At the inspiring workshop “Lesbian Organizing in Europe” held in Nicosia during the ILGA Europe Conference 2016, we agreed on the need of a European Lesbian* Conference to strengthen our networks, share our knowledge and experience, and start exploring common needs, interests and priorities!
More than 70 lesbian* activists from all over Europe had the opportunity to come together and realize 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.
This workshop and subsequent discussions resulted in the decision to organize a European Lesbian* Conference on 6 – 8 October, 2017, International Lesbian Day. Because positive lesbian* visibility still scares even homosexual women. Because our stories are rarely told, rarely raised and we are increasingly losing track of our own history. Because lesbians* at the forefront of change are still invisible. And because we have never had the opportunity, we have not even been able to articulate our lesbian* needs.
The main aim of the conference will be to bring lesbians* together and begin a dialog about needs and challenges for lesbians* in Europe. Starting with the development of knowledge, practices, actions and memories for feminists and lesbians*, as well as how to increase the visibility of lesbians* and feminists in public space, and strengthen the expertise of lesbians* in the media. We must build expertise on the creation of collective living spaces for elderly lesbians*, promote scientific and medical research on lesbian* health, and recognize that, traditionally, as women lesbians* earn lower pay. We must address internal lesbiphobia, homophobia, and sexism. This conference is the first step in the long-expected and needed construction of a strong lesbian* movement in Europe, that will bring together a diverse team in the organizing committee by making it as inclusive and representative as possible.