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Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
This is NELFA's newsletter number five! Here you will find - once again - information about the recent activities of our European Network and important news about LGBTIQ* parents, their children, allies and supporters. Enjoy reading!
BRUSSELS, 1 June 2017: Some days ago, the global Facebook page of IDAHOT posted the message: "The world is still moving forward for equality". The reason was that Luxembourg's openly gay 'first husband', Gauthier Destenay, joined the world leaders' spouses programme during the Nato summit in Brussels and the corresponding group photo went viral. "Progress exists", stated ILGA-Europe recently in their new Rainbow Europe package, but added at the same time, "It is slowing down and is at risk". How true... a glance at Chechnya is sufficient to experience even incredible human abysses. Over 100 men assumed to be gay or bisexual have been rounded up, detained and tortured by authorities in so-called "concentration camps" and at least three people died. NELFA's full member, the Russian LGBT Network, is still attempting to assist those who are threatened to evacuate from Chechnya - and we can just bow down to this commitment. Interested in doing more on the situation in Chechnya? Read here what else you can doWhat next? Well... Let's stay together and strong against every violation of human rights! Let's show and prove every day how beautiful (family) diversity can be! As we have seen, even a little Facebook post can make a change and get things moving. It begins with visibility, optimism and a smile...

NELFA is very pleased with the record participation of #IFED2017. The 6th International Family Equality Day (IFED) was commemorated in 44 countries and over 100 towns worldwide. Under this years' motto "LOVE MAKES A FAMILY” eight new countries joined the IFED-family: Argentina, Luxembourg, Belize, Brazil, China, Ireland, the Philippines and Thailand. IFED got together with the International Day against Homo-, Trans- and Biphobia  (IDAHOT), which this year had chosen the topic “families” and invited advocates for LGBTIQ* equality, their friends and allies to take action from May 7 until May 17 to celebrate and support family diversity. The Rainbow Cities Network started to show an exhibition on families in 14 European cities (i.e. in Ljubljana), as well as in Mexico City and Sao Paolo. In Moscow, a Family Equality Festival took place and in Asia, the first Asia-Pacific Rainbow Families Forum was held in Hong Kong. Read NELFA's press release here. (Photo: Purple Sherbet Photography)

NELFA is delighted by the outcome of its conference, entitled: “Rainbow Families in Europe. Same love, different status!”, held on 24 March 2017 and hosted by the municipality of Naples. International activists, stakeholders and politicians promoted emphatically the need for full recognition, equal treatment and acceptance for LGBTIQ* parents and their children. NELFA Board members from all over Europe shared their personal experiences to a large and attentive audience. Monica Cirinnà, Italian politician and senator of the Democratic Party, stated, “Children who grow up in rainbow families are not treated equally. They are not recognized as others. This event is important to support our cause. We are driving the same car! Please, go on!” And Jonas Gunnarsson, PACE General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people, said, “Tolerance is not enough. Equality and respect – nothing more and nothing less – are the political goals. It’s time for rainbow families throughout Europe to be able to live free from discrimination.” Read NELFA's full press release here. (Photos: Björn Sieverding)

NELFA welcomes four new, highly motivated Board members! Esteban Jiménez (Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy), Eleni Maravelia (FLG, Spain), Giovanni Fantoni (Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy) and Jesús Santos (Galehi, Spain) were elected at the Annual General Meeting on 25 March 2017 in Naples. The current Board has now ten members, the new executive positions will be elected at a special NELFA Board meeting in Barcelona on 17 June 2017. You'll get more information about the outcome in the next newsletter. Unfortunately, there are several great rainbow families activists who are no longer members of the Board (since the AGM): Luís Amorim (ILGA Portugal), Angelo Berbotto (Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy), Nikolaos Chamzoudis (OLKE, Greece), Kathryn Clarke (Rainbow Families Brighton&Hove, UK), Lisa Green (LSVD, Germany), Maria von Känel (Dachverband Regenbogenfamilien, Switzerland), Rita Marascalchi (Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy), Krisztian Rozsa (Hungarian Foundation for Rainbow Families) and Anne Rudolph (Independent, Germany). We will never forget your TREMENDOUS WORK and your EXTRAORDINARY COMMITMENT!

COIMBRA, 2-3 March 2017: NELFA Board member Anne Rudolph attended "Queering Parenting", the 2nd International Conference stemming from the European Research Council (ERC) funded study INTIMATE: Citizenship, Care and Choice - The micro-politics of intimacy in Southern Europe. This year the Conference focussed on LGBTIQ* parenting. Some questions like these were examined: How are LGBTIQ* people negotiating parenthood and child-bearing? What role do law and social policy play regarding LGBTIQ* parenting and reproduction? Where do we see the resurgence of new normativities? See a larger photo gallery here. (Photos: Intimate)
BRUSSELS, 9-10 March 2017: NELFA Board members visited ILGA-Europe for a meeting, entitled "Strategic Planning on Family issues". The aim was to strengthen the existing cooperation. On the next day, NELFA had the opportunity to take part in a very stimulating exchange with child rights organisations (IGLYO, Child Rights International Network - CRIN, Eurochild, Save the Children, Child Helpline International). The main topic was "LGBTI children and children raised in rainbow families". Special THANKS go to ILGA-Europe, who organised the event. (Photo: Björn Sieverding)
COPENHAGEN, 20-24 March 2017: Four NELFA volunteers from Finland took part in a training course, granted by the European Union Erasmus+ programme. The course (provided by our partner "In Dialogue" and its coordinator Yvor Broer) was entitled "Teaching and Training LGBT". It is part of NELFA's project "Adequate and equal legal protection for rainbow families" which aims at strengthening the network especially towards its educational activities. Until 30 June, NELFA Board members and volunteers will participate in 22 so-called "mobilities". (Logo: aef-europe; Photos: Paula Myöhänen)

VILNIUS, 19-21 April 2017: NELFA Board member Caroline Ausserer participated (as keynote speaker) at the "Atgender Spring Conference" in Lithuania (Atgender: The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation). The motto was "Bridging gender research and policy making: missing links, good practices, future scenarios". It attempted to bridge the gap between academics and policy makers on current issues, such as "anti-genderism" and homophobia, reproductive rights, diversity policies, education to gender equality, intersectional, and gender methods. The conference had over 150 attendees. Read the full review. (Photo: Atgender)

BERLIN, 7-9 May 2017: Four NELFA Board members and volunteers visited Germany's capital city within the scope of the Erasmus+ project "Adequate and equal legal protection for rainbow families". The participants joined the #IFED2017 celebrations (a boat trip and a picnic with at least 300 parents and their children) and they took part in an audio-feature about a trans-lesbian couple and their child. Furthermore, the delegation spent a whole day in the unique Rainbow Family Centre, including an exchange with director Constanze Körner and Equal Opportunities Officer Monika von der Lippe (Land of Brandenburg). Then, the group attended a symposium of LSVD and the Ministry of Families, where NELFA Board member Björn Sieverding hold the keynote about "Rainbow Families in Europe". See more pictures here. (Logo: aef-europe, Photos: Caroline Ausserer, Constanze Körner, Björn Sieverding)

BRUSSELS, 12 May 2017: NELFA was represented at the conference "Families on the Move", organised by COFACE Families Europe. Former NELFA Board member Luís Amorim took the opportunity to raise awareness among the participants of the legal and social obstacles rainbow families still face to move freely inside the EU. It was the first time, NELFA participated in a COFACE conference. This is part of the network's aim to bring topics related to rainbow families into 'mainstream' family forums. Recently, COFACE offered NELFA a supporting membership. (Photo: Luís Amorim)

BERLIN, 17 May 2017: NELFA participated at the Action Day of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. The motto of the whole action year is "Same right for every love". The aim is to send a strong signal against discrimination and unequal treatment of LGBTIQ* people. NELFA took the opportunity to celebrate IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and the final day of the International Family Equality Day, #IFED2017. (Photo: Caroline Ausserer)

BERLIN, 19 May 2017: NELFA was present at the special event on “Family is…? - a Global Portrait” in Berlin, organised by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the Salzburg Global LGBT Forum. The event presented a film with interviews that highlight the global diversity of LGBT families; it is the outcome from our three-year cooperation with the Ministry, bringing together a global cohort of Forum members and can be watched here. (Photo: Caroline Ausserer).

TRENTO, 3 March 2017: NELFA is very pleased with the recent judgement (23 February 2017) of the Court of Appeal of Trento. It recognised to full effect a Canadian ruling that established an intentional father to twins born through surrogacy to be the legal father. It is the first time in Italy that two men are fully recognised in their parental roles. Alexander Schuster, the Italian lawyer that assisted the couple from the very beginning of their parental journey in 2009, reports that the fathers were completely overwhelmed when he personally handed them over the judgement. It is an important step towards gender equality. Read NELFA's full press release. (Photo:

STRASBOURG, 6 April 2017: NELFA is delighted by the historic decision of the European Court of Human Rights. It found that the sterilisation requirement in legal gender recognition violates human rights. The decision is delivered in three joined cases against France about the lack of self-determination of transgender individuals in the county. Transgender Europe Executive Director Julia Ehrt says, "This decision ends the dark chapter of state-induced sterilisation in Europe. The 22 states in which a sterilisation is still mandatory will have to swiftly end this practice. We are looking forward to supporting those and other countries in reforming their national legislation." Read more in the press release of TGEU. (Photo:

MUNICH and VIENNA: May-June 2017: NELFA congratulates LGBTIQ* parents and their children in the Bavarian capital. With the help of the city authorities and under the aegis of the association "Lesbentelefon e.V." and Stephanie Gerlach, a new Rainbow Family Centre opened its gates. It is the second one in Germany (after Berlin). And also in Austria there is now a new contact point with consulting services for rainbow families - in Vienna Margareten. The "RegenbogenFamilienZentrum Wien" is backed by NELFA's full member FAmOs. The official opening will take place on 13 June 2017.

BRUSSELS, 17 May 2017: NELFA welcomes the recent publication of ILGA-Europe's Rainbow Map 2017. It is the most important and impressive comparison of human rights for LGBTIQ* people (and their children) at national level within the European Union. However, the outcome of the examination itself is worrying: ILGA-Europe's conclusion is : "Progress exists, but it's slowing down and is at risk". The Rainbow Map shows many positive trends in the area of family law. On the other hand, rainbow families face many unpleasant circumstances, especially in Romania, Lithuania and Georgia because of continuous discussions on restricting the definition of family life or marriage (for heterosexual couples only) through referendum. Read NELFA's full press release here and find ILGA-Europe's Rainbow Map 2017 package here.
LEIDEN, 19 April 2017: The trend of legal recognition for gay and lesbian couples in Europe is broadening. More and more rights are becoming available to same-sex partners. These are the main findings of the research led by Kees Waaldijk, Leiden University’s professor of comparative sexual orientation law. Parenting rights remain more controversial. All this and much more has now been documented in the LawsAndFamilies Database.
GENEVA 19 April 2017: The first Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Vitit Muntarbhorn, has provided the advance edited version of his initial report to the Human Rights Council. Its resonant message is "diversity in humanity, humanity in diversity". Read the current OHCHR document here.

BERLIN, 18 May 2017: Since 2013 our friends from Transgender Europe publish the "Trans Rights Europe Map & Index". Both reflect the legal situation in areas of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression in Europe, and highlights the legal provisions in gender identity recognition. It provides an overall reflection of the legal situation in all European countries in a simple format. Read more.
NELFA delegates and IFED coordinator Maria von Känel celebrated the International Family Equality Day in Berlin. The event was a great success: Two boats full of happy rainbow families, a cosy get-together-picnic afterwards. And the sun had - fittingly - a fantastic "coming out"! (Photos: Björn Sieverding).
Copyright © 2017 Nelfa aisbl 845937097 - Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations. All Rights Reserved. NELFA currently represents 32 organisations in 19 European countries with more than 26,500 members. Greetings to all LGBTIQ* families, relatives, friends, activists and supporters out there!

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