ILGA-Europe is an association of more than 600 organisations from 54 countries in Europe and Central Asia that advocates for the human rights and equality of LGBTI people. The Sigrid Rausing Trust supported ILGA-Europe from 2002 to 2017. At the time, says Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s executive director, LGBT rights were just beginning to be recognised as human rights. “2002 was a turning point for us,” she says. “We had just received EU funding and the Trust’s grant gave us the freedom to work in Eastern Europe and other countries outside the EU and on issues beyond sexual orientation, which our EU funding limited us to.”
According to Paradis, core funding from the Trust also allowed them to engage more meaningfully with the Council of Europe, where key standards are set, and to use strategic litigation at European courts. Over the years, their work has helped advance LGBTI rights with regard to asylum, hate crime and hate speech, education, employment, family, freedom of assembly, association and expression, health, legal gender recognition and bodily integrity.
The Trust’s early support for ILGA-Europe helped it become a stronger organisation and offer training and support to members and other LGBTI groups, says Paradis. Topics include advocacy, fundraising, organisational development and strategic communications. She adds: “Today, we also fund others, helping to sustain and grow a movement of LGBTI activists across Europe.”