Other Group

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA)

Website:

ilga.org/

Type:

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

Founded:

1978

Executive Director:

Julia Ehrt

Location:

5th Floor, 20 Rue Rothschild 1202

Geneva, Switzerland

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association, originally called simply the International Gay Association, was founded in Coventry, England in 1978 following a meeting chaired by activists Rob Pistor and Peter Ashman  at the annual conference of the of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, which was attended by representatives of organizations from Australia, Britain, Denmark, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, and the United States of America. Organizations represented at the meeting included Gay Liberation Sydney, the Victorian Homosexual Law Reform Coalition, the National Gay Federation, and FOURI! [1]

The new organization, which was initially only composed of men, according to its inaugural press release, was concerned with decriminalizing homosexuality. Particularly, the organization sought to “maximise the effectiveness of gay organizations by coordinating political action on an international level” and “apply concerted political pressure on governments and international institutions.” [2]

In April 1979, the organization hosted its first World Conference in the Netherlands, receiving a total of 65 delegates from 17 countries. Later, in 1980, the organization, which then began to include lesbian women, changed its name to the International Association of Gay Women and Men. [3]

In October 1981, plaintiff Jeff Dudgeon and a member of his legal team, Peter Ashman, both activists associated with and involved in the founding of the Association, successfully won a case, Dudgeon v United Kingdom, in the European Court of Human Rights wherein the court found that the criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults constituted a violation of human rights. [4] Likewise, in April 1993, another Association-affiliated activist, Alecos Modinos, won a case, Modinos v. Cyprus, at the same court contesting a ban on homosexual acts between men in Cyprus. [5] [6]

Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

In July 1993, the Association acquired consultative status at the United Nations, gaining the right to attend but not vote at the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In the following September, the governments of the United States, Canada, and Australia criticized the Association’s new status with reference to its then-member organization, the pro-pedophilia North American Man Boy Love Association (NABMLA). Additionally, in September 1994, news outlets in the U.S. publicized that a Munich-based member of the Association was hosting meetings supportive of pedophilia, leading to a public criticism of the organization’s activity from then-U.S. Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC). Shortly afterward, the Association’s consultative status was suspended by the ECOSOC. [7] [8]

In 1993, the Association had expelled NAMBLA and other groups cited as pro-pedophilia organizations, and in 1996, the Association introduced a four-step screening process to ensure that pro-pedophilia groups not be admitted. In 1997, at the Association’s world conference in Cologne, Germany, the organization adopted a new constitution containing language about children in the preamble, noting “the need for their protection from abuse.” [9] [10]

In July 2011, following a resolution proposed by Belgium and co-sponsored by the U.S., the ECOSOC Council voted in favor of granting the Association consultative status, which it has retained as of October 28, 2022. [11] [12]

Name Change

In November 2008, at the Association’s 24th world conference in Vienna, Austria, the Association voted in favor of changing its name to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association. [13]

Julia Ehrt

Julia Ehrt has been the executive director of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association since November 2021 and was previously the Association’s director of programs. Before working with the Association, Ehrt was the executive director of Transgender Europe, a founding Steering Committee member of the International Trans Fund, and a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development. [14]

References

  1. Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  2.  Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  3. Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  4. [1] “CASE OF DUDGEON v. THE UNITED KINGDOM.” European Court of Human Rights. October 22, 1981. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-57473%22]} ^
  5.  Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  6. “Modinos v. Cyprus.” European Commission of Human Rights. December 3, 1991. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/app/conversion/pdf/?library=ECHR&id=001-73503&filename=MODINOS%20v.%20CYPRUS.pdf ^
  7. “ILGA and the ECOSOC Status controversy.” ILGA. Accessed October 28, 2022.  https://ilga.org/ilga-ecosoc-status-controversy ^
  8. Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  9. “ILGA and the ECOSOC Status controversy.” ILGA. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-ecosoc-status-controversy ^
  10. Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  11. “ILGA and the ECOSOC Status controversy.” ILGA. Accessed October 28, 2022.  https://ilga.org/ilga-ecosoc-status-controversy ^
  12. Villarino, Eliza. “UN consultative status for NGOs: politics, processes and privileges.” DEVEX. August 25, 2011. Accessed October 28, 2022.  https://www.devex.com/news/un-consultative-status-for-ngos-politics-processes-and-privileges-75702 ^
  13. Paternotte, David, Apellaniz, Alex Cosials, Tong , David, Warner, Nigel, and Barris, Stephen, . “The history of ILGA: 1978/2012.” ILGA. 2012. Accessed October 28, 2022. https://ilga.org/ilga-history ^
  14. “Julia Ehrt.” ILGA. Accessed October 28, 2022. ^
  See an error? Let us know!