On the 1-st of December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, during the twentieth conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), a majority voted to include the LGBT organizations and initiatives of Central Asian countries in the mandate of the European branch of the Association, ILGA-Europe. Previously the Central Asian counties were included in the mandate of ILGA-ASIA.

Being included in the mandate of ILGA-Europe will provide the Central Asian LGBT organizations and initiative groups a possibility to partake in the mutual exchange of information on best practices of the promotion and protection of LGBT rights, as well as allowing it to obtain the necessary technical and financial support from ILGA-Europe Secretariat. The exchange of views and experiences within the membership of ILGA-Europe is particularly important for LGBT activists in Central Asia in a historical, linguistic and political context seeing how activists from other post-Soviet countries are also included in this regional network. Unfortunately, within the famework of ILGA-Asia, there were no such common roots, which made membership in the Asian branch a formality rather than a source of tangible support.

Preceding the membership vote LGBT activists of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan worked together to promote the issue. Representatives of LGBT organizations "Labrys", "Kyrgyz Indigo" and "Equal Opportunities" and initiatives "Feminita" and "Alma-TQ", with the financial and technical support organizations COC Netherlands, ILGA-Europe, ILGA-World, first raised this issue at the ILGA-Europe conference in 2015. The cooperating groups organized a special panel discussion on the need to include the Central Asian region in the mandate of ILGA-Europe. During this event activists reported on the situation in the individual countries of the region, and also talked about how membership of ILGA-Europe will strengthen regional LGBT activism. The result of the panel discussion was the decision to include Central Asia in the mandate of ILGA-Europe in the LGA-World Conference in 2016.

The activists from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan achieved this together, and it gives hope for the further strengthening of a common regional movement for equality and dignity of all people in Central Asia, regardless of status or categories.



Translated by Jans Schaper

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