I was happy and proud to participate in the inauguration of the ALDE network for LBGT rights. A fringe event this morning at the ALDE Party conference, which had been organised by Giles Goodall, Liberal Democrats, UK, Friso Rip, International officer of VVD, Netherlands and Fredik Svensson, International Officer of Folkpartiet, Sweden.
The moderator was inspirational Lousewies van der Laan, Vice President of the ALDE Party, who has worked for many years for equal rights in Europe.
The event started with an inspirational key speech by Birgitta Ohlsson (Swedish Minister for EU Affairs, Folkpartiet Liberalerna), who has been a leading force for equal rights and freedom of speech. Taking part in Prides all across Europe, and working for the right to hold them, where this has not yet been possible.
Tamara van Ark MP, Member of the Dutch Parliament, spoke of the work already accomplished in the Netherlands with VVD in Governement and the importance of working together with local activists. Remigijus Šimašius MP, Deputy leader of the Liberal Movement of Lithuania spoke of the political developments towards more equal rights and the steps still to be taken.
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA Europe finished the event by both recommending the work already done by the European Parliament and the importance of holding our members of parliament, but also our candidates to account for their votes and actions. There is still much work that needs to be done. Especially for transgender persons, who are the subject of horrendous hatecrime including murders.
We didn’t get to discuss the equality tools SILC Index (Folkpartiet Liberalerna, Sweden) and LGBT rights programme (VVD, The Netherlands), but recommendation of using Votewatch.eu to hold our MEPs to account for their votes on equality during their term as MEP.