellbeing and emergency advocacy, to contribute to the resilience of teams in times of distress.
DIGNITY FOR ALL. Through Dignity For All, they can provide emergency funds, advocacy support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and civil society organizations under threat or attack.
RESPONDING TO ANTI-LGBTI FORCES. This programme aims at strengthening the capacities of LGBTI organizations to achieve change in the context of anti-gender and anti-LGBTI rhetoric, and state-led anti-LGBTI attacks.
COUNTRY SPECIFIC SUPPORT. More and more of their work to support the movement takes them to countries where LGBTI activists carry out their activism in increasingly difficult contexts.
HOW THEY SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT
First and foremost, ILGA-Europe focuses on empowering and training activists who work to advance LGBTI people’s rights in Europe. A strong movement that can adapt and respond effectively to changing environments is key to making the change we seek a reality.
By ‘change’, we mean both European-level and domestic change. European human rights standards can help drive change within countries — but they also need strong domestic organizations to push for change across the continent.
WHY IS THIS MOVEMENT SO IMPORTANT?
Without an invigorated LGBTI movement, change simply would not happen. That’s why ILGA-Europe mainly focuses on empowering LGBTI activists and other people in Europe — no matter what approaches they embrace.
You might be wondering: how can they possibly empower a movement that’s spread across hundreds of thousands of kilometers? To start, they can help their members increase their legal knowledge, hone their strategic planning skills or organize educational opportunities. After all, anything they can do to assist their members contributes to their own advocacy goals.
The European LGBTI movement needs people championing equality at every level — from organizations working on legislative bills in capital cities to local organisations supporting religious communities. Across all levels, advocates for equality need to be able to carry out their work in environments that are often complex or quickly changing. Ensuring that LGBTI activism is powered by the right set of skills to cope with this dynamic is crucial.
Equally important is ensuring that the movement is adequately-resourced. In other words: effectively implementing human rights-based approaches costs money — but so does providing services to the community.
Why should you donate to ILGA-Europe?
Although much progress has been made around LGBTI rights and equality, the work isn’t done. There’s much more to do before LGBTI people can enjoy full equality and freedom. That’s where you come in. With the help of the donors, ILGA-Europe can continue to do more for and with the LGBTI movement. Every contribution is truly appreciated.
Your gift goes towards advocating for LGBTI equality and supporting frontline activists in the most crucial contexts. It helps them impact real lives and better respond to true needs.
Donating is a powerful way to show solidarity and fight discrimination, oppression, LGBTI persecution and well-funded anti-LGBTI forces.
Support ILGA-Europe with your Donation