This week, ILGA Europe is hosting an online gathering for LGBTQI activists from all around Europe and Central Asia. This year’s event will focus on how we can work collectively and support each other when facing anti-LGBTQI forces, the Covid-19 pandemic and many other socio-economic and environmental challenges.
RFSL’s International Program Manager Natia Gvianishvili will be participating in the conference. We will be hosting two events with partners from the Eastern European Coalition for LGBT+ Equality. . Natia Gvianishvili shares some thoughts ahead of the conference.
Tell us a little bit about the conference – what is planned and what will be the focal point?
The gathering this year will focus on the theme of Change and the Power of Us and will aim at discussing how we can relate to change and harness solidarity and collective power in times that are particularly difficult with various challenges magnified by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as continued mobilisation of the anti-gender movements. ILGA member organisations from Europe and Central Asia will participate in the gathering alongside representatives of international organisations and other relevant stakeholders.
What is RFSL’s role during this event?
RFSL is both a member of ILGA and an intermediary organisation that supports some of the other ILGA member organisations, in particular those from Eastern Europe. We attend the gatherings annually and, this year, RFSL will co-host and moderate a session on the Conflict Perspective and LGBT+ rights in the Eastern Partnership together with the colleagues from Eastern European Coalition for LGBT+ Equality. In addition, RFSL, on behalf of the Coalition, will participate in a session dedicated to the anti-gender mobilisation and present findings of joint research and recommendations.
What outcomes do you expect from the conference?
It has been important that ILGA-Europe has continued to provide a space to strategise, discuss, and feel solidarity with LGBTQI movements in Europe and Central Asia despite the pandemic. There will be many important conversations about intersectional perspectives, meaningful inclusion of sub-communities in our work, and strategising on the next steps. We hope to be able to contribute to these perspectives and also to learn more ourselves.
We also hope that relevant stakeholders will be interested in our sessions, this way we can raise awareness about the situation of LGBTQI people in the Eastern Partnership.
What do you, personally, look forward to most?
Personally, I look forward to hearing about some positive developments, getting inspired by the amazing work other activists are doing, and also feeling part of this cross-border solidarity that such events manage to provide.