2019 is the fifth consecutive year of growth and development for IGLYO, with a steady increase in funding, including small, but significant steps into corporate partnership and community fundraising, considerable improvements around membership engagement and expansion, further growth of our online capacity-building work, and a marked increase in our advocacy efforts with regard to education.

Following the launch of the first LGBTQI Inclusive Education Report, Index & Map in 2018, we’ve continued our work to ensure that schools are safe, inclusive and supportive of all learners.

Working with TGEU, OII Europe, and 16 member organisations, we’ve developed the first European-wide LGBTQI Inclusive Education Survey to gather the views and experiences of learners aged 13 –24. The survey and campaign were translated into 15 different languages and we received over 14.000 responses. This vital data not only gave us a clearer picture of LGBTQI learners’ lived realities, it helped strengthen IGLYO’s advocacy work with European institutions and national governments. By providing current data on the issues still faced in schools, we are better placed to lobby for positive change in state education systems.

Later on, together with the Council of Europe SOGI Unit, we have organised the first peer to peer roundtable provided by the Member States with the opportunity to discuss future actions regarding inclusive education and examine existing best practices.

We have also attended the 7th IDAHOT Forum held in Oslo. During the programme, IGLYO learnt about the latest developments in LGBTQI rights from the Council of Europe, the OECD, EU Fundamental Rights Agency, and the European Commission. The forum also provides a vital opportunity to connect with government representatives and other civil society organisations.

Later in the year, we’ve launched our second research report in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. This exciting research provided an overview and analysis of legal gender recognition based on self-determination and how it applies to minors in a number of relevant countries in Europe: Malta, Norway and Belgium. The report also focused on countries which have self-determination but have not as of yet extended this to minors: United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and France. The report details the current legal status, but also an account of the process that has led to this being achieved as possible guidance for advocates and campaigners in other Member States.

We were invited to meet with Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert on SOGI during the ILGA World Conference. We have highlighted our work on inclusive education, stressing that lack of mandatory teacher training, LGBTQI inclusive teaching materials, and lack of data on SOGIESC-based bullying.

2019 also saw the third edition of IGLYO’s Activist Academy, held in Coimbra, Portugal in partnership with our member organisation rede ex aequo. The intensive training event, designed for young people at the beginning of their activist journey involves taking part in a series of practical skills-building sessions, such as public speaking, filmmaking, campaigning, project design, and facilitation. This year the Academy was increased to six days to include time for the participants to learn more about each other’s organisations and work and encourage greater collaboration between the network of members. This high-quality training is an important tool to ensure that the LGBTQI movement continues to grow and ensure that younger activists have the necessary skills and connections to tackle the increasing threats to LGBTQI rights across Europe.

To ensure the IGLYO network continues to grow and diversify, several activities in 2019 focused specifically on membership. IGLYO’s most comprehensive membership survey was developed and disseminated across the network, with a completion rate of 70%. This data will help us ensure that we can better support our members and design future activities to meet the specific needs of the network.

A new membership package was also created and launched to highlight the benefits of the network and attract new organisations to join.

Finally, as part of the 35th-anniversary celebrations, we have begun working with the alumni to re-connect them with the organisation and explore opportunities to contribute to our work. The new alumni database already has over 40 registrations and we are delighted that around 20 members joined us for a day of the Annual Members’ Conference for some inter-generational learning and alumni network planning, but also for a celebratory party.

This year we have also partnered with a consortium of LGBTQI organisations in the Western Balkans and Turkey as part of a three-year project, The Time Is Now. We’ve developed and delivered two capacity-building trainings on financial management and governance to ensure that members in the region have robust policies and processes in place to both develop and sustain their organisations.

Working with youth participants from across the globe, we’ve also co-facilitated a day of capacity-building and empowerment activities, encouraging the attendees to identify common themes and challenges within their work at the ILGA World Youth Pre-Conference.

When it comes to online learning, we’ve launched online courses on Financial management, Facilitation, Anti-racism and Public speaking.

Over 2019 IGLYO has received valuable support and guidance from its Governance Team – Chaber and Patricia Prendeville – we greatly appreciate their contributions and look forward to continuing our work with them in 2020. Our main international events would not be possible without the support of our host organisations- Seta’s financial and endless logistical support with the Annual Members’ Conference and rede ex aequo’s logistical support with the Activist Academy.

When it comes to the rest of the team, it included our Staff – Euan Platt (Executive Director), Tudor Kovacs (Programmes Manager, Karo Börner (Finance & Administration Officer), Rubén Ávila (Education Officer), Olave Basabose (Membership Officer) and Mina Tolu (Communications Consultant), and Executive Board – Anna Robinson (EMA), Evan Grm (TransAkcija), Mari Kurtanidze (Equality Movement), Petra Tomašić (Trans Aid), Michael Gowan (LGBT Youth Scotland) and Yuri Yourski (ECOM).

The IGLYO Board, Executive Director and Programmes Manager met four times over 2019 – Nicosia, Cyprus (February), Dublin, Ireland (April), Sofia, Bulgaria (August) and Brussels, Belgium (December).

During these meetings training sessions were delivered on financial skills, networking, group facilitation, supporting event participants, and public speaking. Member meetings and events were also included in each agenda. A community event in Nicosia with speakers from Queer Cyprus and Accept Cyprus, a panel discussion with BeLonG To, ITSA, and USI Ireland in Dublin, a meet and greet evening with Single Step, Youth LGBT Organization Deystvie and an open night in IGLYO’s offices for Belgian members and partners. The board meetings are also crucial for making strategic decisions, reviewing the organisational work plan and ensuring board and staff are updated on each other’s work.