The Eurocentralasian Lesbian* Community – EL*C is a lesbian feminist and intersectional network. The EL*C started out of a self-organised space six years ago, recognizing the multitude of needs surrounding the rights, the visibility and the well-being of lesbians throughout Europe and Central Asia. Our conferences are our lighthouses – shaping connections, sharing knowledge, finding common languages and understandings of our diversities, building bridges that reach and impact far beyond the time and space at which they take place.
During the 2016 annual ILGA Europe Conference held in Cyprus, a specific lesbian workshop took place for the first time in years. More than 70 lesbian activists from all over Europe had the opportunity to come together and realise that, despite differences in political, legal and financial status within the European lesbian movements, there is a common and urgent need to focus on lesbians needs, struggles and oppression, to empower and to increase our visibility and broaden networks.
We strive for a world in which we lesbians live and love autonomously and self-determined, embedded in and uplifted by our lesbian legacies, free and powerful in our actions and desires, engaged and enamored with each other individually and collectively as companions and through practices of solidarity, thoughtfully and joyfully navigating through our differences, polarities, contradictions and ironies, entangled and connected with the pastpresentfuture processes and entities of the earth, regenerating and reconstructing utopian dreams and universes; rebellious, passionate, courageous: lesbian genius.
Bringing lesbian genius to the world.
Our aim is to have an inclusive European and Central Asian lesbian network. We insist on calling it a lesbian although we recognize that, as with any category or label, it may be contested and insufficient to describe the diversity of our communities. We are aware that many previous lesbian gatherings have struggled with issues about who should or should not be included at the conference. However, using the word “lesbian” is part of the political struggle for visibility, empowerment and representation. We therefore use “lesbian*” in our name with an asterisk, so as to include anyone who identifies as lesbian, feminist, bi, trans or queer, and all those who feel connected to lesbian activism.
→ to build a movement and a platform for lesbians by lesbians
→ to address and to change the lack of funding for lesbian-centred projects and lesbian-led organisations throughout Europe and Central Asia
→ to assess and to address the needs of lesbians throughout Europe and Central Asia, especially in relation to their invisibility
→ to halt the ongoing disappearance of lesbian spaces and to (re-)create diverse and intergenerational social localities and communities by and for lesbians
→ to highlight and to analyse the historical contributions and achievements of lesbians in thinking, building and living alternative ways of social relationships and community organising
→ to tackle the prevalence of misogyny and sexism within the broader LGBTIQ movement and the subsequent considerable lack of lesbian participation, representation and leadership
→ to address the lack of policies and measures that ensure the rights and the well-being of lesbians on national levels as well as throughout Europe and Central Asia
→ to strengthen lesbian politics and to create new and different narratives for European politics
→ to confront the rise of far-right, nationalist, conservative and religiously fundamental political parties and groups on a pan-European and global level
→ to counter the cross-cultural and mass-scale level of femicide (including lesbicide) – the murder of females (women, girls, infants) – often motivated by misogyny
→ to expose the misogyny and lesbophobia in the public representation of lesbians as well as the sexualisation, victimisation, vilification, pornografication and commodification of lesbian lives
→ to foster meaningful and sustainable alliances with feminist and social justice movements as well as with other intersectional communities
Addressing and transforming these challenges requires a holistic approach that incorporates various forms of interventions that are linked to each other and build on each other, including on different levels, following different timelines and with varying intensities.
→ ACTION: reflection, empowerment, transformation
→ ADVOCACY: equality, safety, rights through policies & laws
→ LESBIAN VISIBILITY: socio-political discourse and media representation
→ NETWORKING: solidarity, alliances, collaborations
→ RESOURCES & FUNDING: spaces, communities, movements
→ LESBIAN SELF-REFERENTIALITY: self-acceptance, reduced (internalised) stigma, sharing