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Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
This is NELFA's newsletter number six! Here you will find - as usual - information about the recent activities of our European Network and important news about LGBTIQ* parents, their children, allies and supporters. Enjoy reading!
BRUSSELS, 4 September 2017: Marriage equality in Germany, in Malta, in the Faroer Islands - what a wonderful summer! Serbia has a lesbian Prime Minister (Ana Brnabić), Ireland a gay Prime Minister (Leo Varadkar), the Scottish Episcopal Church allows same-sex weddings, there's a new Rainbow Family Centre in Vienna, court rulings in France and the Czech Republic have backed gay parents... this all sounds good. But, unfortunately, we have also experienced some setbacks. The High Court in Northern Ireland ruled against recognising same-sex marriage. Little progress on this issue also in Lithuania. Not to forget the violent attacks against Pride attendees in Russia and Turkey and the ongoing persecution of LGBTIQ* people in Chechnya. This demonstrates how vulnerable we are - in spite of the latest achievements. There are still too many "Trumputins" all around... This is why we need to go ahead. And we will!

NELFA has a new Executive Board. It was elected at a strategic meeting in Barcelona on 17th of June 2017. Our next Executive Board consists of Dominique Boren (President, APGL, France), Giuseppina La Delfa (Vice-President, Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy), Giovanni Fantoni (Treasurer, Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy) and Björn Sieverding (Secretary, LSVD, Germany). The whole NELFA Board has currently ten members and will work until the elections at the next Annual General Meeting, planned to be held in Lisbon in spring 2018. The other NELFA Board members are Caroline Ausserer (TransInterQueer e.V., Germany), Jordi Antón (FLG, Spain), Juha-Pekka Hippi (Sateenkaariperheet, Finland), Esteban Jiménez (Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy), Eleni Maravelia (FLG, Spain) and Jesús Santos Homobono (Galehi, Spain). Read NELFA's full corresponding press release here. (Photo: Björn Sieverding)

NELFA is now supporting member of COFACE Families Europe. This is - for sure - a big step for us! COFACE Families Europe is a pluralistic network of civil society associations (59 organisations in 23 EU Member States) representing the interests of ALL families. Its mission is to contribute to better policy making at EU level to make a positive change in the lives of the millions of families in Europe. NELFA has now the chance to raise its voice especially for LGBTIQ* parents and their children, to point out their special challenges and needs. In the near future, NELFA and COFACE would like to work together on two major topics: diversity and freedom of movement. Read NELFA's press release. (Photos: Björn Sieverding [with NELFA President Dominique Boren, on the left, after a meeting with COFACE in Brussels] and COFACE).

NELFA has the opportunity to implement another Erasmus+ project! The national agency in Brussels confirmed the grant for the next EU programme period 2017/2018. The project is entitled "Chances and challenges for rainbow families" and aims at strengthening NELFA especially towards its educational activities. All in all, we will get up to 32.155 EUR to fulfil 22 so-called "mobilities". That means: NELFA staff members and active volunteers will take part in professional adult education training courses of "In Dialogue" (a well-known consultancy corporation in Gouda/The Netherlands) and they will visit other LGBTIQ* organisations. The project lasts until the end of June 2018. NELFA recently finished its Erasmus+ project "Adequate and equal legal protection for rainbow families". Read more here. Want to get involved? Just write to
 COPENHAGEN, 29 May - 2 June 2017: Seven NELFA volunteers - from Greece, Germany (2), Italy (2), Russia and Switzerland - took part in another training event of our partner organisation "In Dialogue". The course in the capital city of Denmark was entitled "Conflict management". The participants got i.e. a chance to practice inquiring into the good reasons of the parties and appreciating their perspective. The course was the third of NELFA's Erasmus+ project "Adequate and equal legal protection for rainbow families" [see above: NELFA Highlights]. (Photos: Lisa Green, Logo: aef-europe) 
BRUSSELS, 2 June 2017: NELFA joined the action day of Amnesty International against the human rights condition in the country ("No more fear in #Chechnya"). We came together with at least 50 other activists (RainbowHouse, ILGA-Europe, Cavaria etc.) in front of the Russian embassy, dressed up as prisoners. In Chechnya, over 100 men assumed to be gay or bisexual have been rounded up, detained and tortured by authorities in "concentration camps", at least three people died. Read a current report of our full member organisation, the Russian LGBT Network. (Photo: Björn Sieverding)

LONDON, 21-23 June 2017: NELFA Board member Caroline Ausserer and IFED Coordinator and former NELFA President Maria von Känel participated in an Erasmus+ job-shadowing programme at Stonewall/UK. The organisation is renowned for its successful campaigning and lobbying. It was a get-together with other professional LGBTIQ* activists to learn more about the work and to exchange best practices. Caroline Ausserer wrote also a piece for the Stonewall Blog, about the German marriage equality vote in June, read it here. (Photo: Caroline Ausserer)

PARIS, 24 June 2017: Shortly before Pride, NELFA President Dominique Boren and other French LGBTIQ* activists met with Sophie in't Veld, a Dutch politician (D66) and Member of the European Parliament (ALDE). The main topic was the implementation of equal rights. In't Veld is also Vice-President of the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT rights. NELFA would like to strengthen the cooperation. (Photo: D66 Europa).

MADRID, 26-28 JUNE 2017: NELFA was represented at the International Human Rights Conference "Madrid Summit". It was structured to explore and contemplate all areas of society and day-to-day life in which LGBTIQ* people experience discrimination and unequal treatment. All topics were approached from a transversal perspective, considering the many dimensions and facets of the community (gender equality, transsexuality, family diversity etc.). Read more about the Summit and the declaration. (Photo: Jesús Santos Homobono, here with IFED Coordinator Maria von Känel)

BRUSSELS, 28 June 2017: NELFA Board member Björn Sieverding took part in ILGA-Europe's (fundraising) "Equality Gala" - with speeches by EU Commissioner of Trade, Cecilia Malmström ("Let's celebrate diversity!"), queer Muslim activist and opinion maker Dino Suhonic, ILGA-Europe's Executive Director Evelyne Paradis and intersex advocate and model Hanne Gaby Odiele. It was a great possibility to increase our network! Read more about the Gala here. (Photos: Björn Sieverding and ILGA-Europe)

BERLIN, 30 June 2017: NELFA is very delighted by the result of the recent "decision of conscience" in the German Bundestag. 393 members of parliament (out of 623) voted in favour of a law that establishes marriage equality with the right of joint adoption (but no automatic co-parent recognition). So far, same-sex couples in Germany had only the possibility to enter into a registered partnership (since 2001). It is the outcome of a long-running struggle of LGBTIQ* activists: The demand for a so-called "Ehe für Alle" began 29 years ago. Read NELFA's full press release and a comment by our Board member Caroline Ausserer. (Photo: Fabrizio Bensch, Reuters)

VALETTA, 12 July 2017: NELFA welcomes wholeheartedly the recent decision of the Maltese Parliament. Its members voted to legalise same-sex marriage, joining much of Western Europe by replacing the traditional "you are now husband and wife" declaration in civil ceremonies with "you are now spouses". Only one lawmaker out of 67 was against the legislation. The Labour government had promised to introduce the bill after winning a second term in June. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, "Maltese society has reached an unprecedented level of maturity". Malta is now the 15th European country with marriage equality. Read a recent article (Photo: Times of Malta)

BRUSSELS, 15 July 2017: NELFA is pleased with the first official global video of the International Family Equality Day (#IFED2017): "Love makes a family" [Cesare Macri]. This project was made possible by contributions of many activists worldwide and with financial support of the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE) for NELFA. The next IFED ("Children's Rights Matter") will be celebrated on 6 May 2018. Read more.
BRUSSELS, 15 June 2017: Ten movement leaders and experts charted the use of family in recent years of progressive activism. The result of a survey, a conference and consultations with key organisations (NELFA was also involved) is a new guide for activists and funders under the motto: "Using family as a frame in social justice activism".
LEXINGTON, 16 August 2017: A new study of Rachel H. Farr (psychologist) found that there are "no significant" differences in adoptive families with heterosexual or LGBTIQ* parents. The university writes, "Informative to ongoing debates about same-sex parenting, our findings indicate that among children reared by lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents, gender-typing appears to be similar". Read more here. (Photo: University of Kentucky)
This summer, many NELFA Board members joined Pride events and celebrated with their families, friends and allies. Find below pictures of proud people in Genova, Helsinki, Montréal and Madrid (Photos: Giovanni Fantoni, Juha-Pekka Hippi, Giuseppina La Delfa and Jesús Santos Homobono - Facebook)
Copyright © 2017 Nelfa aisbl 845937097 - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations. All Rights Reserved. NELFA currently represents 24 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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NELFA - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations · Rue du Marché au Charbon 42 · Brussels 1000 · Belgium

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