ENP is the short name given to the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons which was founded in Malta on 22nd February 2017. We are a group of parents coming from different walks of life, with different cultures, languages, and political and religious beliefs but who share one common purpose – to see the safety, dignity and wellbeing of our LGBTI+ children guaranteed in society.
ENP aims to contribute its resources (our stories) to help improve legislation that protects and affirms all LGBTI+ Persons in a manner that empowers them to participate fully in society without fear of discrimination or shame.
The dream of ENP is to change the hearts and minds of those who continue to feed hate and stigmatisation of LGBTI+ Persons. We will work to bring down barriers and tear away the walls of prejudice, by sharing our personal stories and building bridges of dialogue. We are gate openers and points of reference for those wishing to commit to this cause.
We value the embodiment and active promotion of the diversity among LGBTI + people within the LGBTI+ movement and within society in general. We underpin respect and recognition of human rights, which are indivisible and universal, and which include cultural, social, economic, civil and political rights. We promote and emphasize family values beginning with acceptance and unconditional love. We consider family more than just blood relatives. It is a safe space of growth and welcome.
As parents, relatives and allies we perceive our mission as:
- Building a network of European Parents of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and non-normative people to act as an umbrella organisation for the respect of their dignity and protection. We offer a collective voice that empowers advocacy for our children’s rights and duties.
- Believing unconditional inclusion and acceptance is our family’s strength.
- Acting as gate-openers and bridge-builders, to help improve policies for better equality and inclusion of ALL our children. As parents, we do this in a compelling and authentic way.
- Standing in defence of all LGBTI+ persons and their families, by expressing solidarity and offering our support.
- Providing safe spaces for discussion and engagement with difficult, controversial and delicate LGBTI+ related issues.
- Actively promote human dignity by eradicating homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and any form of discrimination and hate crime on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sexual characteristics.
- Ensuring protection from human rights violations, inequality and violence by addressing any fears and barriers that often paralyze our societies from affirming LGBTI+ persons and their families.
- Engaging in the process to change hearts and minds by speaking truth to power: for legal, political, institutional and social change.
- Demonstrating international solidarity with other parents of LGBTI+ people by offering a platform whereby we can stand together, with other discriminated groups of people, offering mutual support at combatting oppression and discrimination and in achieving equality both within Europe and in other regions of the world.
The European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons (ENP) is an umbrella organization for Associations of Parents of LGBTI+ persons across Europe; as well as for parents who do not form part of an association. This Network gathers families that aim toward a more inclusive society; families that recognize that all persons should be treated with dignity and respect – free from any form of discrimination or oppression. ENP is a non-religious, non-partisan and non-profitable organisation that includes parents from all walks of life with a wealth of resources available to act as catalysts in building a safe and fair society.
We provide support and resources to parents’ organizations across Europe, seeking to belong to ENP. We organize conferences for parents from different European countries to get to know each other, learn from each other, share experiences and strengthen the network. We are a united voice. We advocate for LGBTI+ recognition and affirmation through EU and European Council platforms and we strongly support advocacy work undertaken by our members. We provide support and resources to parents’ organizations across Europe, seeking to belong to ENP. We organize conferences for parents from different European countries to get to know each other, learn from each other, share experiences and strengthen the network. We are a united voice. We advocate for LGBTI+ recognition and affirmation through EU and European Council platforms and we strongly support advocacy work undertaken by our members.
ENP’s capacity building is aimed at developing and strengthening the skills, processes and resources of parents of LGBTI+ people, to empower them to form groups and build associations which will thrive by belonging to this European network. Such parent organizations play a crucial role in supporting families of LGBTI+ persons by engaging in collaborative work together and sharing good practices regarding advocacy of LGBTI+ rights and affirmation. Efforts to promote family engagement are most successful when they are integrated and when members find help with resources and training.
In advocating for our children’s rights and recognition, parents tend to be strong allies despite any possible opposition which can at times be harsh and judgmental. Yet parents of LGBTI+ persons are well positioned to be catalysts of change. It is often us parents who succeed to break down walls and barriers by opening avenues where dialogue and gate-opening occur. This is especially between LGBTI+ activists and various pockets of society.
We are strategically placed to act as bridge builders between the various opposing factions, and we can mediate to bring about more harmony among the various communities concerned.
ENP works to develop the potential contribution that parents of LGBTI+ persons may offer within their respective communities by providing the processes for building the knowledge, skills, and confidence of families within parents’ organizations to stand up and be counted in favour of all loved ones.
Our advocacy work
Although ENP is still a newly established organisation, we are enthusiastic to contribute our voice to the national and international debates on LGBTI+ affirmation and well-being. We act as a united network of parent associations working in the field of human rights and social acceptance. We advocate for our children and rainbow families with a clear position to promote and protect one’s basic human rights to freedom, dignity, equality, safety, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
We stand firmly against any form of discrimination, hate speech, hate crimes, homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia which perpetrates violence and oppression against our LGBTI+ children. As a network of parents, our compelling voice and our personal stories will come together, to help advocate for the necessary changes to policies, laws and social norms that must come into effect, to condemn all forms of discriminative conduct while ensuring action is taken to curb any violent attacks on LGBTI+ persons.
As the umbrella organization welcoming parents of LGBTI+ people, both as individuals as well as registered legal associations in the EU and mainland Europe our main advocacy goals are to:
– Empower Parents of LGBTI+ family associations and initiatives, to develop and share their best practices and strategies, so as to engage more effectively with society, and political and religious leaders and to bring about the necessary changes in hearts and minds of society regarding LGBTI+ affirmation. We do this by collaborating better together and working against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation and sex characteristics – on national and European levels.
– Support national advocacy plans and lobby for improvements to laws and regulations in order to show greater respect towards basic human rights and affirmation towards the protection of LGBTI+ persons.
– Work on constant reminders that parents and family members of LGBTI+ people should use proper institutional, legal and health support freely and without obstacles.
– Exchange good practices and work as the bridge organization that will connect and support international cooperation and respective national organisations.
– Cooperation and lobbying with the relevant bodies of EU Parliament and Council of Europe, with clear recommendations and priorities to highlight those human rights policies that severely breach the rights of LGBTI+ persons in member states and others by emphasising common goals.
– Ensuring a systematic education in all spheres of society (especially educational and other facilities that work with children and youth) about LGBTI+ respect, acceptance and support of all diversities and respect towards fundamental human rights.
– Ensuring the development of health care systems that are in accordance with contemporary standards of care for transgender variant and intersex persons.
– Demand member states to ensure that their counterparts make necessary adjustments to laws ensuring the best interest of the child in the cases of being trans, intersex or non-normative.
– Recommend to member states and others to embrace Gender Identity Laws that would pave the way for necessary procedures to protect one’s basic human rights and the rights of the child.
– Provide tools and resources to the EU member states as well as other European states, to enable them to make the required changes to their Laws, regulation and policies for the common good.
We uphold European standards of well-being by promoting improved policies and awarding leaders who demonstrate a strong political will to implement safe and fair policies in society and who lead by example.