EU Watch

Jewish LGBT Groups Stress Unity Against Antisemitism & Homophobia

The four-day World Congress of GLBT Jews stressed the importance of dialogue and cooperation among minorities in the fight against stigma and discrimination of LGBT people Jews

by Luna Lara Liboni
Picture of the #WorldCongressofLGBTJews by Magen David Keshet Italia

The 24th annual conference of the World Congress of GLBT Jews - Keshet Ga’Avah took place in Rome from the 15th to the 18th of March. This year’s edition of the conference – which brings together Jewish LGBTI organizations from all over the world – was organized by one of CILD’s members: the association Magen David Keshet Italia.

Minorities Alone - Strong Together

The World Congress of LGBT Jews and the several Jewish LGBT organizations that compose it have been promoting the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity within the Jewish community since the 1970s. In fact, in many cases being LGBT is still seen as a big taboo. As highlighted by the president of Magen David Keshet Italia, Marco Serafino Fiammelli, being Jewish and LGBT is not and should not be a matter of personal (and social) conflict. On the contrary, being part of two minorities can facilitate the dialogue between two worlds – the Jewish and the LGBTI communities – often seen as incompatibles, both from the inside and the outside.

The main theme of the congress – "Minorities Alone – Strong Together" – recalls the importance of the dialogue and cooperation among minorities in the fight against stigma and discrimination experienced by LGBT people and Jews in Europe and in the rest of the world. As observed by ILGA-Europe in 2017, homo-bi-transphobia is still a key problem in most – if not all – European states. As for antisemitism, it has now been confirmed that the holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll was brutally murdered in France due to an antisemitic attack.

Religion and individual rights

Several issues linked to civil liberties and rights were touched on during the event. The panel on preventing and fighting gender violence against women was particularly well-attended. Yuri Guaiana, the president of CILD’s member Certi Diritti, spoke about the importance of finding strategies to integrate individual liberties and strong religious traditions. A whole panel was then dedicated to the importance of the cooperation between Jewish and Muslim LGBT activists and communities. The discussion was led by Marco Serafino Fiammelli (MDKI) and Wajahat Abbas Kazmi, founder of "Allah Loves Equality" and winner of the CILD award for civil liberties in 2017 as "young activist."

Seeking dialogue has always been the first step required to shape a more inclusive society. In 2018, Europe and several countries in the world need it more than ever.