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The Frontline

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Presented by ILGA-Europe, an umbrella organisation for over 600 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) organisations across 54 countries, The Frontline is a podcast about LGBTI activism and lives in Europe and Central Asia. Deep-diving and analysing from a unique and informed perspective, The Frontline aims to bring you to the core of queer activism and give you an understanding on the complexities of what's happening, why it's happening, the wins and the losses, the challenges and commonalities, and the extraordinary ways in which the work of those on the frontlines continues in a rapidly changing world.

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36 Episodes
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Intersectionality is a buzz word that’s often used in the LGBTI activist movement, but what is true intersectionality and how do we fold it into the work we do? How do create the change we want to see in society, so that the less privileged within our communities are recognised, valued, included and heard, and where the specific issues that affect those on the intersections are addressed?Over the past decade, ILGA-Europe’s staff has gone on a learning journey on how to be an organisation that truly adopts an intersectional approach in all our work. In this episode of The Frontline, we’re talking about that journey in real terms. What actually is intersectionality? How do we learn about being truly intersectional and practically put it to use? How do we open ourselves to take on board and learn from critique? And how do we learn from the mistakes we often make?These are some of the questions in this special episode, presented by Valeria Santostefano, a former team member with ILGA-Europe who was active in the intersectionality portfolio, and who has recently joined the team to support internal learning. Valeria is joined by the former Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis, who has been part of the learning for 15 years, and the new Executive Director, Chaber who is taking the work, and the continual learning, forward.Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
Although the swing to the far right predicted in the European elections hasn’t been as radical as expected, with the progressive and centre-right still holding a majority of seats, there have been seismic shifts to the right in a number of member states, including Germany, France and Austria. In this episode of The Frontline we take a look at that this might all mean for LGBTI human rights in the EU over the coming years. Joining our Advocacy Director, Katrin Hugendubel to discuss the election results, the campaigns that led to them, and what the way forward might be are are co-chairs of the LGBTI Intergroup at the European parliament, freshly re-elected MEP’s Marc Angel from the Socialists & Democrats in Luxembourg and Kim van Sparrentak from the Greens/EFA in The Netherlands, alongside activists Luca Dudits from Hatter Society in Hungary and Roberto Muzetta from Arcigay in Italy.Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
In the almost 14 years since Evelyne Paradis became the Executive Director of ILGA-Europe it has grown to become the largest umbrella organisation for LGBTI activism in Europe and Central Asia, playing a key and essential role in resourcing and fostering the LGBTI movement, and influencing political systems towards ever greater consideration of LGBTI people’s equality, freedom and safety in decision making and legislation. The past two years in particular have been a time of unprecedented expansion for ILGA-Europe, both in terms of staff and funding, and in our capacity to support, represent and help build a strong and strategic LGBTI movement in the region.     In this episode of The Frontline, as Evelyne Paradis hands over the reins of leadership to our new Executive Director, Chaber, we sit down with them both to talk about how ILGA-Europe has evolved as an organisation alongside the LGBTI movement over the past decades, and what’s just around the corner, both for the organisation and for the queer activist movement.   Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
For the past 18 years with ILGA-Europe, 15 of which she spent as the organisation’s Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis has worked closely alongside hundreds of LGBTI activists and organisations across Europe and Central Asia. As she gets ready to hand over the reins to our new Executive Director, in this episode of The Frontline, Evelyne talks about how the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia has evolved over her time leading ILGA-Europe, and how ILGA-Europe’s work to build and enhance the movement has evolved and grown too.  What have been the rising priorities in queer activism, and how has ILGA-Europe been both supporting and helping lead the charge? What have been the pitfalls along the way and what are the challenges ahead? And as LGBTI communities and activists face growing opposition from powerful right wing forces across the region, how can the movement further harness is own power to push forward?  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
This is the first of three interviews with ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis as she departs the organisation, after 18 years, nearly 14 of which she spent as its leader. With a decade and half of experience leading Europe’s largest LGBTI umbrella organisation, which is a driving force for political, legal and social change in Europe and Central Asia, Evelyne has had a helicopter view of the growing place of LGBTI rights on political agendas and how all of this has filtered down in the everyday lives of LGBTI people across the regions.   In this episode, Evelyne talks about how politics have evolved over her time leading ILGA-Europe, which included the dawn and global spreading of social media, and how Europe’s political institutions have progressed to include LGBTI people across a broad range of portfolios and initiatives. Is the current EU political system working well to shore up and promote LGBTI equality, or are rainbow rights a victim to an advancing populism across the political spectrum? And what does it take to be a great politician at this time in the world? All these questions and more are answered in this, the first of the Evelyne Paradis exit interviews for The Frontline.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
Every year since 2009, ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map has been ranking the 49 countries that make up Europe based on the legal and policy situations of LGBTI people.  While during this time there has been much movement at the top of the map, with Spain, Finland, Greece and Moldova making big jumps this year, the countries at the bottom have largely been the same since the very first map, namely Russia, Armenia, Turkey, and at the very bottom Azerbaijan. In this episode of The Frontline, we ask the question, if a country stays at the bottom of the Rainbow Map ranking, does it mean there's no queer activism happening there? In countries where advocacy is not possible, and where daily life for LGBTI people is often extremely challenging, what's happening in the work towards LGBTI rights and equality? And is this mostly invisible activism bringing about change for LGBTI people in the countries where it seems life is getting worse rather than better? Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
Released every May since 2009, the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map ranks the legal and policy situation for LGBTI people in all 49 European countries, on a scale between 0% (gross violations of human rights, discrimination) and 100% (respect of human rights, full equality).   This year there was much movement on the map, with Malta holding the top spot and several countries entering the top ten. All of this has been reported across the world, but what truths lie behind the Rainbow Map rankings? Malta has been number one for eight years now, but is it a utopia for LGBTI people, or are there issues in the country that might be pinkwashed by its Rainbow ranking? Are small movements up the chart really representative of what’s happening on the ground for LGBTI people? And what’s happening in the countries that used to be at the top but are now lagging very much behind?  In this episode of The Frontline, exploring the complexities behind the rankings in the annual Rainbow Map, we are joined by guests Robert Attard from the Malta Gay Rights Movement, Simona Mursec from Ljubljana Pride Association in Slovenia and Sophie Schers from Transgender Network in The Netherlands. We’re also joined by Mehmet Akin from the ILGA Europe team, who oversees the collection of data and rankings on the Rainbow Map and Index, and our Advocacy Director, Katrin Hugendubel, to talk about what we see happening now and in the future.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
All too often we hearabout exclusionary forces, or the voices of forces who seek to exclude trans women from the women’s movement, but does this adequately represent the truth? This episode focuses on the ways in which actors in the women’s movement are actively inclusive of trans women, questions the exclusionary narrative that dominates much of the media, and how this dominant narrative is both being driven by and playing into the hands of anti-democratic forces.    We ask what it means for feminism to be inclusive in practical terms and how does inclusiveness impact the work? We explore how inclusionary women’s rights organisations and trans activists are responding to the efforts of exclusionary actors to narrow the frame for feminism, and the lessons learned so far.  With us to investigate the exclusionary narrative and look at it from the more prevalent inclusionary perspective, are Caroline Hickson, Regional Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network; Tanya von Knorring, Executive Director of  Transfeminiinit, Finland and Federal Vice Chair of National LGBTI Finland; and Marion Böker from the German NGO, Deutsche Frauenring, who is also on the board of the International Alliance of Women and the European Women’s Lobby.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
The big story at the beginning of the World Cup 2022 centred on FIFA banning all players on European teams from wearing the ‘One Love’ armband during matches, highlighting the dire human rights situation for LGBTI people in Qatar.     But what happens when divisions over LGBTI issues become the leading stories surrounding a major sporting event like the World Cup? Do these stories serve the LGBTI communities in countries where people are at risk? Do they serve the greater goals of the LGBTI movement for equality? Or is the focus on LGBTI people and LGBTI issues not creating a Rainbow Divide, in which the human rights of one group are separated from the human rights of all?      This episode of The Frontline will explore the complexities around singling out of LGBTI rights at the Qatar World Cup, when so many other human rights abuses are taking place in the country, if it further fuelled an ‘us and them’ human rights narrative, and what responsibility lies with the media in the reporting of this and other LGBTI centred stories.     Our guests are Ryan Heath, Editorial Director with Politico; Gurchaten Sandhu, Director of Programmes at ILGA World, and the Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, Evelyne Paradis.      Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
In the second of our two-part episode, looking at the new wave of accession to the EU and what it will mean for LGBTI people, we're looking at how ILGA-Europe uses the accession process in our advocacy work in Brussels, and we talk about the Serbian government’s anti-democratic instrumentalising of LGBTI people in an effort to try to stop EuroPride in Belgrade this September, and what it means for LGBTI people in that candidate country. We're joined by former member of European Parliament, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marije_CornelissenMarije Cornelissen , who has worked extensively on the accession process; Lenny Emson from Kyiv Pride in Ukraine; Anastasia Danilova from GENDERDOC-M in Moldova; and Danijel Kalezić, who worked for years as the Executive Director of Queer Montenegro , but has now become the Co-director of ERA, the LGBTI Equal  Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey. We’re also joined ILGA-Europe's Advocacy Director, Katrin Hugendubel to talk about our deep and long-term experience of working on accession countries, which has been happening for 25 years now.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
-part episode we’re looking at the new wave of accession to the EU and what it will mean for LGBTI people. With the recent news that Ukraine and Moldova are now candidates to the EU, the topic of EU accession is on the radar again, while Western Balkan countries such as Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro have been going through the process for some years now, and Turkey not acceded since its application in 1987.  With the current state of LGBTI rights in Central Europe, highlighted most recently by the Serbian government’s anti-democratic instrumentalising of LGBTI people in an effort to try to stop EuroPride in Belgrade, how does this kind of backsliding play into the accession process? And what about countries like Ukraine, where LGBTI rights have barely been on the governmental agenda? What are the opportunities to be gained by candidacy for joining the EU?  To discuss these questions and more, we're joined by former member of European Parliament, Marije Cornelissen, who has worked e xtensively on the accession process; Lenny Emson from Kyiv Pride in Ukraine; Anastasia Danilova from GENDERDOC-M in Moldova; and Danijel Kalezić, who worked for years as the Executive Director of Queer Montenegro , but has now become the Co-director of ERA, the LGBTI Equal  Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey. We’re also joined ILGA-Europe's Advocacy Director, Katrin Hugendubel to talk about our deep and long-term experience of working on accession countries, which has been happening for 25 years now.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
In this, the second episode of our new mini-series exploring the opportunities and challenges that come with businesses supporting LGBTI equality, we’re taking a closer look at how business can support LGBTI civil society. With us to talk about how to build partnerships with business in contexts and countries requiring different responses, from advocacy to campaigns, are Nancy Kelley, the Chief Executive of Stonewall, which has long experience working with private business both in the UK and internationally and Noah Kraljević, from the ILGA-Europe member organisation, Expanse of Gender and Media Culture ‘Common Zone’, who has led on LGBTI inclusion in the workplace in Croatia and joins us to talk about engagement with the private sector in the country.   Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
With the war in Ukraine and the Russian threat to democracy it has intensified, now more than ever we need to be working together across many alliances to ensure that equality and freedom are at the cornerstones of European society. Our new mini-series was recorded before the war began, but with it’s deep dive into how actors in the private sector, from big corporates to small and medium businesses, can work with LGBTI organisations to shape a better future for us all, we think it is more important than ever to have this discussion. From making the business case for engagement, to exploring the different ways businesses can work with LGBTI organisations, to a case study in how the coffee giant Starbucks successfully worked with a trans youth organisation to help shift attitudes, this is a series with learnings for both businesses who want to help shape a better world, and LGBTI organisations seeking to work with them. Listen to our introduction to learn more!  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
This is the first episode of our new mini-series exploring the opportunities and challenges that come with businesses supporting LGBTI equality. Over the past few years, more and more companies have been engaging with LGBTI rights and equality, from putting inclusive employment policies in place, to celebrating Pride in their marketing campaigns, to speaking out in favour of laws that would support LGBTI equality. This provides some great opportunities for activist organisations, but it’s not all plain sailing.   Here we look at the rising opportunities and challenges for LGBTI organisations engaging with the private sector. At ILGA-Europe we’ve experienced these first-hand, as businesses have reached out to support our work with and on behalf of our member organisations, and with us to discuss these developments from the ILGA-Europe perspective is our Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis. We're also joined by Jens Schadendorf, independent LGBTI researcher at the chair of business ethics at the Technical University of Munich, and author of the recent book, Gayme Changer: How the LGBT+ Community and their Allies are Changing the Global Economy , which provides and overview of the business arena engaging with LGBTI rights and inclusion, and the impact of that, both on communities and countries. Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
In this, the third and final episode of our mini-series exploring the opportunities and challenges that come with businesses supporting LGBTI equality, we are looking at how companies can bring about positive change through representation in advertising, meaningful campaigns, and partnering with LGBTI organisations. We’re looking at this through the lens of one very successful partnership and campaign, between Mermaids, a UK organisation helping trans, nonbinary and gender diverse children, young people and their families, and the coffee giant, Starbucks. With me to talk about the #WhatsYourName campaign, and what it means in terms of opportunities for partnerships between LGBTI organisations and businesses, is Susie Green, the CEO of Mermaids.      Find out more about to work of Mermaids here.  See the #WhatsYourName campaign here.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
At ILGA-Europe we recognise that the war is not going to be a short-term situation for vulnerable people in Ukraine, Russia, neighbouring countries, and all countries in Europe and Central Asia that are and will be hosting displaced people. With our deep and nuanced knowledge of the human rights situation for LGBTI people across Europe and Central Asia, we know that there will be great complexity and particular vulnerabilities in the experience of LGBTI refugees, and of those LGBTI people who are either forced, or choose to remain in Ukraine and Russia.  In this episode we’re talking about how we at ILGA-Europe are responding to the war in Ukraine, and in particular the effects on LGBTI people, both in Ukraine and Russia, in neighbouring countries, and all host countries across Europe and Central Asia. With us to talk about the current situation, from ILGA-Europe’s perspective, combined with what we know from our member organisations in Ukraine, Russia and across the region, is our Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis. Find out more about our Information, Action, Direction initiative working to support LGBTI people caught up in the war in Ukraine here .  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
In this episode of The Frontline, we are looking back at the year that was 2021, and what it meant for the LGBTI movement in Europe. It was a year of further lockdowns, of new strains of the COVID virus, and the uncertainty they have brought, and most of all, enormous reverberations of the unprecedented events of 2020 on people’s lives. At ILGA-Europe, when the pandemic first kicked in, our motto was ‘the work goes on’, and that work most certainly continued apace throughout 2021, with the growth of a perceived east-west divide in Europe over LGBTI rights, infringement procedures taken by the European Commission against Hungary and Poland because of their anti-LGBTI laws and programs, a sharp rise in the demonisation and isolation of trans people from the women’s movement, and an overall rise in authoritarian regimes seeking to instrumentalise LGBTI lives to limit the rights of others. So, it’s perhaps strange that our guest in this episode, ILGA-Europe's Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis finds great hope for the LGBTI movement amid the storm. Listen now, and find out why!  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
Since the beginning of 2020, we have been deeply reminded that change can come unexpectedly and can wreak havoc. We’ve also seen in stark ways how our ability to deal with change is so often framed by bigger structures of inequalities, and most of us have been left with more questions than we have answers.  This episode of The Frontline features an enlightening conversation about navigating change as an activist, between ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director Evelyne Paradis and Natia Gvianishvili, who has been actively engaged with local, regional and international LGBTI and feminist movements for over a decade now. Natia began her activist life in Georgia, and she currently resides in Sweden, where she works with the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights (RSFL). Evelyne and Natia chat about how change affects activists and activism, and deliberately exploring our relationship with change so that we can find our own compass when navigating a constantly transforming world.  Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
One thing is always clear, no activist or activism organisation can work alone, and the work needs support. But where can that support be found, how can it be accessed, and when it comes through, how can you use it effectively? In this episode, we’re exploring what it means and what it takes to be supported during the highs and lows of everyday activism. We’ll be taking a look at how international and foreign support can be experienced by LGBTI activists in the movement, the difference it can make, and what it takes to get that support and make real use of it.   Joining us to chat about support and empowerment are Stefan Sparavalo from Da se Zna in Serbia and Marty Huber, from Queer Base in Austria.   For more about how we support the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia, click here   We create resources and learning opportunities we create for activists, see our resource about communications   For examples of our past funding opportunities, click here and here   For information about our annual events for activists, this year the Gathering Online, click here  Join and use our free Resource Sharing Centre for LGBTI activists, The Hub  See one of our surveys to provide direction to our work and the movement here   Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
Wellbeing challenges have been affecting the work of the LGBTI movement for decades, but it is only recently that activists have begun talking about their wellbeing as an issue. While a number organisations and groups have already taken concrete steps to address wellbeing, there’s no golden rule on how to approach these challenges. In this episode we share what ILGA-Europe has been doing to support the wellbeing of the movement. Joining us are David Kakhaberi, the executive director of Equality Movement in Georgia, and Eka Tseriteli, executive director of Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group, also in Georgia, to talk about the distinctive approaches they’ve used to tackle wellbeing issues for their teams.   For more about how we support the LGBTI movement in Europe and Central Asia, click here   We create resources and learning opportunities we create for activists, see our resource about communications   For examples of our past funding opportunities, click here and here   For information about our annual events for activists, this year the Gathering Online, click here  Join and use our free Resource Sharing Centre for LGBTI activists, The Hub  See one of our surveys to provide direction to our work and the movement here   Hosted by Ausha. See ausha.co/privacy-policy for more information.
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