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World Pride 2021 Copenhagen - Good impact for the Alliance

World Pride was held in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden August 12-22 and for the first time the European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance took an active part in the program. Together with a few MEP:s and MP:s from the EPP the Alliance made a good impact to show that the centre-right – the Christian Democrats and the Conservatives – are an integral part of the Pride-family and has relevant and important policies and perspectives to contribute.

The Alliance organised its own break-out session as part of the official program for the Human Rights Conference/Pre-Interparliamentary Conference on Thursday August 19th. The Alliance was also represented at the official EPP meet and greet earlier the same day and took part of two panel discussion organised by others during the conference days. An event was also organised in Malmö in cooperation with the Swedish member organisation Öppna Moderater.

The Alliance was represented in Copenhagen by President Fredrik Saweståhl, Öppna Moderater, Sweden, Vice President Gerben Horst, CDA Pride Netwerk, the Netherlands and board member Alexander Vogt, LSU, Germany.

Tuesday and Wednesday August 17th and 18th – Human Rights Conference

On Tuesday the Human Rights Conference was officially opened by Crown Princes Mary of Denmark with a powerful speech about the importance of being able to be yourself in an open and tolerant society. During these first two day of the conference several topics were covered in presentations, speeches and panel discussions, ranging from the impact of COVID19 on the LGBT+ Community to the role of Europe for LGBT+ inclusion at home and abroad.

The second day was specially devoted to workplace inclusion – a topic the Alliance has addressed in our work to support the anti-discrimination directive. Vice President Gerben Horst represented these two days the Alliance. First contacts with other participants of NGO’s and political parties were established these days.

Thursday August 19th – Human Rights Conference

The different party groups in the European Parliament were given the opportunity to show case themselves during the first break-out session. The EPP:s meet and greet drew interest from a number of participants that wanted to know more about the EPP and about the Alliance. MEP Maria Walsh of Fine Gael, Ireland, hosted the meet and greet.

During the second break-out session the Alliance hosted one of three electable seminars. Again, this drew interest and the allocated sphere was well attended. The session focused on health issues, not least mental health with the headline “Equal access and better health care for the LGBTIQ community”.

The panel was moderated by Alliance president Fredrik Saweståhl. And the distinguished panel featured German minister of health Jens Spahn, CDU, Norwegian minister of health Bent Høie, Høyre, and MEP Maria Walsh, Fine Gael, Ireland, who serves as co-chair of the European Parliaments LGBTI Intergroup and on the committee on Social Affairs and the committee on Culture and Education.

The discussion covered several important topics such as the effects from the pandemic on the health of the LGBT+ community especially mental health challenges, better access to health care for Trans persons, how to avoid discrimination towards the LGBT+ community in the health care sector, issues concerning young LGBT+ persons, banning conversion therapy and more.

(See video below)

Thursday evening a side event was organised by a number of MEP:s from the LGBTI Intergroup under the headline “PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUSES ON LGBTIQ RIGHTS: ENGAGING POLICY- AND LAW-MAKERS”. During the event Alliance president Fredrik Saweståhl took part of one of the panels. A panel that also featured representatives from the S&D LGBT+ network Rainbow Rose, the LGBTI Liberals of Europe, the Greens, and the Left. The focus of the panel was the work of the different LGBT+ networks. From our side our cooperation with the EPP was highlighted as well as some practical projects that the Alliance has undertaken such as

* An inspiration paper based on a survey of access to health care and rights for Trans persons in countries where the Alliance has member organisations,

* The ongoing project to give the Alliance comprehensive view of the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy

* The letter sent to cities and municipalities run by an EPP mayor that has a Polish twin town in the countries where the Alliance has member organisations asking the mayors to raise the issue of LGBT+ right with their Polish counterparts and especially focus on the need to abolish any so-called LGBT free zones in Poland.

(See video below)

Friday August 20th – Interparliamentary conference and more

The official Interparliamentary Conference took place in the Danish parliament Folketinget on Friday August 20th. The Alliance took part as guest together with MP:s, MEP:s and other legislators. The conference was opened by the president of Iceland. Speeches were among other given by two EPP legislators leader of Konservative, Denmark Søren Pape Poulsen and Swedish MP Margareta Cederfelt in the capacity as President of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA). The conference was a good opportunity to network and to create a stronger awareness of the work of the Alliance.

Friday evening a mingle and seminar was held in Malmö organised by the Alliance and the Swedish member organisation Öppna Moderater. The event was for members and the panel was streamed. Both Alliance president Fredrik Saweståhl and vice president Gerben Horst took part in the panel discussing among other things the situation in Poland, the challenges of finding a balance between what issues concerning LGBT+ that can be handled on the EU-level and the national level and freedom of movement in Europe. 

Saturday August 21st – Parade and more

Saturday morning president Fredrik Saweståhl took part of a seminar as one of the speakers to give the centre-right perspective on the topic “Securing access to all parents for children of LGBTI families – towards equal right for LGBTI families as EU citizens”. The event was organised by the European Parliaments intergroup on Children’s Rights and hosted at Folketinget. A number of MEP:s also contributed with their perspectives during the event as did three young activist from Spain all raised in rainbow (LGBTI) families. 

Saturday also saw the colourful World Pride Parade march through Copenhagen. The Alliance and the EPP where represented as part of the larger contingent of participants at the Human Rights and the Interparliamentary conference. The number of participants was limited due to the restrictions in place in Denmark. None the less MEP Maria Walsh, Belgian Senator, and member if the Flemish parliament Orry Van de Wauwer marched together with the Alliance vice president Gerben Horst and board member Alexander Vogt.