Building Communities of Trust – Project 2 (2016-17) Summary

  1. Project Background

The project was designed in partnership with ILGA to support member state partnerships to take action on a priority topic for ENORB anti-discrimination work identified by grassroots religion and belief (R&B) organisations at the ENORB Assemblée Générale: the interface between religion and belief (R&B) and LGBT rights.

It builds on a 2015 pilot project, which found that it was not easy to tackle this issue directly in some member state or religious contexts. We will therefore also support seminars which enable the topic to be discussed under a related title, such as human rights, ‘traditional values v European values’, or freedom to express one’s identity as a religious or other minority.

  1. Project Aim

To build partnerships of R&B, LGBTI and Human Rights organisations in at least ten European countries, to promote mutual understanding between R&B and LGBT communities and reduce prejudice, discrimination and hate crime.
2.1 Objectives

To support seminars, events or smaller initiatives (eg within religion or belief traditions), which create safe spaces to explore sources of conflict between R&B and LGBT communities, and to build solidarity on the basis of human rights, and shared experiences of discrimination and persecution;

To support ongoing campaigning activities, between R&B and LGBT communities, appropriate to each national context;
To develop new narratives and materials based on mutual understanding within and between R&B and LGBT communities, human rights and shared values;
To increase governmental commitment at EU and country levels to policies that promote equalities and anti-discrimination on R&B and LGBT grounds.

  1. Key Deliverables
  • Project Launch Workshop by in Brussels on LGBT Rights and Freedom of Religion/Belief – September 13-14 2016
  • Exploratory meetings with c15 European countries wishing to organise seminars/events
  • At least 10 seminars/events in member states on human rights for R&B and LGBT groups
  • Support to existing initiatives launched with seminars or workshops under the 2015 project;
  • A report and sample materials suitable for use in similar initiatives in other member states.


  1. Further Information


3.1 ENORB/ILGA Launch Workshop – in Brussels, will bring together participants from member states, including ENORB and ILGA member organisations, representatives from National Equality Bodies/Ombudsmen, with two aims:

– to agree a common approach, on the basis of shared values and human rights;

– to develop initial plans for seminars/meetings and ongoing action in member states.

The 10 member state partnerships to be supported will be selected from those who have expressed interest in the project, and attended the initial workshop.

3.2 New Seminars/campaigns in member-states.

Each member state partnership should include local R&B, Human Rights and LGBT organisations, with national equality bodies wherever possible, in order to organise:

– local launch seminars/events to explore the interface between R&B and LGBT rights, (including identifying any forces opposed to implementing human rights for R&B and LGBT groups)

– follow-up campaigning activity to promote change in attitudes and reduce discrimination and hate speech, especially at political level, or within R&B traditions where there is hostility to LGBT rights

– support the full implementation of EU fundamental rights on these issues in all member states. Funding (€500+) will be available from project funds to support these seminars/campaigns.

3.3 Support to Existing Partnerships from the 2015 Project

Existing pilot member state partnerships, set up under the 2015 project, will receive support from the member of the project team who worked with them in 2015. The main aim will be to support initiatives to create safe spaces for discussion within the dominant Church, or religious or belief structures, especially where there is opposition to LGBT rights.

3.3 Methodology. The project will develop refined and locally adapted models of dynamic change, based on those ENORB and ILGA have developed to take account of the deeply-held nature of religious and non-religious beliefs, and of the strong views and prejudices on sexuality and relationships. This means creating safe spaces for open and honest dialogue, where controversial views and doctrines – including some which may conflict with fundamental EU values and human rights – may be expressed, explored and exposed to critique. The process will also include, wherever possible, exchange of experiences of persecution and discrimination, including by victims, shared between R&B and LGBT minoroities. The aim will be to build mutual trust, understanding, attitude change and potential for action by both communities, including future campaigning by local partnerships, and further dialogue within specific R&B communities, with the aim of stimulating long-term change.

3.4 Project Organisation. The project’s approach will be to support local initiatives appropriate to each national context, focusing on key local topics and issues, not to impose a central model.  The project will be organised by ENORB, with a project manager, Mark Barwick, based in Brussels, and a team of ENORB experts available to support the partnerships and seminars in member states. ENORB and ILGA will also provide or suggest speakers and sample materials for local seminars where required.

3.5 Member State Partnerships. These are designed to bring together coalitions of people/ organisations from local religious traditions, human rights and LGBT groups to work together on these issues. Local grants of €500 will be available for each member state partnership – to support the planning and organisation of seminars/events, with additional support for ongoing campaigning activities in some circumstances.

Existing pilot member state partnerships, set up under the 2015 project, will receive similar support from a member of the project team.