Our vision

TGEU envisions a world free from discrimination where gender diversity is celebrated, where trans people are valued, and where trans movements are self-aware, intersectional, and evolving to meet the needs of a diverse and resilient community.

Our mission

TGEU’s mission is to strengthen the rights and wellbeing of trans people in Europe and Central Asia. We strive to represent the diverse needs of our members within human rights mechanisms, build the capacity and skills of our members to meet the needs of local communities, and develop intersectional and decolonised programmes to build more resilient and connected trans movements.

Our values

We endeavour to build an atmosphere of kindness, trust, safety, appreciation, and cooperation, and emphasise celebrating the resilience and diversity within our communities.
Our overarching aim is having the direction of our work set by people directly affected by the issues at hand. Read our guiding values statement here.

TGEU is a member-based organisation created in 2005. Since then, TGEU has kept growing and established itself as a legitimate voice for the trans community in Europe and Central Asia with 200 member organisations in 48 different countries. 

TGEU is registered as Transgender Europe e.V. With the inclusion of Central Asia in our regional scope in 2018, we mostly use the acronym TGEU in our communications to the public. Today, TGEU has an office in Berlin, Germany, as well as a team of 12 members of staff and a Board.

Our team

TGEU Board 2023 - 2025

The Board (formerly “Steering Committee) is elected every 2 years by our membership and is the governing body of the organisation. On 11 March 2023 TGEU held its General Assembly and elected the Board for the 2023-2025 term. The current Board members are:

Dinah Bons

Netherlands/France | Co-Chair

Dinah Bons (she/her) is a trans politician, chair of ESWA, Trans United Europe, part of the Amsterdam-based H team, and also works as an actor and creative strategist for Female Economy.

Dinah is specialist on diversity and inclusion, decolonisation, and anti-racism. She feels strongly connected to the trans, sex worker, and HIV communities, and works with passion on intersectional decision procedures and out of balance power mechanisms.

Sara R Phillips

Ireland | Co-Chair

Sara Phillips (she/her) is a trans woman from Ireland and the current Co-Chair of the International Trans Fund. She is also a board member of the National Women’s Council of Ireland. She a seasoned leader with over 30 years of experience in activism, advocacy, corporate and financial management, and community development within diverse trans communities globally.

Willemijn van Kempen


Willemijn van Kempen (she/her) is a lesbian trans woman, born in 1961 in a rural, Dutch, linguistic minority region.
Survived conversion in her teens, sterilisation, loss of work after transition, and depression. She holds a BA in physical therapy and in fine art. She developed and renewed herself in a long time
commitment to trans activism. Currently, she is a research and advocacy associate
with Transgender Network Netherlands focussing on trans asylum procedures and
leading CuraTim, seeking recovery for trans and
intersex persons from harmful practices.

Hmayak Avetisyan


Hmayak Avetisyan (he/they) is a trans activist and current Programs Manager at NTC in Armenia. He has coordinated dozens of projects and is the national coordinator of “Trans* Map in EECA” regional project. He is a member of CCM Armenia and part of several national, regional, and international coalitions working on LGBTIQ human rights, gender justice, peace and security, sustainable development, and social justice.

Pip Gardner


Pip Gardner (they/them or ze/zir) is a queer and trans activist based in the UK. They are the Chief Executive of The Kite Trust, supporting LGBTQ+ youth in the East of England. They were previously part of UN Women’s Generation Equality Youth Task Force and volunteer with Gendered Intelligence’s youth groups.

Purity K Tumukwasibwe


Purity is a trans woman and trans activist from Uganda residing in Sweden. She’s a social scientist, an intern with Civil Rights Defenders -Sweden, a task force member of IGLYO Anti-racism Task Force, Board member of Rainbow Refugees Sweden, co-founder of Refugee trans Initiative-Kenya, actress with National Black Theatre of Sweden, and a group leader of a BIPOC trans persons group in Stockholm- Sweden.

Raevynna El Messaoudi


Raevynna El Messaoudi (she/her) is a biracial trans woman living in Ireland, of Moroccan & Afrikaans descent. Originally from South Africa, she is currently one of the facilitators for Trans Limerick Community and a consultant in the area of Digital Innovation and Business Transformation. Her focus includes Technology, Strategy, Diversity and Governance. 

Suma Abdelsamie


Suma Abdelsamie (she/her) is a trans woman of colour with experience of seeking asylum. Originally from Egypt and resettled in Berlin, Germany, she is a community expert in organising for trans refugee rights transnationally, as well as a public speaker, educator and support group leader. Suma is an advocate for LGBTQI+ refugees rights with main focus on trans refugees.

vreer verkerke


vreer verkerke is the founder of trans health advocacy collective Principle 17 (for non pathologising health care based on informed consent). With their history in advocating for depathologisation in the ICD-11 and SOC-8 they have a long history in fighting for health care rights. They also co-founded Transgender Network Netherlands and the first genderqueer collective in the Netherlands.


Lenny Emson

Executive Director

Lenny (he/him) is a Ukrainian born LGBTQI human rights activist and a bigender individual. Lenny has about 20 years of experience in human rights for LGBTQI
and served the LGBTQI movement as an activist, founder, and employee of several LGBTQ organisations. Lenny represented the international community in the ILGA World Trans Steering Committee, the Eurasian Key Populations Health Network’s “Global expert group on Transgender People and HIV/AIDS”, the TGEU Board, and the Grant Making Panel of the International Trans Fund. Lenny is an active Board Member of the European Pride Organisers Association.

Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, and English.

Milena Papakoch

Deputy Director for Operations

Milena (no pronouns) was born in North Macedonia and lived many years in Bulgaria and Greece. S_he is an LGBTI activist and is involved in many informal support groups in the Balkans. Milena has great experience and expertise in operational matters. Before joining TGEU, Milena worked for the leading human rights organisations in North Macedonia as a Finance Officer and Finance Manager. Milena also has experience in Social Entrepreneurship and services for marginalised groups. Milena received an MBA in European Management from ESCEM, France.

Languages: Macedonian, English, Bulgarian, ex Yugoslav (Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian, Croatian) and basic Greek.

Miles Tanhira

Senior Programmes Officer

Founder of Queerstion Media, Miles (he/him) is a journalist  and brings over 10 years of experience within media & communication, LGBTQ and migration activism.

Miles holds a Masters in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, BSc in Political Science  and a BA in Communication Science.

He has worked previously for RFSL as coordinator  for a Global LGBT Leadership training Rainbow Leaders  as well as Editor for Soginews global LGBT news site.

Miles wants to amplify the voices of further marginalised trans communities particularly trans  migrants  in Europe through an intersectional perspective.

Languages: English, Shona, and Swedish.

Richard Köhler

TGEU Expert Advisor. Senior Policy Officer

Richard Köhler (he/him) built up TGEUs policy and advocacy work at the European level and has been a trans activist for two decades.

Richard leads on TGEUs work for self-determined legal gender recognition procedures and successful strategic litigation to help advance and protect trans people’s rights in the courts.

Richard holds a degree in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (LL.M). He also has a background in International Business Administration with specialisation on NGOs in Russian-speaking countries.

Languages: German, English, Russian, some French.

Daniyar Orsekov

Senior EECA Programme Officer

Daniyar (he/him) started his activist journey in 2004 in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia. In 2009, Daniyar became the founder of national LGBT organisation Kyrgyz Indigo and worked for 10 years as its Executive Director.

Since 2020 Daniyar has been working at international organisation ECOM as an advocacy coordinator and contributed to capacity building and expert agency of transgender people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Languages: English, Russian, Kyrgyz.

Francesca Sanders

Senior Policy Officer

Francesca’s (she/they) work at TGEU cuts across a variety of topics including combating anti-trans violence and the protection of trans people in the labour market.

Originally from Australia, Francesca’s background is in macroeconomics. Prior to joining TGEU, their work focused on international development policy, gender equality in the labour market, and Australia’s engagement with international financial institutions. She studied at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, the Australian National University, and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Japan.

Languages: English, German, some Japanese.

Nadya Yu

Senior Communications Officer

Nadya (any pronouns) is communications strategist with over 15 years of experience in brand and community building, marketing leadership, and storytelling for impact initiatives, global consumer brands, and tech companies.

Proud intersex community member and advocate, Nadya draws on her media and creative background to explore new territories of culture, language, and technology and develop sustainable, human-centered narratives. Her projects have been featured in major publications such as the New York Times, Vogue, Forbes, and others.

Languages: English, Russian.

Farah Abdi

Policy Officer, Asylum

Farah (she/her) came to Europe in the end of 2012, fleeing fear of persecution because of her gender identity. Her work as an activist began as a way to combat the rise in xenophobia, racism, islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination.

Farah has worked relentlessly over the last 8 years to tell the unheard stories of refugees. She wrote and published her first autobiography, “Never Arrive,” in 2015. She has also written columns on immigration for publications like Malta Today and the New Internationalist.

Farah looks forward to contributing to TGEU and bringing a new perspective.

Languages: English, Kiswahili, and some German. 

Vanya Solovey

EECA Advocacy & Programme Officer

Vanya (he/him) has previously worked with TGEU as a translator and interpreter, and will now join as EECA Officer. He comes from Russia and has experience in grassroots leftist, feminist, queer, and trans activism.

With a background in linguistics and gender studies, Vanya has written his doctoral thesis on the feminist movement in Russia.

Languages: English, Russian, German, French, and some Czech. 

Paulie Amanita

HIV Project Officer

Paulie Amanita is a Colombian researcher and activist openly living with HIV in Europe. With a background in molecular microbiology and biomedicine, Amanita conducted research in Plant pathology and Cell stress response for over 10 years.

Amanita worked as a consultant for Gilead Science as a specialist on HIV/AIDS advocacy and was the Chairwoman and project manager of TransAktion until winter 2021.

Languages: Spanish, English, and French.

Deekshitha Ganesan

Policy Officer, Health & Anti-Gender Movement

Deekshitha (she/her) is originally from India and is a lawyer by training. Prior to joining TGEU, she worked as a research and litigation associate at the Centre for Law and Policy Research in India, focusing on transgender rights, disability rights, and equality and non-discrimination.

At TGEU, Deekshitha works primarily on the portfolios of health and responding to the anti-gender movement.

Languages: English, Tamil, Hindi.

Freya Watkins

Research Officer

Originally from the UK, Freya (she/her) is a researcher and activist with experience in disability, queerfeminist, union, and housing struggles.

With an academic background in linguistics and psychology, Freya collaborated closely with deaf and hearing sign language-using communities during her doctoral research. She previously worked as German-English translator and was on a Steering Committee researching queerphobic conversion practices within psychology.

At TGEU, Freya will use her data and research skills for trans rights, leading the Trans Rights Map and Trans Murder Monitoring projects, as well as contributing to other research.

Languages: English, German, British Sign Language, some French, Spanish, ASL, IS, DGS.

Mags Clarendon

Communications Officer

Mags (they/them) is a writer and editor, with experience building a community-centric startup as one of two first hires.

They grew up in the grassroots environmental movement. More recently, their activism has centred on helping people without citizenship status and nonbinary trans people move through systems not built for them. 

At TGEU, they want to help clarify how TGEU’s goals are communicated, and showcase member and community involvement.

Languages: English.

Alina Kolosova

Grant/Operations Officer

Alina (she/her) is trans rights activist, the co-founder of initiative in Tajikistan and FemAgora in Kazakhstan with more than seven years in human rights advocacy and over two decades working in finance, corporate governance, and grant management. She worked for intergovernmental humanitarian, international post-war reconstruction and development organisations, private bank, public-private partnerships, and multilateral projects, for USAID among many. Alina is an Economics, Tax Law, Audit, and Evaluation expert, particularly in institutional policy design, operational capacity-building, risk assessment, and development of a blueprint for organisation’s financial sustainability.

Languages: Russian, English, Farsi, basic Uzbek.


Sebastian Rowlands

Senior Advisor on Resilience and Backlash

As Senior Advisor on Resilience and Backlash, Sebastian will support TGEU to combat the anti-gender movement. With eight years’ experience in sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV, global health, and LGBTQI+ rights, their interest lies in the intersection of gender and violence, sexuality, social norms, and marginalisation.

Maroš Matiaško

Maroš Matiaško

Strategic Litigation

Maroš is a human rights lawyer specialising in public interest litigation. He completed his legal studies in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands and has collaborated with various domestic and international NGOs. Between 2016 and 2018 he worked at the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights.

With more than ten years of experience in strategic litigation, including in the field of trans rights, Maroš will support TGEU in preparing submissions with international judicial and quasi-judicial bodies and in the development of individual and collective litigation.


Find here TGEU statutes, activity reports, strategic plan and policies, and a fact sheet.
Find here TGEU Visual Guidelines.