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Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
Welcome to NELFA's third newsletter. Here you'll find information about the recent activities of the Network and important news for LGBTIQ* parents, their children, allies and supporters. Enjoy reading!

BRUSSELS, 3 December 2016: Donald J. Trump will be the next President of the United States. Indeed, this is a shock. The political climate drastically changed and there are some extreme anti-LGBTIQ* Republicans in Trump's immediate entourage. Some days after the election, the "New York Times" wrote about a "panic" through much of the community. What if the new President would overturn same-sex marriage or non-discrimination laws? Trump's campaign speeches were loud and blustering - an invitation for some of his supporters to become aggressive and even violent. A string of hate crime incidents have been already reported. In North Carolina, a rainbow family had an anti-gay note placed on their car windscreen: "Gay families = burn in hell. Trump 2016". Yes, the presidential election result was a nasty surprise. We are sad and concerned, but not defeated! We'll stay strong to promote equality for all families, legal protection and social acceptance.

NELFA has been granted participatory status with the Council of Europe, the continent’s leading human rights organisation. Since 1952 it has had working relationships with international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs). Today, the participatory status is currently held by some 320 INGOs. The grant increases NELFA's ability to support family diversity in all 47 member states of the Council. Our Network has now the opportunity to contribute to emancipating civil society and reinforcing the participation in decision-making processes, as well as building a society based on equality, justice and human rights. Read our press release. (Photo: Maria von Känel)

NELFA is proud to present the results of its flagship project: The IFED Annual Report is out! 80 pages full of family diversity, with contributions from activists all over the world and forewords from Charles Radcliffe, U.N. official at OHCHR, and Tanya Plibersek, Australian Member of Parliament and Deputy Leader of the Opposition. In May 2016, a wide range of LGBTIQ* family organisations and groups celebrated the 5th International Family Equality Day (IFED) under the motto FAMILIES WITHOUT BORDERS. The Annual Report is a colourful summary of IFED events, this year commemorated in 74 cities in 36 countries: LGBTIQ* parents, their children, friends and allies make visible what often is ignored or opposed and hidden - that rainbow families are and want to be part of society. IFED is an exceptional opportunity to promote recognition, protection and equal treatment for all types of families. In 2017, it will be celebrated together with IDAHOT. Get involved and see our common leaflet LOVE MAKES A FAMILY.
NELFA attended the ILGA World Conference in Bangkok (18 November - 2 December). During the event there was a lot of encouragement for LGBTIQ* parents and their children. For example, Pitikan Sithidej, Ministry of Justice's Department of Rights and Liberty Protection (see photo), stated, "Everybody has the right to build a family!". Other speakers emphasised that families are diverse and that all types of families need to be protected. NELFA had the pleasure of meeting rainbow family activists from China, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Phillipines. Several Asian countries will join the International Family Equality Day #IFED2017 for the first time. (Photo: Maria von Känel)
BRATISLAVA, 12 September 2016: NELFA and 176 other organisations subscribed a common statement for the #BratislavaSummit. We support a better #FutureofEurope and we are ready to take action! Let's shape an open, tolerant society for us and our children, where fundamental rights are protected, where equality and inclusion are guaranteed. Read the full statement here, "A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all".
BRUSSELS, 18 October 2016: NELFA Board member Björn Sieverding took part in the Families And Societies Final Conference, coordinated by Stockholm University. Several years, scientists and stakeholders discussed these questions: "What will families look like in the future? Are existing social and family policies compatible with changes in family patterns? The latest verdict of science is unanimous - we have to assert a conservative roll-back, also in Europe, through encouraging a steady progress in terms of equal rights. Recent studies show that LGBTIQ* and their children are more and more accepted. Legislation helps to create a positive image of rainbow families. (Picture: Björn Sieverding with Alexander Schuster, Famiglie Arcobaleno [on the right])
CYPRUS, 20-23 October 2016: "Power to the people - celebrating 20 years of strength within" was the motto of this year's ILGA-Europe conference in Cyprus. The opening was at the presidential palace with music and dance. Together with over 400 participants of more than 50 countries NELFA took part with several Board members. NELFA President Maria von Känel and Board member Caroline Ausserer already participated at pre-conferences, and together with Board member Anne Rudolph they held the workshop "Against the backlash: Building joint strategies for LGBTIQ* families activism", which received comprehensively positive feedback. NELFA also raised awareness about childcare at conferences by bringing two of our children (thanks to Dominique Boren and Caroline Ausserer). (Pictures: Maria von Känel and Caroline Ausserer). Find tweets, FB posts, videos and images right here about #IENicosia2016.
MOSCOW, 4-6 November 2016: NELFA's full member, the Russian LGBT Network, organised a forum for LGBTIQ* activists. The programme included events devoted to the International Family Equality Day 2016, where Russia took part for the first time. Activists from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Tumen, Tomsk and other cities shared their experience and plans for #IFED2017. (Picture: Maria von Känel).
MOSCOW, 10-13 November 2016: NELFA Board member Giuseppina La Delfa (Famiglie Arcobaleno) took part in Ресурс Лгбткиа Москва and shared her personal story. The "Third annual LGBTQIA Family Conference: LGBTQIA marriage and partnerships. Variety in diversity" offered presentations (i.e. of the book "LGBT families in Russia. True Stories" by Evgenia Monastyrskaya), a round-table discussion and a series of psychological, social and legal seminars and workshops. Yulia Malygina of the organisational team said: "The conference truly was a hub for the exchange of experiences, knowledge and ideas." Read more here. (Photo: Giuseppina la Delfa)

STRASBOURG, 17 November 2016: NELFA was invited to the roundtable session at the Council of Europe. The European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network examined the situation of children in rainbow families, and NELFA had the opportunity to provide day-to-day experiences and to share examples of good practice. In her opening speech, NELFA President Maria von Känel said that rainbow families and their children face some particular challenges which derive primarily from the prejudices in society and, all too often, from the discrimination at the hands of, and lack of protection by, state institutions. Governments are called upon to acknowledge this, to recognise human rights violations and to provide equal legal recognition and protection for all families. Read the full speech and the press release. (Photo: Maria von Känel)
BERLIN, 18 November 2016: NELFA took part in the "Rainbow Philanthropy conference on sexual and gender self determination of children and youth in alternative care in the Global South and East". Board member Caroline Ausserer led (with Sarah Kohrt from the Eddy Hirschfeld Foundation) the workshop "It's what is normal for me - About LGBTIQ* children from a family perspective". Here you find the outcomes of 2015 and the latest conference in 2016. (Photo: Caroline Ausserer)

BRUSSELS, 29 November 2016: NELFA Board member Dominique Boren attended a seminar of the PES group (Party of European Socialists) in the Committee of the Regions. Its motto: "I am what I am: promoting the rights LGBTI in the EU". The aim was to raise awareness about striking divergences in the rights of LGBTIQ* people in different EU Member States. It fostered the exchange of best practices in terms of LGBTIQ*-friendly measures (local and regional) and discussed their contribution towards effectively fighting discrimination against LGBTIQ* people and taking forward social progress. The participants had also the opportunity to visit the photo exhibition "Transgender in labour and employment" of the Berlin State Office for Equality Treatment and against Discrimination. Read more here.

ROME, 30 September 2016: NELFA welcomes the positive judgement by the Italian Supreme Court, finding no obstacle to the registration ("trascrizione") of a Spanish birth certificate mentioning two mothers. This fundamental decision goes in line with the safeguarding of the fundamental rights of minors born, adopted or raised in same-sex families and recognises this rainbow family as such without adoption procedure. The gestational mother was a Spanish citizen, whereas the Italian co-mother donated her egg to the partner, whom later became her spouse under Spanish law. Read the press release (and the further argumentation of the Supreme Court) here. (Photo: NELFA).

STRASBOURG, 11 October 2016: The Council of Europe voted against the recommendation of the 'Committee on Social Affairs of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly' (PACE) calling on the Committee of Ministers to consider the desirability and feasibility of "drawing up European guidelines to safe-guard children's rights in relation to surrogacy arrangements". Despite 83 votes against the recommendation, 77 votes were in favour (there were 7 abstentions). During the same session, a recommendation calling for the international prohibition of all forms of surrogacy arrangements was also rejected. NELFA remains deeply concerned with the lack of European guidelines regarding the rights of children born through gestational surrogacy. It is legal and socially recognised in some European Union countries and is considered one of several assisted reproduction techniques by national and international medical organisations. Read the full press release here. (Picture: NELFA).

MADRID, 20 October 2016: NELFA is delighted by the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Madrid, that ruled in favour of parents with children born through gestational surrogacy. Spanish laws do not permit gestational surrogacy in Spain, but children born abroad now have recognised Spanish citizenship. Although some companies and public employers granted the parental leave benefits, in several cases social security in Spain had refused the payment of maternity benefits, assuming a fraudulent intent. The court took a different view: the care of minors should be the first priority and they cannot be victims of conflicting regulations. Read NELFA's full press release. (Picture: Le Soir).
NEW YORK, 14 September 2016: The newspaper "New York Times" published very interesting data concerning same-sex couples. They call it "The most detailed map of Gay Marriage in America". The study found, for example, that there is one group whose incomes are far above the rest: same-sex married men with children. Read more of these data here.
BRUSSELS, 19 September 2016: In a report on the implementation of the EU’s Employment Equality Directive, the European Parliament has called for further measures to improve the protection of LGBTIQ* people at work... to "ensure the mutual recognition of partnership status, matrimonial regimes and parenting rights". Read more here.
STUTTGART, 30 September - 2 October: The German LGBTIQ* organisation LSVD/ILSE group Baden-Württemberg organised a Rainbow Family Seminar with about 145 participants (90 adults and 55 children). NELFA Board member Lisa Green also took part in this event. And it's a great example for best practice. Have a look at their wonderful detailed documentation with nice pics.
STOCKHOLM, September-October 2016: The FamiliesAndSocieties research project ends in January 2017. The Final Conference was already held, in Brussels on October 18. The coordinator, Stockholm University, provides a website with recent studies or "working papers". One of them is named: "Sexual orientation, family and kinship in France, Iceland, Italy and Spain". Read more here.
LEXINGTON (USA), October 2016: University of Kentucky assistant professor of psychology Rachel H. Farr has studied different aspects of family life among heterosexual, gay and lesbian parents and their adopted children. Farr's most recent research results provides further support that children adopted by lesbian and gay parents are well-adjusted. Read a detailed summary here.
GENEVA, 18 October 2016: ILGA shared the second round of results of the "ILGA-RIWI Global Attitudes Survey on LGBTI People" in partnership with Logo. This is a survey to gather credible data (answers from 96,331 online individuals in 65 countries) on public attitudes to particular issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression worldwide. It is the largest investigation of attitudes towards LGBTI people ever conducted. Read the document here.
GENEVA, 24 November 2016: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a new brochure, entitled "Living Free and Equal". It provides an analysis of more than 200 examples of what States are doing to tackle violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Find more information here.
NELFA is delighted by this strong picture from Mexico! A 12-year-old boy (who wishes to remain anonymous) tries to stop a "March to Oppose Civil Marriage Equality and Protections for LGBTQ Families" with 11,000 participants on 12 September. His reason: "I have a gay uncle. And I hate that people hate."  The following day after the homophobic protests, hundreds of pro-LGBTIQ* people marched through Mexico City to show their support for same-sex marriage.
Copyright © 2016 Nelfa aisbl 845937097 - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations. All Rights Reserved. NELFA currently represents 31 organisations in 18 European countries with more than 25,500 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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