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NELFA NEWSLETTER MARCH 2018
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NELFA
Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
 
NEWSLETTER No. 8 - MARCH 2018
Find below NELFA's current newsletter, already number eight! 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 March 2018: Burning rainbow family books in Croatia, perfidious methods of Russian security forces against a gay couple married in Denmark, the silly "gender madness" attacks of populist politicians all over Europe. Unfortunately, these things are still possible in 2018. On the other hand, we see steady progress: marriage equality in Austria (probably from start of 2019) and, most recently, automatic co-parent recognition in Finland. At the same time, more and more LGBTIQ* parents come out and team up, their children raise their voices and explain how "normal" and "wonderful" a rainbow family life can be, backed by thousands of activists and (also straight) allies who are working on a reasonable handling with this topic and who are celebrating colourful diversity. And NELFA is right in the middle of it - purposeful and perseverant!
NELFA HIGHLIGHTS

NELFA is looking forward to the International Conference on 16th of March 2018 in Lisbon, entitled "We should speak out: LGBTI & Family rights". The full-day event is organised by ILGA Portugal. Partners are NELFA, the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons (ENP) and its national leg AMPLOS. One aim is to highlight the achievements during the last decade for families with LGBTIQ* members, especially in Portugal. However, we will also discuss remaining (legislative) inequities and the lacking acceptance of LGBTIQ* people in Europe and in particular missing rights for same-sex couples or LGBTIQ* parents and their children. See the full programme here. On 17th of March, NELFA will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM), including the election of a new (Executive) Board. The weekend will be concluded on Sunday morning (18th of March 2018) by a social programme in Lisbon. (Graphic Designer: ILGA Portugal).


NELFA goes East and welcomes wholeheartedly three new member organisations! Tęczowe Rodziny i Przyjaciele (TRiP) are Rainbow Families and Friends in Poznan, Poland. The group became supporting member with the beginning of the year. Shortly afterwards, Dugine obitelji (Rainbow Families Croatia) joined us and is now NELFA's 24th full member and the first one in the Balkans. We emphasised our pleasure with a common press release. Only some days later, the NELFA Board accepted another application from Albania. The Open Mind Spectrum (OMSA) wants to work on Rainbow Family issues in the future. (Graphics and Photos: Digine obitelji, TRiP, OMSA)

NELFA took part in the "Conference on private and family life for LGBTI people" in Copenhagen, on 2nd March 2018. It was co-organised by the Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Danish Parliament and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Board member Jesús Santos (Galehi, Spain) and his 15-year-old son Gabriel were invited to speak - you can see the full video here. Other guest speakers were Piet de Bruyn (General rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI people, Belgium), Ms Nicoletta Finter (Federal Ministry of Family, Children and Women, Germany) and Professor Robert Wintermute (King's College London, UK). The high-level event was very important to raise awareness of rainbow families in Europe, their daily life and their current struggles. (Photos: Jesús Santos, Council of Europe)
NELFA ACTIVITIES

BRUSSELS, 1 December, and GOUDA, 4-8 December 2017: NELFA presented its new adult education project "Chances and challenges for rainbow families" at a meeting with representatives of the national (Belgian) Erasmus+ agency "aef-europe" in Brussels (Rainbowhouse). The aim was to clarify the current status of the project and to exchange ideas for the implementation and evaluation. A few days later, the first training course of "In Dialogue" started in the Netherlands. "Conflict management" was the main topic, Gouda cheese tasting an important other one... (Photo: Yvor Broer)
 
 COPENHAGEN, 15-19 January 2018: Two NELFA volunteers (from ILGA Portugal and ILSE Germany) took part in another course of our Erasmus+ partner "In Dialogue". The training event in the cold but still pleasant capital of Denmark was entitled "Inspiring facilitation, teaching and training". The main goal is thereby to strengthen NELFA especially towards its educational activities and to learn new leadership, coaching and guidance skills. (Photos: Telmo Fernandes and Christoph Andreis)

BRUSSELS, 30 January 2018: NELFA met up with MEP Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA), new co-chair of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights. President Dominique Boren (via phone) and Secretary Björn Sieverding presented NELFA's current efforts to improve the situation for rainbow families within the EU and beyond (i.e. keyword "freedom of movement"). Terry Reintke would like to cooperate with our network whenever possible. She already confirmed to send a video message to our upcoming conference in Lisbon in March 2018 (see above) and she wants to take part in rainbow families (strategic) meetings in the future. (Photo: Björn Sieverding)
 
BRUSSELS, 4 February 2018: NELFA President Dominique Boren, Secretary Björn Sieverding and their families joined the General Assembly of our Belgian full member organisation "Homoparentalités" which recently turned ten years old. The jubilee was celebrated with a cosy rainbow families afternoon in the city centre of Brussels (around 30-40 participants). NELFA wants to strengthen the ties to "Homoparentalités" in the future. The next common project will be a joint stand at the OUT VILLAGE in Brussels (6 May 2018). It will be a perfect opportunity to celebrate the forthcoming International Family Equality Day, #IFED2018. (Photos: Adrienne Roman, Björn Sieverding)
 
COPENHAGEN, 5-9 February 2018: Five NELFA volunteers (from Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy and ILGA Portugal) attended another training event in the framework of our Erasmus+ project "Chances and challenges for rainbow families". The course of "In Dialogue" was entitled "Narrative coaching and guidance". In the meantime, NELFA applied for a third Erasmus+ project in 2018/2019, under the motto "Joining forces for the well-being of rainbow families" (with special focus on Eastern Europe and the Balkans). The confirmation/rejection is expected in May. (Photos: Simone Castagno).
 
BERLIN, 28-29 April 2018 and AEROE ISLAND, 19-25 August 2018: Two European Rainbow Families Meetings are expected within the next months. The first one will be a little get-together before an Erasmus+ course in Berlin. NELFA Board members with their children, other interested families and allies want to spend a cosy weekend - including a (planned) boat tour and a gathering in the Rainbow Families Centre of LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg. Are you interested? Then write to secretary@nelfa.org. The second meeting will be the Rainbow Family Festival on Denmark's Aeroe Island. Lorraine Hayles and her team prepare a colourful programme. More info soon!
NELFA NEWS

VIENNA, 5 December 2017: NELFA is delighted by the decision of the highest court in Austria to legalise same-sex marriages, with weddings set to begin in 2019 at the latest. The distinction between marriage and civil partnership could no longer be maintained without discriminating against same-sex couples. The Constitutional Court has stated that, 'the resulting discriminatory effect is seen in the fact that through the different title of the family status, people living in same-sex partnerships have to disclose their sexual orientation even in situations in which it is not, and must not be, relevant and are highly likely to be discriminated against'. The background is an appeal of a lesbian couple. Read NELFA's press release. (Photos: S. Morgenthaler, kurier.at)

STRASBOURG, 14 December 2017: NELFA welcomes the latest decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the Francesca Orlandi and Others v Italy lawsuit. It reaffirmed that Council of Europe member states have an obligation to safeguard the family life of same-sex couples. The case concerned a complaint by six couples that they had been unable to have their marriages, which they had contracted abroad, registered in any form as a union in Italy. They alleged, among other things, discrimination on the grounds of their sexuality. Read the full EHCR press release.

LUXEMBOURG, 11 January 2018: NELFA is delighted by the recent statement of the Advocate General (CJEU), wo is assigned to examine questions on the right to free movement of EU citizens raised by Adrian Coman (born in Romania) and his husband Clai Hamilton (US citizen). According to the Advocate General's opinion, same-sex spouses are included in the definition of 'spouse', for the purposes of freedom of residence of citizens of the EU and their family members. The final judgement in this case is expected in the upcoming weeks (spring 2018). Read a comprehensive report on the current status at ILGA-Europe's corresponding website. (Photo: ILGA-Europe)

STRASBOURG, 7 February 2018: NELFA is pleased with the adoption of a (non-binding) resolution of the European Parliament which contains strong wording on the free movement of LGBTIQ* families. The EP urges the Commission and Member States to correctly implement the Free Movement Directive (2004), 'consistently respecting, inter alia, the provisions related to family members and prohibiting on any grounds. However, in practice, same-sex spouses are often denied these rights. Also transgender persons' marriage certificates or ID documents are not necessarily recognised by other Member States, despite their vailidity and legality. Read the full statement of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBTI Rights here.

STRASBOURG, 8 February 2018: NELFA is disappointed about the result of the court case Marie Charron & Ewenne Merle-Montet v France. The EHCR (European Court of Human Rights) declared the lawsuit inadmissible (the applicants did not exhaust domestic remedies). It was a decision on medically assisted reproduction (MAR) for a lesbian couple in France. NELFA supported the trial with written comments and signed the common call "La PMA pour toutes". The National Consultative Ethics Committee recommended that MAR should be extended to single women and women in same-sex partnerships, a majority of the French public is in favour of providing equal access to medically assisted reproduction to all women. (Photo: Lauren Bates via Getty Images)

BUDAPEST, 9 February 2018: NELFA is keen on the recent ruling of a judge at Budapest District Court. He has decided that same-sex couples who have married abroad (outside Hungary) have the right to their union being recognised as a registered partnership. The judgement reaffirms the right to freedom of movement and family life of same-sex couples. The ruling established that foreign marriages should be recognised in Hungary as equivalent to registered partnerships, available in Hungary since 2009.

HELSINKI, 28 February 2018: NELFA is delighted by the recent legislative development in Finland. The Parliament approved a citizens' initiative to allow children in rainbow families to have two mothers from birth. The proposed change applies to same-sex partnerships where one of the women undergoes fertility treatment to become pregnant. So far, the woman not giving birth had to adopt the child in order to gain legal rights as a parent. Read NELFA's press release. (Photo: Ismo Pekkarinen, AOP)
NELFA INPUT
ZAGREB, January 2018: NELFA's new full member "Dugine obitelji" (Rainbow Families Croatia) published its first children's book and all 500 copies were quickly sold out. Now, the organisation has started a crowdfunding project to translate the book into other languages. You will find more information about the project here.
VIENNA, 18 January 2018 : The European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a new report, entitled "Challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU". It acknowledges that the issue of shrinking civil society space is widespread. The report gives a range of practical suggestions on how the Member States can better the situation.
GENEVA, 31 January 2018: The IFED Network published a new leaflet which advertises the upcoming International Family Equality Day, #IFED2018 (Sunday, 6th of May), under the motto "Children's Rights Matter". The best way to get involved (also for NELFA members) is to sign up for the Newsletter. You can find more information about the International Family Equality Day here.
Madrid, February 2018: NELFA's full member organisation Galehi wants to strengthen the ties to rainbow families abroad. Actually, our friends in Spain would like to find ten partner families from all over Europe for an exchange and common activities. You can find a corresponding registration form in Spanish and English on NELFA's website.
IMAGE OF THE MONTH
The Olympic diver Tom Daley and his husband, the film-maker Dustin Lance Black, are expecting their first child. The couple, who were married last year, revealed the news on Valentine's Day with a picture from the baby scan. NELFA is delighted by this sporting rainbow family! By the way: the photo has become the most successful on NELFA's Facebook page within the last year - with more than 4.600 persons reached, around 50 likes and 21 shares. (Photo: Tom Daley on Instagram)
Copyright © 2018 Nelfa aisbl 845937097 - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations. All Rights Reserved. NELFA currently represents 29 organisations in 18 European countries with more than 20,000 members. Greetings to all LGBTIQ* families, relatives, friends, activists and supporters out there!

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