The Together Statement
 

Introduction

The Together Statement is a democratically-formed collective statement created by LGBTQI+ youth activists and organisations around the world. This first statement was formed at The Together Conference in December 2021 , focusing on the Central Asia and Europe region. It details the greatest problems, solutions, and recommendations facing LGBTQI+ youth today in the five key areas of education, employment, health, housing, and political participation. 

 

The purpose of the Together Statement is to provide key stakeholders with a call to action directly from the voices of LGBTQI+ youth and organisations. Youth are the key to transformative, sustainable, and global change. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) youth are often left out of pivotal conversations that impact multiple facets of their lives (where we are often talked about, rather than consulted with), missing the opportunity for us to have a meaningful seat at the table. This Statement shows that LGBTQI+ youth are ready and resilient in the face of numerous barriers as they lead a collective path forward for the movement.

 

The Together Statement observes, was inspired by, and build off existing policy frameworks, including the Darlington Statement, Yogyakarta Principles, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, European Convention on Human Rights, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, European Pillar of Social RightsEuropean Commission LGBTIQ Equality Strategy, EU Strategy of the Rights of the Child, Council of Europe standards on the rights of the child Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 from the Committee of Ministers to member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, and Sustainable Development Goals.

 

The Together Statement - Theory of Change

Stage 1: Youth and organisations are provided with a space to voice the greatest problems, solutions, and recommendations facing LGBTQI+ youth today in the five key areas of education, employment, health, housing, and political participation

Stage 2: The Together Statement is drafted, published, and signed by LGBTQI+ youth, organisations, and key stakeholders

Stage 3: The Statement is used by numerous key stakeholders (e.g., policymakers, activists, educators) at the local, state, national, regional, and international levels to advocate for more inclusive policies and practices.

Stage 4: As the Together Conference expands, regional Statements are drafted

 

Stage 5: A Global Together Statement is drafted, published, signed, and utilised.

Methodology

The Together Conference programme was planned by seven LGBTQI-youth focused organisations in order to create a democratically-formed, collective statement. Hosted on December 11, 2021, the guided consultation process for forming The Together Statement was informed by 27 live attendees and a secondary virtual consultation pool of 84 individuals. These contributions were remotely received from 34 countries, including the Czech Republic, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and more. The conference began with a youth activist panel, facilitated networking space, and remarks by invited guests. 

 

Then, all attendees were placed in one room on the Zoom video conferencing platform to facilitate an interactive space for attendees to identify and dialogue about the biggest problems, solutions, and recommendations facing LGBTQI+ youth today. A host guided the discussion with five panellists, one from each of the five key areas, to answer three main questions:

  1. Challenges: What are the main challenges LGBTQI+ youth experience in your key area?

  2. Best Practices:  Do you know any best practices, resilience examples, or success stories about your key area?

  3. Recommendations & Call-to-Action: What recommendations or call to action would you ask for relevant stakeholders (e.g., policymakers, activists, educators)?

These questions served as a launching point to a broader conversation with everyone in the room. Utilising a RiseUp document, the whole group mutually decided to collaborate on a document to ensure all discussions were written down. We spent 20 minutes working independently in order for each person to create their calls to action based on the challenges discussed. We then came back to the larger group and presented the points, allowing others across the conference to add their feedback and suggestions. 

 

After the conference, we kept the RiseUp document open for 48 hours for conference attendees to add anything else they wished. We also emailed the document to the 100+ people who registered for the conference to submit their calls to action as well. After this, we closed the RiseUp pad and began to structure what was listed into sections. The organisers then collated the document through a double-blind review process. We then copy edited and proofread the document to standardise the language and tone. The conference organisers then met numerous times to discuss the structure, key points, translations, design, and a publication strategy. We then shared the final Statement with participants and partners to sign and posted it on the conference’s website to be able to gain public signatures and use for advocacy purposes.

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