It Gets Better Project International Goes to Europe! (May 13 - June 15)
It Gets Better Project International is hitting the road (and skies) on an incredible adventure! From May 13 to June 15, we'll be visiting countries across Europe and enganging in events, concerts, conferences, festivals, marches, and more with LGBT communities across the continent.
Justin Tindall, our International Program Coordinator, will be leading the way. As he captures incredible moments from his time abroad, we'll be sharing pictures, videos, stories and more here on the International Blog and on our social media accounts. Scroll below to see the itinerary for the trip!
Euro Trip Itinerary
Moldova (May 13-18)
Take-off! Our first leg of the trip begins as we fly from Los Angeles to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, a small but incredible European country snuggled in between Romania and Ukraine. We'll be visiting Egali, the Project’s only affiliate in Eastern Europe. Egali operates in both Romanian and Russian and is supported by GENDERDOC-M, one of the country’s oldest NGOs serving the LGBT community.
For the next four days, we'll be celebrating the 14th Annual Pride Festival in Moldova. Events include: a press conference, a pride party and award ceremony, "Our Families Here and Now" - a conference about LGBT families in Moldova (which Justin will be speaking at), an official Pride Parade, a fundraising charity event, an open-air music concert, the 3rd Annual LGBT March for Equality, and even a karaoke battle. We can't wait!
Of course during this time we'll also be recognizing the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). We'll be joining the 2015 Thunderclap (which we encourage you to join) and be posting updates about what all of our affilaites from around the world -- including in Moldova -- are doing on May 17 this year. Take a look at itgetsbetter.org/IDAHOT!
Italy (May 19-21)
Once we arrive in Bologna -- an important cultural and artistic city of Italy -- we will head straight to the action. Le Cose Cambiano, our affiliate project in Italy, has been working closely with Progetto Prisma, the first gay-straight alliance (GSA) in the country, to coordinate a flashmob in the city! By doing this, the groups hope to drive attention to the positive efforts of the LGBT community in Bologna. The flashmob will be followed by a conference with Progetto Prisma to discuss the significance of the work they are doing.
After the exciting events in Bologna, we're off to Milan, one of the fashion and design captials of the world. Once there, Le Cose Cambiano will be hosting a panel discussion and book signing with Ian Rivers, a Professor of Human Development at Brunel University in England. His book, "Homophobic Bullying: Research and Theoretical Perspectives," is being published for the first time in Italian.
Spain Pt. I (May 21-22)
After a quick flight to Barcelona, the largest metropolis on the Mediterreanean Sea, we'll be meeting up with the team of It Gets Better España, our Spanish-based affiliate project. That evening we'll be going together to a special event at the Casal Lambda Gay & Lesbian Center. Casal Lambda was established in 1976 and continues to be a very important center for gay and lesbian activities throughout Spain. Thank you, Casal Lambda, for offering to be such wonderful hosts. Our time in Spain will be short, but don't worry, we'll be back for more!
Portugal (May 22-25):
While our plans in Portugal are not yet set in stone, we are extremely excited to meet the management team and volunteers of Tudo Vai Melhorar, our Portuguese affiliate project. For those of you who aren't familiar with Tudo Vai Melhorar, you've got to check out there special on Take Part's YouTube series, American Savage. Together with their team, we'll be participating in events and meetings in both Lisbon, the capital, and Porto, the country's second-largest city. We can't wait to find out what's in store!
Sweden (May 25-30):
We are very excited and honored to have been accepted to partipate in one of the annual confernces hosted by the International LGBTQ Youth & Student Organization (IGLYO), of which the Project is a official "friend organization". IGLYO was created in 1984 as a reaction to the need for better cooperation among local, regional, and national LGBTQ youth and student organizations. Today, the IGLYO network is an important meeting point for LGBTQ youth in the European region, having member organizations in almost every European country and beyond.
During our week in Sweden, we'll be attending "Positive Steps Beyond Criticism," an IGLYO conference on norm criticism held in Stockholm. We can't wait to put our heads together with LGBT leaders and activists from across Europe in finding ways to challenges societal norms and find spaces for LGBT people to live their most authentic selves.
Spain Pt. II (May 30-June 2)
This time in Spain we'll be spending a few days in the impressive capital of the country, Madrid. Together with IGB España, we'll be visiting the George Washington School of English, an English-language institute based in Madrid. Each year the school brings English students from around the world to Los Angeles for one month to have an immersive language and cultural experience.
If you haven't heard yet, we have teamed up with the school to provide a special program specifically for LGBT students. The school will provide the same English-immersion experience, while we at IGB will offer the students the chance to meet LGBT leaders in Southern California and engage with the LGBT community here in activities and meetings that will make their visit to the United States as enriching and inspiring as possible. To learn more about the program, click here or go directly to exploreusalgbt.org.
In addition to visiting the schools and holding meeting about the summer's upcoming program, we're hoping to be able to meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, James Costos, who is a proud member and supporter of the LGBT community.
Israel (June 2-14):
For the next 10 days, Justin will be joining a delegation of LGBT leaders from North America on the 2015 LGBTQ Israel Mission with A Wider Bridge, a nonprofit organization working to build connections to Israel among LGBT Jews and non-Jews in the United States and Canada. As a member of this delegation, Justin will be visiting cities and historic sites while simultaneously meeting with LGBT leaders, activists, and community members across Israel.
From June 9-11, we'll be following the delegation with A Wider Bridge to 40 Years of Pride, a global conference for LGBTQ leaders being held in Tel Aviv, the financial capital of Israel and a major performing arts and business center in the Middle East. Justin will be speaking on a panel during the conference titled, "GenerationQ: Empowering LGBTQ Youth & Students."
The entire trip to Israel will be topped off by the infamous Tel Aviv Pride festival events taking place throughout the city from June 7-14. Happy Pride!