We are planning the first Global Feminist LBQ Women's* Conference, which will take place between 6-9 July, 2019, in South Africa. The conference is organized by a working group consisting of 22 LBQ women* activists with different backgrounds and representing all regions of the globe.
The key themes for this conference are: ‘Leading - Healing - Transforming’.
This conference is a space to recognize, celebrate and affirm the experiences, needs, organizing and activism of lesbian, bisexual and queer women*, based on self-determination.
The priority is to center women, including Intersex, Trans, Cisgender and all people who identify as women with marginalized sexualities.
Women* prioritizes people who identify as women, but includes Gender Non-conforming and Non-binary people.
Research which looked at over 70 countries over a 40 year period showed that the presence of autonomous, feminist movements are the most important factor in realizing progressive social change on issues of violence against women and bodily autonomy, and crucial to realizing the domestication of international norms and policies.
In this vein, we have decided to name this event, the “Global Feminist LBQ Women's* Conference”.
About the Organizers
The conference is being organized by a ‘working group’ made up of 22 LBQ women* activists based in all continents.
There is an ‘advisory committee’ mandated to give sporadic support on specific matters. COC Netherlands is part of the process as the facilitation hub and will act as the fiscal agent for the conference.
To ease the planning process, the working group has been structured into various ‘sub-committees.’ All members of the working group and the advisory committee are working on a voluntary basis.
In order to find a local conference host, an open call was sent in multiple languages for eligible LBQ groups based in the Global South to apply.
The local host will be a key actor in the planning of the conference, as it will become a key focal point for all logistics and implementation on the ground.
The local organization will be guided by a series of deliverables shared in their Terms of References, and supported financially for human and material resources needed to help organize the conference.
LBQ women* live within a diversity of localized contexts, however, state-sponsored homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia, cut across all countries.
This oppression results from interconnected patriarchal structures centered around the policing of women’s* bodies.
In these systems promoting heteronormativity, LBQ women* are more at risk of violence and exclusion.
Our approach must therefore be intersectional based on the premise that the policing arises from interconnected structures where patriarchy manifests itself in economics, neoliberal policies, securitization and militarization, citizenship, states reneging on social welfare and environmental responsibilities, and the privatization of essential resources like water, forests, and land.
On a global scale approximately 40 percent of states, or understood another way 75 states, criminalize same-sex sexual conduct.
In its unpublished report, ‘LBQ Women Thematic Context Analysis,’ COC Netherlands notes that the lack of space for LBQ organising is relevant across the globe regardless of the laws in place: “Another factor, identified in conversation with LBQ activists, which cuts across countries, is the lack of space for LBQ women to be in community and to organize.
This, in countries that criminalize same-sex sexual conduct, is in part due to the inability to legally register LBQ organizations and to laws that make open LBQ organizing dangerous and punishable.
In countries that do not specifically criminalize LBQ women, issues that affect the ability to access social and organizing spaces are often related to lack of financial resources that are often necessary to be able to secure spaces for gathering consistently.”
For the reasons mentioned above, it is time for LBQ women to have a visible movement with a well-articulated agenda that reflects their needs and their diversity.
The Global Feminist LBQ Women's* Conference is the physical articulation of this urge stated many times before in prior settings.
The organisers would like to acknowledge, in particular, the participants of the 2004 International Women’s Health meeting in India, where a lesbian and bisexual women’s caucus took place, as well as the participants of the Women’s Pre-Conference at the ILGA-World in Sweden 2012, the participants of the Global LGBT Human Rights Donors’ conference hosted in 2014 by the US State Department, and the LBQ caucus organisers at ILGA Asia 2017 for laying the groundwork for the Global Feminist LBQ Women's* Conference.
Also the organizers of the European Lesbian* Conference in 2017 in Vienna played a key role by contributing to the reinforcement of the European Lesbian* movement.
CONFERENCE OBJECTIVES & VALUES
Among the key objectives of the conference are:
✔ To provide a safe and exclusive space for LBQ women* to set a global agenda
✔ To identify key issues of concern to LBQ women*
✔ To provide a forum for networking across movements and fields
✔ To identify existing resources and capacities in the movement
✔ To strategize towards resource mobilization for interventions targeting LBQ women*
✔ To increase the representation of LBQ women* in the feminist and women’s rights movements and make them more sensitive to LBQ women’s* issues.
✔ To increase the representation of and leadership by LBQ women* in the wider LGBTIQ+ movements
The conference will be grounded in the following values: Grounding in the land, Accessibility, Representation, Feminism, Collective ownership, Participation, Sustainability, and Environmental awareness.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
The target audience includes LBQ women* activists from around the world. We aim to reach up to 500 participants in total.
Among the participants we also aim to attract funders, as well as business and government representatives in order to diverge into as many areas as possible to improve the lives of LBQ women*.
The conference will take place over 5 days, centering the themes of "Leading - Healing - Transforming."
Each day will open with an artistic performance and plenary, and there will be parallel workshops scheduled throughout the day based on proposals from LBQ activists around the world.
Additionally, we will create spaces where self-initiated sessions can take place, and have a hub dedicated to healing and well-being for activists.
The conference will serve as a strategic platform to help reinforce the global LBQ women’s* movement with the capacity to influence the world agenda on human rights, health, development.
An online report summarizing the discussions will be made available after the conference.
Participants will leave with a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities, strategies, and priorities of different LBQ women’s* groups and individuals.
The event will also be a healing, energizing and enriching experience for those taking part, be it as participant or organizer.
FUNDING NEEDS AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT
We are looking for support from various funders, including human rights and LGBTIQ+ funders, but also from the business and public sectors.
A conference budget is available upon request with an outline of all the specific items the organizers are looking for in regards to funding.
As organizers, we aim to make the conference accessible for all interested LBQ women*. To make this possible, we are looking for funders to help sponsor 200 scholarships.
The conference will be a good opportunity for funders to get a better grasp of the state of LBQ women’s* issues around the globe and to meet with current and potential grantees in one location.
For these reasons we encourage funding bodies to attend the conference.
For further information, please contact the conference organizers: