LGBTQ youth activists from across Europe once again reaffirmed their aspirations and commitment to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth and students on the entire continent. During 22 – 28 September 2013, 34 young LGBTQ activists from 22 countries gathered at the European Youth Center Strasbourg (France) to take part in the Study Session “Equality in Action: Mobilising LGBTQ youth around the Council of Europe Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity”.
The study session focused on raising awareness about the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity with young LGBTQ activists and building their capacity to advocate for its implementation in their home countries. The main issues discussed within the study session were the Recommendation itself, regional realities where activists work on daily basis and how those realities are bridged with the document.
Participants also reviewed country and NGO reports on the mid-term implementation of the Recommendation throughout Europe, learned how to advocate for particular cause by means of direct lobbying or on-line campaigning, and developed either their personal or organisational plans for direct action for the next six months.
Benefitting from the fact that the study session was taking place in Strasbourg – one of the Europe’s political capitals – IGLYO and Transgender Europe (TGEU) organised a study visit to the Council of Europe for participants. During the visit, young LGBTQ activists had an opportunity to meet the recently established entity within the institution – the LGBT Issues Unit, as well as to hear the Ambassador of Norway to the Council of Europe, Her Excellency Astrid Helle, talk about Norway’s approach to advocating for LGBTQ equality on the international level.
While in Strasbourg, some of the “Equality in Action” participants were offered a chance to make their voices heard and opinions immortalised for the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Europe on-line platform. The young LGBTQ activists where featured in a 22-minte documentary “LGBTIQ Voices shOUT!” where they talked about the reasons for their activism in home countries and abroad.
The Study Session “Equality in Action: Mobilising LGBTQ youth around the Council of Europe Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity” was organised by IGLYO and Transgender Europe (TGEU) and supported by the European Youth Foundation.