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NELFA NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 2017
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NELFA
Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
 
NEWSLETTER No. 7 - DECEMBER 2017
Find below NELFA's current newsletter, number seven! You will find information about the recent activities of our European Network and important news about LGBTIQ* parents, their children, allies and supporters. Enjoy reading!
INTRODUCTION
BRUSSELS, 2 December 2017: Yes! Australia has voted for marriage equality, the new legislation could be proclaimed before Christmas. What an amazing present for the LGBTIQ* community down under! However, it was an exhausting and controversial year at the other end of the world. Despite the celebrations, the campaign has left deep scars on many people. Open hatred and false accusations came to light - also against rainbow families. The battle against ignorance, prejudices and bad faith is ongoing, not only in Australia - in Europe as well. We need to stand up for fundamental human rights (i.e. in Chechnya, Azerbaijan or Turkey), we should denounce current grievances (i.e. the new discriminatory family law in Lithuania) or unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles wherever they may appear (i.e. the non-recognition of UK marriage certificates in France). NELFA does and will do its best in the future to improve the situation of (rainbow) families in Europe and beyond. For sure, it is an uphill struggle - but the only way to make some (hopefully) sustainable presents to ourselves! Please, join in!
NELFA HIGHLIGHTS

NELFA took part in the great Annual Conference of ILGA-Europe in Warsaw (1-4 November 2017, with more than 570 attendees). Our delegates were very busy in raising awareness of rainbow families issues and tried to get in touch with as many other activists as possible. NELFA's aim is to strengthen its connections with other groups and organisations, especially in Eastern Europe. In Warsaw, NELFA held a successful workshop on Freedom of Movement within the EU (read more in the rubric "NELFA Activities") and contributed at a discussion about surrogacy. The first picture above shows a nice encounter of NELFA allies from Poland (Grupa Stonewall Poznan), Denmark (LGBT Denmark), France (apgl), Italy (Famiglie Arcobaleno), Finland (Sateenkaariperheet) and Germany (LSVD). (Photos: Björn Sieverding, ILGA-Europe).

NELFA's next Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place in Lisbon (16-18 March 2018), hosted by our full member organisation ILGA Portugal. We will start with a Rainbow Families Conference on Friday, 16th of March. The preparations are currently ongoing. One major plan is to join forces with other family associations and to discuss common goals and strategies for the future. In Warsaw, NELFA got together with ILGA Portugal's direction and members of ENP, the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons (see the picture above) to explore ways for a cooperation. ENP's national member in Portugal, AMPLOS, is also invited to contribute to the Conference. The AGM itself (incl. elections) will be on the 17th of March 2018. (Photo: Björn Sieverding).

NELFA welcomes Transgender Europe (TGEU) as a new full member! The Board decided in October on their application. NELFA is already member of TGEU, a charitable, registered organisation under German law with currently 105 own members. The common goal is, for example, to raise awareness on trans issues in the context of rainbow families, to work on registration of trans parents in their children's birth certificates and to cooperate in strategic litigation. Recently, NELFA commemorated the "Trans Day of Remembrance" (TDoR, 20 November) and shared a comprehensive newsletter. TDoR remembers and honours the lives of trans and gender-diverse people reportedly murdered. During the past 12 months the Trans Murder Monitoring Project of TGEU reported 325 killings of trans and gender-diverse people globally. Between 2008 and 2014, 1,612 reported killings of gender-variant/trans people in 62 countries have been documented, including 90 in 13 European countries. (Photo: Transgender Europe)
NELFA ACTIVITIES
 
 PARIS, 15 September 2017: A broad alliance of (LGBTIQ*) organisations in France published a common appeal concerning the access to medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples and single women. In February, the Macron campaign had already announced a new corresponding law and the French consultative ethics committee (CCNE) also gave the go-ahead in June (read here a statement of NELFA's full member apgl), but the question is when this will happen. In 2019? The joint forum demands: NOW! NELFA also signed the document under the motto: "La PMA Pour Toutes".
 
 BRUSSELS, 15-17 September 2017: Two NELFA Board members (Caroline Ausserer, TransInterQueer e.V. [Germany] and Giovanni Fantoni, Famiglie Arcobaleno [Italy]) attended a three-day training of ILGA-Europe, entitled "Communicating and framing for social change". Background: The stories we tell shape what people think about LGBTIQ* people and issues, the way we "frame" our work and our messages will significantly affect our impact. New tools and creative activities for NELFA - to strengthen rainbow families in Europe and beyond. (Photos: Giovanni Fantoni).

MADRID, 15-17 September 2017: NELFA Board member Jesús Santos accompanied his 15-year-old adopted son Gabriel to a cosy rainbow families meeting (#JornadasFamilias17) with almost 150 participants. The event was organised by FELGTB and NELFA's founding member Galehi. Jesús and his son provided insights into their rainbow family life. Gabriel summarised that he always had experienced "security and empowerment". When he once took part in a school exchange and lived in a family with heterosexual parents, he recognised only one difference: that there were panties on the washing line... See the video. (Photos: Julián Guerra, FELGTB)
 
BRUSSELS, 23-24 September 2017: NELFA was present at the "Brussels conference on Parenting options for European gay men", organised by the US-NGO "Men Having Babies". Vice-President  Giuseppina La Delfa held a guest speech on ART, including surrogacy. Other NELFA members were also present: "Homoparentalités" and the "Russian LGBT Network". You can read the full guest speech and a NELFA press release which was published before the conference. (Photos: Giuseppina La Delfa)

BRUSSELS, 1 October 2017: NELFA Board member Björn Sieverding ran the Brussels Half Marathon for LGBTIQ* and rainbow families rights. Therefore, he joined #TeamILGAEurope - to help to fulfil a vision of a world where dignity, freedoms and full enjoyment of human rights are protected and ensured to everyone regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Björn's result: 01:46:17 (place 1,628 out of 5,763 runners). ILGA's team has raised around 300 € of donations. (Photos: Björn Sieverding)

PARIS, 3 October 2017: Unfortunately, the reactionary and LGBTIQ*-phobic initiative "CitizenGo" and their allies attack rainbow families all over Europe since years. In 2017, their so-called "hate-buses" drove through many cities (see above a picture from Cologne), luckily not very successfully. NELFA says STOP! Our families don't deserve such a shabby treatment! When the "hate-bus" arrived in Paris, NELFA-President Dominique Boren signed a common statement of French associations to reject this kind of anti-LGBTIQ* propaganda. Read more here. (Photo: queer.de)

BRUSSELS, 23 October 2017: All families struggle to cope with their multiple responsibilities and thus helping them reconcile their work, family, care and private lives is fundamental. Therefore, NELFA joined the #IwantWorkLifeBalance campaign of COFACE Families Europe. It was launched to shore up citizen support for the EU Work Life Balance Directive as a first channel to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights (recently proclaimed) and to achieve more gender equality. (Graphics: COFACE)

WARSAW, 3 November 2017: NELFA held a successful workshop at ILGA-Europe's Annual Conference. The topic was the current status of "freedom of movement" for rainbow families within the European Union. Around 30 participants listened to the presentation, including video messages of Magdi Birtha (Policy and Advocacy Officer of COFACE Families Europe), MEP Sophie in't Veld (Intergroup on LGBTI Rights) and a speech of lawyer Alexander Schuster (Trento, Italy). Read COFACE's full statement and the whole NELFA (PowerPoint) presentation. (Photos: Juha-Pekka Hippi)
NELFA NEWS

KARLSRUHE, 26 September 2017: NELFA criticizes the recent decision of the Federal Court of Justice in Germany (BGH). Therefore, a trans* man who gave birth to a child remains a mother in the legal sense - even if he is already legally recognised as man. The BGH states that motherhood and fatherhood were not "arbitrarily exchangeable". The parentage of children should be traced to their biological procreation. The obligation for trans* people to undergo sterilisation for legal gender recognition was forbidden in Germany by the Constitutional Court in 2011, thus there are more and more trans men and women having their own children. NELFA calls for a reform of the so-called "Transsexuellengesetz" (1981). Read the full press release here.

BERLIN, 12 October 2017: International Family Equality Day 2017 - The report is out! NELFA supports IFED since its founding. Our network had received a grant from OSIFE (Open Society Initiative for Europe) for IFED 2017. We are extremely grateful! Many thank also to our former President Maria von Känel for the coordination of this wonderful Awareness Day. Read more about this year's IFED and (i.a.) the Editorial of NELFA Board member Caroline Ausserer (TransInterQueer e.V.). The next International Family Equality Day will be celebrated on 6 May 2018 under the motto "Children's Rights Matter". You find all information on the new website. To get involved, please subsribe for the newsletter here (recommended also for NELFA members!). (Graphics: IFED)
 

LONDON, 23 October 2017: NELFA deprecates the behaviour of the authorities in France who don't recognise UK same-sex marriages which were converted from civil partnerships (2014). At that time, the certificates were backdated to the original date of the civil unions without a ceremony. But this is obviously incompatible with French law and rainbow families concerned are left behind in a legal limbo. NELFA presses for a true-to-life approach with these cases. Leandro Barreto and his husband Francois, for example, considered some time ago to move from London to France. The solution suggested by French government officials was to get divorced and to remarry in France. But even this "advice" didn't help, as the UK requires actual grounds for divorce and to live apart for several years. Read NELFA's press release. (Photo: Leandro Barreto).
NELFA INPUT
BRUSSELS, 9 October 2017: A new study found that LGBTIQ* people still experience inequality and discrimination in the healthcare sector. Researches, experts, and activists in LGBTIQ* health conducted a state-of-the-art review study and 12 focus groups in six Member States in the context of the EU funded pilot project Health4LGBTI. Read more about the findings here.
STRASBOURG, 12 October 2017: The Council of Europe (CoE) has adopted a resolution on the human rights of intersex people (the first one of its kind). It was based on a detailed report by rapporteur Piet de Bruyn. Read the press release here. (Fittingly, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ruled that there must be a third gender option for birth registration). Read more here. (Photo: CoE)
MELBOURNE, 23 October 2017: The Medical Journal of Australia published a comprehensive study which dismantled a key argument of the anti-marriage campaign in Australia that children require both a mother and a father to succeed. The review found children raised in rainbow families did as well as their peers. Read more here. AND... find another (positive) US survey on the following website.
NEW YORK, 27 October 2017: Vitit Muntarbhorn, the first Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, who recently resigned for illness and family reasons, presented his 2nd report at the UN General Assembly. He stated that LGBTIQ* "people around the world are suffering horrific violations of their human rights and immediate action is needed to stop it." Read more.
WARSAW, 3 November 2017: NELFA's full member Sateenkaariperheet (seated in Helsinki) recently elaborated a first comprehensive survey concerning the well-being of Finnish children and adolescents (7-18 years old) who live with LGBTIQ* parents. The findings are (expectedly) positive. An abstract was presented by Sateenkaariperheet's Executive Director Juha Jämsä in Warsaw. Find the corresponding document on NELFA's website.
LOS ANGELES, 27 November 2017: International experts released an important supplement to the groundbreaking Yogyakarta Principles (drafted in 2006), a universal guide to human rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) which applies to all United Nations member states. Find the Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10 here.
IMAGE OF THE MONTH
A heartwarming farewell for Ulrike Lunacek at ILGA-Europe's office in Brussels, on 29 November 2017. NELFA thanked her personally for her dedication and great work for LGBTIQ* people (especially as co-chair of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights. Ulrike Lunacek's message was: "Let's cherish our achievements. But there is still a lot to do. It's time to fight!" (Photo: Björn Sieverding)
Copyright © 2017 Nelfa aisbl 845937097 - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations. All Rights Reserved. NELFA currently represents 25 organisations in 15 European countries with more than 20,000 members. Greetings to all LGBTIQ* families, relatives, friends, activists and supporters out there!

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