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14 February 2022

An intro to IGLYO: The largest LGBTQI youth and student network in the world

Petra Tomašić, Engagement Officer for the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth and Student Organisations (IGLYO), tells us a bit about the organisation's history, what it aims to achieve, and how you can get involved.

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In the late spring of 1984, the Dutch Gay Youth Platform (LHJO) held the first International Gay Youth Congress and Festival in Amsterdam. This happy and momentous occasion would later result in the establishment of the international network of LGBTQI+ youth organisations and student associations - IGLYO.

IGLYO – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth & Student Organisations –  is the largest LGBTQI youth and student network in the world, with over 100 members in 40+ countries.

Our mission is to advance the protection of the rights of LGBTQI youth, fight for equality and inclusion, and make our youth voices heard. We strive to represent the diverse rights and intersectional needs of LGBTQI youth within international and national policy and legal mechanisms. 

To this end, our objectives include advocating for the rights of LGBTQI youth through advancement on the access and recognition of youth rights to achieve full equality without discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and variations of sex characteristics.

We are working towards safer and more inclusive learning environments to advance access and recognition of LGBTQI youth to our right to education, defining and documenting how LGBTQI youth enjoy our right to health, and developing guidelines for non-discriminatory, safe and inclusive access to mental and physical health care.

We’re also providing evidence of LGBTQI young people’s experience of bias-motivated hate crime, hate speech and violence, and developing guidelines for appropriate measures of prevention, reporting, and protection.

One of our most visible areas of work in advocacy is in inclusive education. In the LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report– with the first edition launched in 2018 – we collect data from all Council of Europe Member States every 2-3 years to provide an overview of LGBTQI inclusive strategies within education. The next issue of the Index will be published in the spring of 2022.

Our work also includes the empowerment element –  we train, support, and build the capacity of LGBTQI youth organisations, activists, leaders, and volunteers to represent, advocate on behalf of, and serve our communities more effectively, influencing sustainable societal change.

Our Activist Academy program is definitely the winner in this category and just one example of the many capacity building activities we have. Activist Academy is a skills-based training programme for young people in Europe (and everywhere in the world, really) who have a strong interest in LGBTQI rights and want to build their skills for more effective activism within their organisations and communities.

During 2021 and 2022, for the first time we have organised two Global Activist Academies, which took place over a period of 2 weeks, and included a number of online live sessions and individual working time that the participants went through.

Being a membership based network, we are also working on the maintenance and growth of an engaged, connected, and well-functioning network of LGBTQI youth organisations and activists, which facilitates peer-learning and support.

Interested in becoming a Member? Find more information here.


Petra Tomašić (she/her) is 31-year-old pansexual activist from Croatia, working in IGLYO as an Engagement Officer for the last year and a half. 

She has a rich 10-years experience in the area of LGBTQI activism, working professionally in NGOs (such as Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb Pride, Trans Aid), but also marching and drumming in the streets in protests all over Balkan area with her collective Drum 'n' rage.

Contact Petra at petra@iglyo.com or find her Facebook.

  • LGBT young people aged 13-25 can join LGBT Youth Scotland's online LGBT History Month event on 28 February on Discord, featuring a Q&A with IGLYO board member Ralu Baciu. Find out how to join here.


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