TGEU strengthens the trans voices at the ILGA world conference in Stockholm
More than 450 activists from more than 100 countries in the world met at the ILGA-world conference in December 2012 in Stockholm. The conference was preceded by roughly a dozen pre-conferences and regional caucuses.
Trans activists from around the globe met in the 2-day Trans pre conference to discuss issues relevant on the global level such as the Argentinian Law on Gender Identity, the reform of the ICD 10, sex work and empowerment and visibility of trans people. At the same time RFSL hosted an expert conference on transphobic hate violence, to which TGEU members were invited as experts. Seven TGEU activists came to Stockholm, some of whom took part in the second intersex forum held in conjunction with the conference. TGEU and its partners from the Global South and East held a 2-day Strategic Planning meeting for the Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) project before the conferences, and launched the TvT research report at the pre-conferences and the main conference.
Global Panel on progress, achievements, and challenges in the regions at the trans pre conference: from right to left Carla LaGata (moderator), Wiktor Dynarski (Europe), Tamara Adrián (South America), Dawn Madrona (Asia), Nikki Mawanda (Africa), and Rani Ravundi (Oceania).
When the two co-secretary generals of ILGA addressed the conference participants on the completely overcrowded opening session on Wednesday afternoon, it was already conference day three for most of the TGEU delegates. The Trans pre conference co-organized by RFSL, ILGA, Gate and TGEU had taken place already on Monday and Tuesday. TGEU activists Wiktor Dynarski, Carla LaGata, Kemal Ördek and Maria Sundin contributed as panellists and held workshops. On Tuesday the participants of the conference on transphobic hate crime joined the plenary for the pre-launch of the TvT research report. More than 100 people listened when Senior Researcher Carla LaGata and the TvT partners from Kyrgyzstan, The Philippines, Tonga, and Venezuela presented the research results. The official launch of the report took place two days later on the main conference. The research report has been incredibly well received by trans and LGBT activists and their supporters. The impact of the report has clearly exceed the most optimistic expectations of the TvT team.
Pre-Launch of the TvT research report at the ILGA trans pre conference: from left to right Dawn Madrona (The Philippines), Tamara Adrián (Venezuela), Julia Ehrt (TGEU), Carla LaGata (TGEU)
Trans issues were not only featured at the pre conferences. Throughout the program of the main conference trans issues where highlighted and discussed. Several TGEU activists contributed in panels or in workshops and helped strengthening the trans voices and increasing the visibility of trans people within ILGA. Maria Sundin, co-organizer of the trans pre conference, RFSL board member and Steering Committee member of TGEU highlighted that “the conference probably was the most trans inclusive ILGA conference ever organized”. It is true, many plenary panels and workshops had trans people participating and included trans issues. Even the Prime Minister of Sweden admitted in his address to the conference on Wednesday that despite Sweden excellency in gay and lesbian issues it was not a best practice country in relation to trans rights. His promise to change this “as swiftly as possible” is a sentence trans activists wish to hear more often in the future from such high rank politicians. The Argentinian Law on Gender Identity received special recognition when the Vice-President of Argentina, Amado Boudou collected the ILGA Award 2012 in a ceremony on Wednesday, on behalf of the President of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, acknowledging Argentina efforts regarding LGBTI equality, namely the Argentinean Law on Gender Identity and the Equal Marriage-Act.
Workshop on the reform of the ICD-10; Mauro Cabral (GATE) and Maria Sundin (TGEU)
In the plenary sessions the membership of ILGA took decisions on the future of the organization. One of those was the decision to award the trans secretariat to Diverlex based in Venezuela, as alternate TGEU member Trans Netwerk Nederlands (TNN) was voted in. This vote followed a suggestion brought forward by the trans pre-conference. Moreover following the demands of the 2nd International Intersex Forum, in which TGEU Steering Committee members Kristian Randelovic and Vreer Verkerke participated, an Intersex secretariat was installed. However unfortunately the secretariat was not awarded to any organization despite the willingness of inter organizations to take up this task. This will now have to wait until the next ILGA conference, to be held in 2014 in Mexico.
Julia Ehrt and Carla LaGata