Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Press Statement

Stockholm, August 2016

We are seriously troubled and dismayed over angry reactions, in Germany to our award to David Berger (Catholic Theologian); reactions which, however, seem to be part of the current atmosphere in much of Europe.

We strongly condemn all intolerance and discrimination from outside and from within the LGBT communities.

The ILGCN, (International Lesbian and Gay Cutural Network) was, as an idea, founded in Paris in 1992 when we suggested to ILGA (International Lesbian & Gay Association) that they should use culture in the fight for equality and justice for sexual minorities. They refused to do so. We said we will do what we can ourselves as a non-budget network.

Perhaps the silly rumour – totally without foundation – about ILGA making the award is based on a misunderstanding or mistranslation of this reference to ILGA.

Since then we have actively supported Queer groups in “Central & Eastern Europe” and occasionally outside Europe with small cultural conferences, talks, exhibitions with the intention of raising the self-confidence – pride – of members of the embattled but growing LGBT communities there by spreading knowledge of what LGBT people have contributed to world cultural heritage.

As can be imagined the conditions for some of the conferences were far from ideal. People afraid to be seen in such a context (nearly everwhere), authorities cancelling meeting places at the last minute (Belarus) or owners of clubs, galleries being threatened with a loss of tenancy (Lithuania) or semi-secret meetings in a cellar.

ILGCN decided to accept a recommendation in 2012 to give our annual “Orfeo Iris” diploma (for research and writing about oppression and discrimination of LGBT people) to Germany’s David Berger for his book “The Holy Glow” describing persecution of LGBT people in the Catholic Church.

Recommendations for ILGCN award diplomas (no monetary compensation is included) come from ILGCN secretariats, our cultural ambassadors, co-ordinators and friends.

That it can sometimes take years before the diploma is actually handed over is not unusual for us. As a 0-budget organisation with no travel funds, it can take some time for an ILGCN representative and the award winner to be at the same place at the same time. (We have a policy of NOT sending diplomas in the snail mail.)

Bill Schiller,
Secretary General, ILGCN Information Secretariat-Stockholm

Colin de la Motte-Sherman,
ILGCN History Secretariat-Berlin