17 May marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), firstly celebrated in 2004. 15 years later, 17 May signifies a continued process towards equality and non-discrimination for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and sex characteristics.
The 2019 theme “Justice and Protection For All” reflects the goal of the Council of Europe’s work in LGBTI rights. This year, the landmark 2010 Committee of Ministers Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity undergoes its second review through consultations with Member States and civil society, thus renewing the Council’s commitment towards protection from discrimination. Parliamentary Assembly resolutions addressing the rights of transgender and intersex persons further complement this protection by setting European standards.
In the celebrations surrounding 17 May, the SOGI Unit was present in the following events.
IDAHOT+ Forum and Roundtable of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Point Network (Oslo, Norway)
The IDAHOT+ Forum, titled “LGBTIQ Policies on the Move – Challenges and Next Steps”, took place on 13 May. The 2019 Oslo Declaration, signed by the participant Member States, encompasses a commitment towards “ensuring that intergovernmental bodies have a mandate to mainstream sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics equality into relevant policies, law- and research-initiatives.”
The Forum was followed on 14-15 May by the 22nd Roundtable of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network. Commitments for the future encompass a follow-up reunion to discuss the creation of a project based on the report “Safe at school” and a webinar to be undertaken on legal gender recognition and sex characteristics, gathering representatives from Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The Council of Europe’s presence in these events was ensured by Snežana Samardžić-Marković (Director General of Democracy), Hallvard Gorseth (Head of Anti-Discrimination Department), Eleni Tsetsekou (Head of SOGI Unit) and João Pereira (Programme Advisor of SOGI Unit).
IDAHOTB Day (Brussels, Belgium)
On 17 May, the SOGI Unit participated in the European Commission’s event "Rainbow Networks: How Important Are They?". The presentation focused on the evolution of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Point Network, alongside the main challenges and opportunities since its creation in 2004. The presentation was followed by a roundtable on the benefits of rainbow networks in the public and private sector.
The SOGI’s Unit’s presence in this event was ensured by Miguel Chambel, Project Manager.