IGLYO Memories 2016

2016 was a year of visibility and recognition for IGLYO. The work we carried has managed to contribute significantly to the way in which LGBTQI youth and student voices are heard in important platforms all over the world.

We explored new areas of work, such as working on intersex youth rights and working more regionally with our members. We have also continued to further our long term commitment and dedication to improving education and working intersectionality.

As part of the study session on intersex rights for children and young people, a working group was set up to develop an organisational position paper on intersex. The initial ideas were gathered from a group of 15 participants, including three intersex young people and the Secretary from OII Europe’s Board. Following the event, a small working group composed of a representative from OII Europe, an IGLYO board member, and IGLYO’s Execute Coordinator to further develop and refine the document. This was presented for a final review during a workshop at the Annual Members’ Conference, to provide members the opportunity to contribute and comment on the document. On the final day of the conference, the complete document was voted on and approved by the membership.

I Have Rights –  this historic study session, the first ever Council of Europe Youth Centre event to explore the topic of intersex, and developed by IGLYO, with close support from the International Intersex Organisation Europe (OII Europe) brought together nine intersex youth activists and twenty LGBTQ allies to learn about intersex identities and experiences, the history and meteoric rise of the intersex rights movement, and how to use children’s and human rights instruments to highlight and challenge the severe and often traumatic violations faced by many intersex people throughout their childhood and adolescence.  During the event six intersex young people were interviewed on camera to create We Are Here – A Message for Intersex Youth. In addition to the film, participants contributed to the creation of a guide for parents of intersex children and IGLYO’s position paper on intersex.

We have also hosted a roundtable on the topic of the ethnic diversity, just before the plenary opening of the IDAHOT Forum on May 8-9, with 6 LGBTQI youth leaders of diverse ethnic identities and an expert nominated by the European Network Against Racism. Together they worked to identify gaps and needs in terms of ethnic diversity within our membership and within the broader LGBTQI community. The participants to the roundtable were invited by the Danish Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality to provide a representation of young LGBTQI perspectives in the IDAHOT Ministerial Forum in Copenhagen, on 11 May 2016.

As part of our  work to better support our members, we organised our first ever Regional Consultation, which focused on the Southern Caucuses. Member Organisations that participated in the consultations were as follows – Gender & Development Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan), Identoba (Georgia), LGBT Georgia (Georgia), WISG: Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (Georgia), We for Civil Equality (Armenia), KAOS GL (Turkey), Pink Life (Turkey), SPoD (Turkey), Maximum (Russia) and Laverna (Russia).

In partnership with member organisation COC Netherlands and with funding from European Youth Foundation, we organised and delivered a five-day conference on exploring strategies to increase ethnic diversity within the LGBTQI movement. A total number of 26 participants attended the event and took part in a series of theoretical discussions and action planning sessions to explore and address the issues. The participants to the conference got together to shoot a photo campaign with the title: “Leave No-one Behind” which was published on IGLYO’s social media channels.

Annual Members’ Conference 2016 was held in Malta in partnership with our member organisations We Are and Gender Liberation, with additional support from MGRM. It was our largest members conference so far, with 65 delegates from the network attending. Over the three days, delegates took part in a range of capacity building workshops including media training and advocating for inclusive education. The new board for 2016 was elected – Dani Prisacariu (Romania), George-Kyveli Papadimitriou (Greece), Ugla Stefania Jonsdottir (Iceland), Joshua McCormick (Scotland), Nitin Sood (Finland), Jensen Byrne (Ireland), Ksenija Joksimovic (Serbia) and Elin Lilijenbladh (Sweden) 

Also, as a part of the Annual Members’ Conference, two sessions were held with the full delegation to consult the membership on improving collaboration across the network and identifying IGLYO’s main strengths to provide a starting point for IGLYO’s next strategic planning process, which will continue throughout 2017 and culminate with the new organisational Strategic Plan. IGLYO Membership in 2016 consisted of 93 member organisations.

We have also organised a series of online webinars – Motivation and behaviour change, How to design good educational sessions and the webinar on HIV and sexual health within the LGBTQI community.

Four Project Coordination Meetings were organised to coordinate the work of the board and secretariat in planning of conferences, events, and more. Meetings were held in Vienna, Austria (January), Vilnius, Lithuania (April),  Helsinki, Finland (July) and Brighton, United Kingdom (November).

The IGLYO Secretariat in 2016 was made up of Euan Platt (Scotland), Tudor Kovacs (Romania), Karoline Börner (Germany) and Rubén Avila (Spain).

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