For the second day of IGLYO Annual Members Conference, all IGLYO members were under the spotlights! The day was fully dedicated to IGLYO member organisations, from capacity building workshops happening throughout the day to consultations on the most pressing needs in the current LGBTQ agenda of IGLYO’s members.
The day started with an introduction to IGLYO’s first Annual Members’s Conference, where IGLYO board and secretariat were presented to participants. In this context, IGLYO’s new identity video was presented as well.
Consultations are carried out every year in order to shape IGLYO’s agenda for the following years based on IGLYO member organization’s activities of interest. This year, participants were asked to brainstorm on two main issues that they would like to see changed as far as LGBTQ youth is concerned. Many themes were raised up: from inclusion to diversity, from health to mental health, from gender to education, from bullying to LGBTQ leadership and many others. Participants then grouped together to find an answer to the best strategies for IGLYO to implement actions in the above-mentioned fields.
Presentation of “Be the Change” Conference
IGLYO strongly encourages member organisations to share projects and initiatives that could be interesting for other members. Today, Margot, delegate of IGLYO member organisation MAG Jeunes Gais Lesbiennes Bi et Trans introduced a presentation of the “Be the Change” Conference. The conference will take place between 6-11 June 2016, at the European Youth Centre, in Strasbourg. The event will focus on three different but intertwined themes: transnational cooperation, non-discrimination in the education sector, and concrete action. Main idea behind the conference is to share good practices in education domains, develop strategies in skills-planning… The whole project will enable participants to the conference to make sustainable action plans operating for their country thanks to the contribute of other countries. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to get in direct contact with decision makers. The conference is organized by MAG Jeunes in partnership with IGLYO and many other IGLYO’s member organisations and LGBTQI organisations.
Including Intersex in LGBTQ Activism, Workshop
The workshop was organized by Santiago D’Almeida Ferreira, President of Ação Pela Identidade, a non-governmental organization based in Portugal, which aims to defend, document and advocate for the rights of trans people and intersex. Participants were invited to engage in a Q & A time about intersex issues. Among one of the most asked questions was the one: is being intersex an identity? An interesting debate spread around the venue and fostered many reflections. Furthermore, it was discussed how at this stage, inclusion of intersex people should start in LGBTQ organisations. Santiago proposed the following suggestions, to be happening precisely according three progressive steps:
- Start off: look up for intersex organisations in your country, don’t rush to add the I, know first what’s happening in your country
- Make it: Look up for international NGOs, quote OII Europe’s Riga Statement, quote the 3rd International Intersex forum in Malta
- Go further: Create space, help the activists and NGOs already in motion
Ruth Baldacchino, Chair of this year Annual Members’ Conference, reported the work being done by the Astraea Fundation on funding intersex organisations and ILGA’s work on intersex rights. Ruth explained how at ILGA-Europe the first works on intersex issues started a couple of years ago and the first space for intersex people was created during the International Intersex Forum was organized for the first time in Brussels in 2011.
The workshop concluded with the partial screening of an Austrian documentary illustrating the daily challenges (and unfortunately the daily many secrets) of Alex, an intersex activist.
Activist Self Care
The workshop was facilitated by IGLYO Capacity Building Officer Tudor Kovacs and Teodora Zabava, Romanian activist and psychologist. Central theme of the workshop was the care of oneself and the fundamental need to control and know better how the mechanisms of stress work. The workshop was inspired by the danger of burn out that many activists might experience during their work due to too many pressures and responsibilities on them. A distinction was made between positive and negative stress and it was highlighted how stress takes shape according to different stages. It is important to notice how long term stress is linked to burn out and how this is linked not only by external conditions, but also by the behavior that a person might have. Sometimes, stress is caused not only by external factors, but it is caused by the way we tend to perceive these factors. Self-care then becomes essential to overcome burn out.
Main characteristics of burn out include: special enthusiasm and individual zest for work, increased expectations towards oneself, overlook one’s own limits and defer one’s own needs. Burn out might go also hand in hand with “helpersyndrome”. This last one comes out when social aid is done at the costs of the own development and this finally becomes a rigid life-form. Not helping others necessarily means that nothing else in one’s life then is good enough.
Self -Organised Spaces
In the evening, self-organised spaces were organized in order to give participants the opportunity to follow and get more knowledge on some topics they were interested at. For instance, these included LGBTQI Sex Workers Rights, Art for Change (artistic workshop on gender diversity), a discussion group for those interested to attend the “Be the Change” Conference and the workshop Languages and Access to Resources. Finally, IGLYO organized a Focus Group on Social Media in order to get more insights on which information, social media contents and resources are of more interest for member organisations.