European Lesbian Conference demands action from the EU to tackle rising homophobia

The current political climate in Central Europe is proving to be more and more difficult each day for LGBTIQ communities.

While developments in countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Serbia hit the headlines, LGBTQ people continue to witness and experience systemic homophobia across Europe.

Against this backdrop, the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian Community – EL*C – is counting down to its third major conference, which will be held in Budapest from 29 September to 1 October.

Budapest was selected as the venue for the conference to display of solidarity with lesbians in Hungary who are dealing with the anti-gender backlash and the anti-LGBTQ measures of the Orban government.

“We need government to protect the freedom of LGBTI people…” said Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Member of the European Parliament. “Hungary is a place today where you feel insecurity when you know what the leadership of this country says about LGBTI people, and this is a huge problem. In the eyes of the Hungarian government today there is a refusal of any diversity.”

Delbos-Corfield was speaking at a press conference in Brussels, organised by EL*C to highlight the objectives of the upcoming conference.

The European Lesbian Conference in Budapest is co-organised by the EL*C alongside Hungarian organisations Labrisz Lesbian Association, and qLit.

The conference will include presentations, panel discussions, workshops and a Dyke March. The intention of the Dyke March, and the conference in general is to send a strong message to the government in Hungary that lesbians are resisting.

“EL*C for us is a very important actor in the intersection of feminist and LGBTI struggles and their work since 2017 has shown that in so many ways. Very important topics will be raised, and we will be able to celebrate political lesbian activism and projects…” said Malin Anna Björk, Member of European Parliament, speaking at the press conference. “We see how extreme right- and right-wing conservatives arfe attacking LGBTI rights, lesbian rights and women’s rights in a quite blunt way in the European Parliament and in certain member states so it’s ever more important that we ally together and that we resist, that we stand up for human rights, democracy and stand up for everyone’s safety.”

“The conference will be an empowering moment for us all, the opportunity to celebrate lesbian lives, our achievements, our powers and to denounce the multiple and intersectional discrimination the lesbians from all over Europe, Central Asia and the world face and the ways in which we exist, and we resist…” added Ilaria Todde, Advocacy and Research lead for EL*C. “It will be a celebration, a strong moment of support for our friends and colleagues in Hungary and for the lesbians from Ukraine, the refugees that ELC has been supporting in the past 7 months.”

Find out more about the European Lesbian Conference

The EL*C press conference was supported by ELMA – the European LGBTQIA+ Media Association