ILGA-Europe holds record-breaking conference

The 13th annual conference of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (aka ILGA-Europe), held Oct. 27 to Nov. 1 in Malta, was the group’s largest ever.

More than 300 people from 48 countries took part in the gathering, which focused on “Overcoming Cultural and Religious Barriers to LGBT Equality.”

Keynote speakers included Ulrike Lunacek, an Austrian member of the European Parliament; Maltese MP Francis Agius, head of Malta’s delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Belinda Pyke, director of a European Commission agency concerned with equality and discrimination; Louis Galea, speaker of Malta’s House of Representatives; Maltese MP Evarist Bartolo; former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria, who is transgender; and Frits Huffnagel, deputy mayor of The Hague, Netherlands.

The conference attracted extensive positive coverage in local media.

Before the gathering kicked off, representatives of ILGA-Europe’s board and staff met with Maltese President George Abela, the first head of state to host the group in conjunction with its annual confab.

Abela said information and education are important in tackling discrimination and fostering acceptance of differences — and that Malta has seen progress in GLBT acceptance.

He also stated that love is the most important thing there is and that it can’t be “graded” based on sexual orientation.

By Rex Wockner


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