EL*C – the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community (EL*C) is an umbrella feminist network of lesbian* organisations and lesbian, bisexual and trans women, and non-binary and intersex persons from over 50 countries of Europe and Central Asia. The EL*C started out of a self-organised space, recognizing the multitude of needs surrounding the rights, the visibility and the well-being of lesbians throughout the region. It was established in 2016 with the aim to improve the lives of lesbians, (re)build the lesbian movement and bring lesbian genius to the world.

EL*C’s objectives and activities

EL*C aims at making lesbian visible, strengthening their participation in decision making spheres, and increasing their access to human rights, social justice, economic justice, and wellbeing. As such, EL*C strives to be a representative, powerful and visible voice of lesbian movements in Europe and Central Asia.

Our activities include:

  • Developing inclusive, diverse and intersectional advocacy and policy strategies, to promote and improve the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of lesbians in Europe and Central Asia at national, regional, European and international levels;
  • Building capacities of the movement by facilitating and supporting the lesbians organisations in priority areas such as: legislation, policy, research and analysis, public awareness raising, etc;
  • Conducting research, collecting, documenting, and analysing data, information, trends and demands of lesbians in Europe and Central Asia;
  • Raising awareness on and fighting all forms of discrimination and exclusion of lesbian communities;
  • Providing financial and political support to facilitate participation and movement building of vulnerable communities of lesbians, including through regranting schemes;
  • Building alliances and strengthening networks through the organization of events, to enhance the visibility, self-determination and autonomy of lesbians in Europe and Central Asia, while reclaiming power within political, economic, social, cultural and media spheres;
  • Developing effective and innovative communication strategies and actions.

Actions in support of refugees from Ukraine

EL*C is not a humanitarian organisation, but mobilising to provide support to our community and those fleeing war was a no-brainer. This is the DNA of our movement : when something goes wrong, we roll up our sleeves – and take action.

Bearing in mind that in every conflict or humanitarian crisis, women, LGBT persons, and members of minority groups, find themselves in more precarious situations, as scapegoating and prejudice is often exacerbated, EL*C undertook to create the needed spaces, and the safe and inclusive routes, where our lesbian communities would not fear lesbophobic violence or discrimination, or be compelled to re-closet themselves and their families.

We are especially aware of the fact that our communities are less likely to seek assistance from the mainstream providers due to lack of trust in the attitudes of authorities (and society at large) towards them and their families. We have indeed observed that lesbians tend to rely on their own – community-based – support systems, which therefore need to be strengthened and sustained, so as to prevent isolation and scarcity for our communities.

For those reasons, EL*C has set up the following actions and services:

  1. Emergency support at the borders of Ukraine in all neighbouring countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania), which include
    • Operating a 24/7 emergency helpline
    • Organising pick-ups at the borders and transportation to the safe houses
    • Managing emergency safe housing
    • Provision of essential goods (food, medicine, hygiene products, clothes, etc)
    • Coordination with NGO partners in neighbouring countries
  2. Relocation to countries across Europe, through our Lesbian Hosting Network
  3. Provision of information and services, including psychological, medical and legal support, help in obtaining other needed services and accessing rights
  4. Collecting and organizing delivery of humanitarian aid in Ukraine
  5. Providing financial assistance to lesbian organisations in the neighbouring countries or inside Ukraine.

This website has been set up to centralise and provide information to lesbian refugees from Ukraine on what EL*C can offer them as well as to provide clarity regarding their rights, as well as how and where to obtain help and services inside the main destination countries in the EU. Ultimately, it aims to facilitate the relocation and integration of lesbians and their families, including through the support of lesbian and/or refugee networks in the host countries.

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