July 24, 2017

Activist Academy 2017 brought the LGTBQI+ community together


Last week ( 17-21 July 2017), IGLYO held its first ever Activist Academy in Berlin, Germany, at which activists, workshop experts, mentors and partners showcased what being an activist in the LGTBQI+ community is all about.

The five-day intensive skills-based training programme was meant for young people in Europe who have a strong interest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex rights. It involved a menu of practical modules on topics such as public speaking, campaigning, creating trans inclusive organisations, video editing and community organising, all delivered by leading global LGBTQI+ organisations. Participants put their learning into action through a series of individual and group challenges.


Matt Beard (All Out) flew all the way to Berlin to do a workshop on online campaigning; ILGA-Europe’s Valeria Santostefano, Senior Programmes & Policy Officer, held a workshop at the Academy on Community Organising, and Toryn Glavin, the Steering Committee member for Transgender Europe, gave a workshop on trans inclusive organisations. “It was an intense 3 hours but the passion was real and it’s always incredible to see activists dedicated to real change!” said Toryn on social media.

Dominic Joyce, a filmmaker and editor at the Dominic Joyce Film, taught the participants the ABC of the film. The workshop was followed by putting the theory into the practice – all the participants had to create a movie in groups on different topics, such as explaining non-binary identities to children under 12, or raising awareness on the harm caused by unnecessary surgeries performed on intersex children.

The Board Member of the IDAHO committee and the workshop expert of the Activist Academy, Joel Bedos, discussed together how we can keep exploring our collective work to show our successes, reflect on our challenges, explore beyond our limits, meet new friends, explore solutions and answers to our challenges and learn creative ways to reach out to the world. Maria Sanchez, from United Nations Volunteers, guided the participants through a workshop on how to write and deliver effective public speeches.

All the work and fun was done in groups lead by group mentors. IGLYO thanks Marcin John, Asier Carrasco Gonzalez, Sarah Rowlinson, Matea Popov and Anđela Čeh, for the inspiring role taken.

The Activist Academy host organisation, Jugendnetzwerk Lambda, treated all the participants with two fun evening at their offices. Cooked food was accompanied by interactive games and people making connections. It was a great evening full of joy and activism. We thank our dear friends from Jugendnetzwerk Lambda for all the work done!

The five-day event culminated with the Berlin Pride, happening on Saturday, 22 July. Though the event wasn’t an official part of the Activist Academy, participants marched the Pride, despite the thunder and rain.


It was a relevant ending to the event, marking down the teamwork, courage, friendship, hope, equality and safe space experienced and gained at the Activist Academy 2017.

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