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NELFA NEWSLETTER MARCH 2017
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NELFA
Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations
 
NEWSLETTER No. 4 - MARCH 2017
Welcome to NELFA's new newsletter, number four! Here you'll find, as usual, information about our recent activities and important news about LGBTIQ* parents, their children, allies and supporters. Enjoy reading!
INTRODUCTION

BRUSSELS, 28 February 2017: Hopefully, you had a successful start to the new year and the first months in 2017! We have made some good resolutions and we would love to realise them, one by one. As in previous years, we want to improve the situation of all rainbow families in Europe and beyond - with full commitment, unyieldingly, persistently and in close partnership with our member organisations and allies. Unfortunately, we have observed disturbing developments in many places: for example in Poland where the authorities do everything to prevent the recognition of same-sex partnerships (registered abroad); or in a school in the United Kingdom, where the daughter of a trans woman has been banned from communicating with her own classmates. But we also hear good news: the confirmation of the same-sex marriage law in Finland or the first gay couple in the Czech Republic who are poised to adopt a child. Both negative or positive developments spurs us to stay on the ball!
 
NELFA HIGHLIGHTS
NELFA turns five years old and celebrates with a major international conference at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 24 March 2017 in Naples, Italy. The motto is: "Rainbow families in Europe - Same love, different status. Results achieved and challenges ahead". LGBTIQ* parents from all over Europe will share their experiences; top-class activists, stakeholders and politicians will discuss the long and stony road to more recognition, equal treatment and acceptance of rainbow families. On 25 March, NELFA will hold its AGM. The meeting brings together representatives from 32 member organisations, covering 19 European countries. The delegates will discuss, among other issues, NELFA's Action Plan for 2017 and 2018, currently elaborated guidelines on assisted reproductive techniques, a new Board structure and upcoming events. See the agenda and the press release. Thanks for the picture to Lisa Marie (13), the daughter of our Board member Giuseppina La Delfa, Italy.

NELFA is looking forward to the next International Family Equality Day #IFED2017, to be held on 07 May and the following days until 17 May - because of this year's cooperation with #IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The "high season" officially started, the first common newsletter is out and the first big events are planned. Throughout Europe, The Rainbow Cities Network is joining the IFED-IDAHOT celebrations by organising a photo exhibition on family diversity. We will have Rainbow Family Festivals in Poland and Russia, and many other picnics and meetings in Brazil, Hong-Kong, Australia, Lithuania and even in Cambodia and Burundi. What are your plans? Use the IFED-website to promote your event: GET INVOLVED and GET INSPIRED and use the hashtag #IFED2017 for LIVE publishing!

NELFA ACTIVITIES

BARCELONA, 17 December 2016: NELFA is currently discussing new guidelines concerning ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques). What are the necessary rights, the special needs of people involved? Which legal framework should be created? In which way parents and children affected should be protected? Many questions, and - luckily - some approaches! A first draft was developed by several NELFA Board members (Jordi Anton, Dominique Boren and Giuseppina La Delfa) and allies (from FLG, Son Nuestros Hijos, Homoparentalités ASBL). (Photo: Giuseppina la Delfa).
 
GENEVA, 27 January 2017: NELFA participated at the first historic consultation on civil society with UN-SOGI expert Vitit Muntarbhorn. During the meeting, he pointed out the challenges which would also improve the well-being of rainbow families all around the world: decriminalisation, de-stigmatisation, legal recognition of gender identity, cultural inclusion with gender-and-sexual diversity. NELFA's President, Maria von Känel, said, 'Muntarbhorn recommends focusing on the children's rights: non-discrimination, private and family rights and freedom of movement. A wise message!' You'll find more information here and NELFA's full press release. (Photo: OHCHR Geneva)
 
COPENHAGEN, 6-10 February 2017: NELFA Board members and volunteers have the opportunity to take part in training courses, granted by the Erasmus+ programme. The project "Adequate and equal legal protection for rainbow families" aims at strengthening our network especially towards its educational activities. The first course (provided by our partner "In Dialogue") was entitled "Consulting and development of teams and groups". In the following months, NELFA will participate in two other courses in Copenhagen and in so-called "job-shadowings", for example in London (Stonewall) and Berlin (LSVD). (Logo: aef-europe; Photos: Björn Sieverding and Caroline Ausserer)
BRUSSELS, 15 February 2017: NELFA is in the process of further expanding its network. Board member Björn Sieverding accepted an invitation of Ann Brusseel, member of the Flemish parliament and Belgian senate (liberal party: OpenVLD). They talked about a stronger support for rainbow families (not only in Belgium) and contributions for the upcoming IFED 2017. (Photo: Kenny van Minsel)
 
BRIGHTON, 24-25 February 2017: NELFA's President Maria von Känel and Board member Caroline Ausserer attended the "Lesbian Lives Conference" at the University of Brighton. The general theme of the meeting was Lesbian Love/s. Participants also talked about recent challenges for LGBTIQ* parents and their children. NELFA gave its workshop, "Against the backlash, joint strategies for LGBTIQ* families". Another task was the preparation of the European Lesbian Conference in Vienna from 6-8 October ('State of Play for the Lesbian Movements in Europe'). (Photos: Caroline Ausserer)
NELFA NEWS

DEN HAAG, 8 December 2016: NELFA is very pleased with a new report on co-parenting and surrogacy, presented by the Dutch government's family law committee. In particular, the proposal recommends that children will be able to have three or four parents as from the moment they are born. The committee suggests replacing the current factual ban on surrogacy by a sensible new regulation: 1) Children born through surrogacy should have access to information on their genetic heritage; 2) The rights of the surrogate should be protected; 3) Some (financial) compensation for the birthmother would be allowed (in addition to covering all her expenses); 4) Surrogacy in countries with less stringent procedures would be made much more difficult. Read NELFA's press release. (Photo: Dachverband Regenbogenfamilien)

STRASBOURG, 18 December 2016: NELFA welcomes the new comprehensive report on fundamental rights, issued by the European Parliament. The document assesses what must still be done to reach standards laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, including the consideration of the situation of LGBTIQ* people and their families. The report calls for action in the field of free movement between Member States, including for same-sex couples and their children. Furthermore, the Parliament encourages the Commission to be more decisive and to react more quickly when responding to injustice, both legally and politically. Read NELFA's press release here.

STRASBOURG, 18 January 2017: NELFA congratulates Antonio Tajani on his election as the President of the European Parliament. But this is offered on the expectation that he will reconsider his previous positions on rainbow families. Mr Tajani stated in 1996 that children of same-sex couples are "certain to have serious psychological problems and experience major difficulties in being accepted as part of society". In 2014, Mr Tajani signed up to Novae Terrae's pledge, which called for an EU Roadmap on rights of families, defined restrictively as those based on unions between men and women (who want to educate their children according to "moral and religious" values. NELFA perceives the election as a challenge: to support the new President of the European Parliament on issues about family diversity, equality and non-discrimination. Read the full press release here. (Photo: European Parliament)

NAPLES, 03 February 2017: NELFA is very pleased about the recent developments in the case of our Board member, Giuseppina La Delfa. In July 2015, the Court of Appeal of Naples ordered the registration of the French marriage by Giuseppina La Delfa and Raphaëlle Hoedts, two French women with Ms La Delfa also an Italian citizen. The Mayor of Santo Stefano del Sole had denied the recognition of their marriage, which led to claim before the Court of Cassation, Italy's Supreme Court in civil matters. On February 1st, 2017, the Court found that the mayor had unlawfully denied the recognition and ordered the administration to pay the legal fees. Furthermore, the Court, after keeping this decision on hold for almost seven months, eventually dismissed the claim on procedural grounds, thereby making the order to register the marriage final and irrevocable. Read the press release. (Photo: private)

STRASBOURG, 21 February 2017: NELFA is delighted by the recent comments made by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks. He stated that legal recognition for same-sex couples was a question of “equality before the law”. Muižnieks calls on Member States to create “at the very least” registered partnerships and to “seriously consider opening up civil marriage”. Existing laws should be reviewed in order to ensure that they include the same rights and benefits for same-sex couples as they do for married or registered different-sex couples (i.e. in the area of parental rights). These remarks read like the core parts of NELFA's policy agenda: to reduce discrimination, to stand up for genuine equality and to see family diversity as an asset. Read the full comment and NELFA's press release. (Photo: CoE)
NELFA INPUT
BERLIN, 7 December 2016: A new study from the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin found that genital treatments on intersex children remain on the agenda in hospitals (investigation period from 2005 to 2014). Author Ulrike Klöppel sums up, that people affected suffer life-long impairments, Read the study "Zur Aktualität kosmetischer Operationen 'uneindeutiger' Genitalien im Kindesalter" here.
MINNEAPOLIS, 7 December 2016: The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) published a new policy brief, entitled "Lesbian and Gay Parents and their children" (written by Charlotte J. Patterson and Abbie E. Goldberg). It provides an overview of findings from social science research, as well as recommendations for policies to help lesbian and gay (LG) parent families to thrive. Read it here.
YOGYAKARTA, November 2016 - March 2017: Worldwide, activists celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Yogyakarta Principles, which have a normative aim: to set out a common understanding of how to apply international human rights law specifically to the situation of LGBTIQ* people. NELFA Board member and journalist Caroline Ausserer talked to some of the co-authors about the significance of the document 10 years after its creation. Read more here. (Boell Foundation)
LONDON, 13 January 2017: Tuvia Borok is a single gay dad, co-founder and co-chair of P3:Proud.Professional.Parents. This is a support and educational network for (predominantly) LGBT parents and prospective parents, but more and more, a support network for any parents whose family is non-conventional or non-traditional. P3 kicked off the #familyislove campaign and a corresponding video. Read more here.
CAMBRIDGE, 23 January 2017: Susan Golombok, Director of the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge published (with others) a new study: "Parenting and the Adjustment of Children Born to Gay Fathers Through Surrogacy". And one key result is: "Overall, the study found the children of both gay fathers and lesbian mothers to show high levels of psychological adjustment and to have positive relationships with their parents".
BRUSSELS, 2 February 2017: The European Parliament adopted a report (533+, 41-) demanding the automatic recognition of domestic adoption orders across EU Member States. The report stipulates that the recognition should happen without discrimination, including on the basis of the parents' sexual orientation. You will find the full report here, and the statements of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights here.
STRASBOURG, 14 February 2017: The European Parliament adopted a report containing multiple recommendations relevant to the mental health and well-being of LGBTIQ* people. The "Becerra Report" expresses the need for an ambitious new gender-sensitive strategy on mental health, promoting a holistic psychosocial all-of-society approach. Read the full report here and corresponding statements of Transgender Europe (TGEU) and ILGA-Europe.
IMAGE OF THE MONTH
NELFA Board members and volunteers with Danish Pride organisers, shortly before a Winterpride event involving rainbow families at Studenterhuset Festsal in Copenhagen.
Unfortunately, the whole meeting was in Danish: "Familie Undenfor Normen". We didn't understand anything, but grinned broadly and did some networking. (Photo: 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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