Τετάρτη 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013


            WELCOME PACK




Welcome to the  Grundtvig Learning Partnership Seminar “Being an LGBTI Parent as an experience of  Democracy and Active Citizenship” which is hosted by the Finnish Partner.  The seminar is called:  LGBT family rights,  strategic litigation and the European Court of Human Rights and takes place at Helsinki  on 20 and 21 September 2013.

Partner organisations

The Grundtvig Project can only be carried out thanks to the dedication and involvement of the partner organizations:

Associação ILGA Portugal - Grupo Arco-Íris

Associazione Famiglie Arcobaleno

Kosmos Horis Polemous Kai Via (Gr)

Regenbogenfamilien (CH)

Sateenkaariperheet (FI)

The workshop on legal issues


The objective of the workshop on  LGBT family rights,  strategic litigation and the European Court of Human Rights  is to equip you as activists with the tools to understand and implement strategies that may achieve equality of LGBTI families with children.  The key concept is EMPOWERMENT, that is to “bestow or give” power to LGBTI PARENTS so that they may recognise situations, identify resources and organize actions to assert their family and parental rights and to expand them.


The way to achieve this objective is through learning and training on how to use European Law at local level.  Therefore, the delivery mode is through preparation work and the use of role-play, discussion groups and teamwork to solve scenarios.
You have been sent copies of the following court decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR):   Mouta v Portugal,  EB v France, Gas et Dubois, X & ots v Austria,  SH & ots v Austria.
These are required reading, this means that you must have read those decisions before arriving in order to take away as much as possible from the workshop.  The presenters have worked hard in preparing the sessions; therefore, it is important that you recognise their work by reading and preparing adequately.
Each partner  was given a questionnaire in advance.  The resulting report provides a snapshot of the situation in each country.  This is a valuable tool to trigger discussion and seeing  what we are working with in terms of substantive rights, gaps and priorities for each Partner.    The snapshot will show whether a State is doing what is required by the Convention and the  caselaw of the ECHR,  not complying or whether the issue has not  been dealt with. 


Helsinki 19 to 21 September 2013

Arrival  Thursday 19.09.13  

Take bus 615 from Helsinki airport (which leaves from platform  2 at terminal 1 and from platform 21 at terminal 2) to the city centre.  Get off at the railway station.
Check in at Omena Hotel (Yrjonkatu - 300 metres from the Railway station.  You need to key the code you received by email in order to check in.

Friday 20.09.13 at 9am to 5pm

Seminar at Room Koivu of Hotel Helka, address: Pohjoinen Rautatienkatu 23

Session 0: 9.00 – 9.15

Welcome:  by Emmi Pihlajaniemi on behalf of the Finnish Grundtvig Partner 
Introductions by each individual participant and guests 

Session 1: 9.15 – 9.50

Stock-taking, priorities in each Partner Country – leader: Angelo Berbotto

Each partner has  responded to a questionnaire in advance.  The information collected provides a snapshot of the situation in each country.  In this section we discuss commonalities, differences, strategies used in the past.

This exercise will allow us to see what we are working with in terms of substantive rights, gaps and priorities for each Partner.    The snapshot will show whether a State is doing what is required by the caselaw, or not complying or the issue has not  been dealt with.  
Checklist areas: Adoption as an individual, within the couple as second parent and joint an unrelated child, including international available?  Donor insemination, available? Also to Single women? Only to married different sex ? or unmarried different sex? Surrogacy: what do you do when children come into the country – do you facilitate, it? priorities in each Partner's country.

Session 2 - 9.50 – 11.00

The Convention and LGBT parents – does EU law add anything? - leader  Professor Wintemute

At the conclusion of this workshop, you will be able to answer the following questions.  The workshop is delivered in an interactive manner and your questions and input are welcome.  

1.Basic definitions: Europe and the European Union.
2. Why is there so much lack of uniformity in Europe and the EU on LGBTI parenting issues?
3. Why doesn't Europe legislate on LGBTI parenting and equality?
4. What does the Convention offer to LGBTI parents?
5. Why are the decisions of the  ECHR relevant to LGBTI parents?
6. What are the obligations of the States after the ECHR or the ECJ rule on an issue?
7. How can the decisions of the ECHR and the ECJ help change the rights of LGBT families in individual States?
8. Are there  any other  EU legislation relevant to LGBT families?

11:00 – 11.20 coffee break

Session 3 -  11:20 - 12:00 

How does a case end up in the ECHR in Strasbourg?  leader: Marta Ramos – Ilga Portugal

The decisions of the ECHR are binding on the 47 European States - but how does a case end up in Strasbourg?  In this seminar Marta Ramos will tell us about the a Portuguese case that is now in the ECHR.  The narrative of the case will provide a concrete example to understand the process of bringing a case to Strasbourg  and at the conclusion of this seminar you will have learned about:

1. the concept of exhausting domestic remedies - what needs to happen before you even consider going to the ECHR
2. lodging the application
3. the admissibility criteria of the ECHR
3. the procedure

Optional reading: 

Session 4  12:00 – 13:00

Essential European Family Law – Leader: Michele Giarratano – Famiglie Arcobaleno

In this interactive seminar you will have the opportunity to discuss and the five decisions of the ECHR in relation to parental and family rights that are the essential reading:
1. Mouta v Portugal,
2. EB v France,
3. Gas et Dubois,
4. X & ots v Austria and 
5. SH & ots v Austria.  

13:00-14:45 - lunch at Hotel Helka's restaurant (buffet) take your belongings as we are not coming back to Hotel Helka.

Session 5   15:00 – 17:00 at  Satennkaariperheet's office, Yrjonkatu 29A.

Country presentations 

In this session one or more activists/lawyers present a short presentation about domestic cases where principles from case law of the ECHR or ECJ have been applied or discussed.
It is hoped that this session will offer an opportunity to develop understanding on how the domestic courts may use the decisions of the European Courts in order to develop the law in their own jurisdictions.

LGBT parenting in the partners’ States 15 min presentations:

15:00 to 15:20:   Finland - Linda Hart 

15:20 to 15:40:  Switzerland - Eylem Copur 

15:40 to 16:00:  Greece - to be confirmed 

16:00 to 16:20:  Portugal - to be confirmed 

16:20 to 16:40:  Italy - Michele Giarriatano

16:40  closing remarks and announcements - end of session 

Dinner at your leisure.  At 8pm you are welcome to come and meet at Satennkaariperheet's office, Yrjonkatu 29A.

Saturday 21.09.13 at 9am to 1pm

at  Satennkaariperheet's office, Yrjonkatu 29A.

Session 6  9:00 – 10:30  --  please be at the venue at 08.55

Team-work - leader: Angelo Berbotto

Small groups of 3 or 4 are  given a scenario – each team will have to advise their client and device a strategy to advance their client’s case.  

10:30 – 11:30: group presentations on feedback from seminars
Groups present their case study and there will be Q & A.

Session 7  11:30 – 12:45  

Projecting into the future --- the landscape of LGBT family and parental rights in Europe by 2015 and 2020

The main objective of this workshop is to project what the landscape of  LGBT parental and family rights will be in 2015 and 2020.  This may be achieved by analyzing the trends both at individual country level and trends in Europe. 

Leader: Professor Wintemute

Closing:  Angelo Berbotto and Emmi Pihlajaniemi 

13:00  Lunch at  restaurant Kaarn, Mannerheimintie 20 

15:00 - 18:00  Grundtvig project meeting at  Satennkaariperheet's office, Yrjonkatu 29A.


Outcome of the Workshop

The outcome of the workshop will be a booklet for LGBTI parents.  And your input through the sessions will be recorded and fed into the booklet.  Therefore, remember the three Ps:
Prepare… so that you will be aware of the issues
Participate… by sharing your ideas, asking questions and listening to the experience and ideas of your fellow delegates and finally
Profit by making the most of this meeting with inspiring activists that have given freely of their time, talent and experience to share it with you.

Who is coming?


Robert Wintemute is a Professor of Human Rights Law at King’s College, University of London since  1991 after practising as an Associate in the Bankruptcy Department at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York, 1982-87. Professor Wintemute was educated at The University of Alberta.
Professor Wintemute


In 1982 he gained his LL.B and BCL from McGill University where he was awarded the Aime Geoffrion Gold Medal for highly distinguished standing. Professor Wintemute was awarded his D.Phil from the University of Oxford in 1993.  He has been instrumental in advising and representing LGBT parents in the ECHR.  He is a recognised as an authority worldwide in the area of LGBT Family Law and anti-discrimination.

Angelo Berbotto

Angelo was born in Uruguay.  He is a solicitor admitted to practice in England and Wales and he works in Child Protection representing Social Services in cases where children need to be removed from the care of their families because of risk of significant harm.  He holds an LLB(Hons) from the University of

Technology, Sydney, qualifying as a solicitor in Australia in 2005.  He later obtained an LLM in Children's Law at La Sapienza University in Rome thanks to a scholarship  granted from the Italian government.  Angelo’s master’s research focused on children in same-sex families and the inadequacy of Italian Law to deal effectively with these ‘non-traditional’ families.  His  research paper on same-sex families obtained the first place in the Maria Baiocchi 2008  competition on Italian LGBT studies in the post-graduate category.
Angelo has been a member and supporter of the Italian same-sex parents Association, Famiglie Arcobaleno since 2007.  In 2012 he become the secretary of  the Network of European LGBT Families’ Associations www.nelfa.org having been involved since its very beginning in 2008.

Michele Giarratano

Michele is 31 years old and an Italian “avvocato” (lawyer).  Born in Sicily, Michele moved to Bologna where he completed his studies, obtaining an LLM in 2003.  In 2004, Michele  started working as an activist at LGBT NGO Cassero (www.cassero.it) in Bologna becoming the manager the NGO’s Legal Department in 2006.  In 2011he took on the management of  Arcigay’s  legal department.  Michele is a member and supporter of the Italian same-sex parents Association, Famiglie Arcobaleno since 2011 right  after his wedding to his Italian husband, Sergio,  in Oslo, since marriage is not available in Italy.

Michele also co-ordinates the LGBT Department of Law International (an NGO who is part of FRA’s roundtable) and he is the vice-chairman of NGO Frame (http://www.associazioneframe.it/english-version.html) and a member of other human rights NGOs.
Michele commutes between Bologna and Rome, working as a lawyer in Family and Children’s Law and in Anti-discrimination Law.  Michele works on a daily basis both as an activist and as a lawyer for equality of lgbt people and same-sex parents in Italy.

Marta Ramos

Marta holds a Law degree and  a Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation.  Her research thesis was on transgender persons and family rights, namely the issues of forced sterilisation and lack of custody rights of their children in case of forced divorced.  Marta focused on the impact of  legal recognition of transgender persons on their  gender identity.
Marta works at ILGA Portugal where she is involved in cases dealing with parenting and parental rights. 

Marta manages the Discrimination Watch (Observatório da Discriminação)  which collects data on cases reported in the area of  discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Marta has also been involved in the recent political debate in Portugal around the recognition of second parent adoption.



Isabel Fiadeiro Advirta


 Isabel Fiadeiro Advirta lives  in Lisbon with her wife, their daughter and their sweetest cat.  Her academic background is in communication.  Isabel works for Lisbon’s city council. 
Isabel has been a member of the board of  ILGA Portugal since 2002.   She has played an active role in ILGA Portugal’s political intervention group and in the women’s group.

Nowadays, Isabel co-ordinates the Rainbow Families group as well as remaining  involved in a whole lot of activities. 

Isabel is very committed to helping make the world a better place for our children and she believes this can be achieved by advancing human rights issues.

Peneleppe Caouni



Penelope Caouni was born in Athens, Greece, she holds a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering and Informatics.  Penelope has been involved in activism since 2012 with the organization Colour Youth, LGBTQ Youth Community of Athens. Soon afterwards, she joined the board of  Colour Youth board of which she became the chair in December 2012.
With Colour Youth, Penelope has worked with various organizations and on online campaigning and organizing street actions, etc.

Penelope’s role includes capacity building activities, strategic planning, as well as other activities aiming to reassure the organization’s proper functioning and sustainability.  Penelope says that through Colour Youth’s weekly meetings, she has come to see in a very tangible way what a struggle it can be for young people to come to terms with their sexuality.




Eylem Copur

Eylem holds a PhD in Law and is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Zurich (ZHAW) and a lawyer. Her PhD thesis dealt with  parenthood, child’s best interest and gay couples. She worked together with Andrea Büchler in the field of Legal Gender Studies.

Currently,  she  focuses on discrimination cases. Together with Prof. Ivo Schwander she finished a survey on surrogate motherhood and  its legal recognition in Switzerland.

She is involved in the legalization process of same sex couples and is counsel in the case at the European Court of human rights for same sex stepparent adoption by a lesbian couple. 


Elena Diamantopoulou

Elena Diamantopoulou was born in Athens, Greece. She  graduated from the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies – University of Athens.   In 2010, she was a volunteer for Athens Pride Festival. Back then she  met  the person in charge of Pride volunteers and together they decided to create a new NGO in Athens for LGBTQ young people which they called Colour Youth – LGBTQ Youth Community of Athens.  In the last 3 years she has been a board member, communication officer and project manager of the NGO.

Elena is interested in how art can be a significant part of human rights' representation and at the same time on the healing process of discrimination victims.

Rita  Duarte

Rita holds a law degree and she is a lawyer in private practise.  She also co-ordinates ILGA Portugal's Legal Department.  Rita advises on a wide range of cases involving LGBT clients including  same-sex couples seeking advice on parenting rights, in particular cases involving legal recognition of one of the parents or issues relating to the adoption process.
Rita was involved in the drafting process of the class action that ILGA Portugal presented against the State of Portugal for the recognition of co-parenting rights for same sex families.


Lisa Green

Lisa was born and raised in the USA.  She is a psychologist and family therapist specialised in Rainbow Family research and counselling. She obtained a Master’s in Psychology at the University of Konstanz, Germany and a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Basel, Switzerland.   Lisa and her same-sex partner conceived by donor insemination three children who are now 17, 13 and 11 years old.
Lisa became an activist in 1995 when her first child was born.  She pioneered a lesbian parenting group and in 2005 created a network for rainbow families known in Germany. 

Combining her personal and professional interests, Lisa conducted The German Lesbian Family Study and began offering lesbian family planning counselling, including infertility.
Lisa continues working for the advancement of LGBT Family equality through her involvement as board member of both the Germany Federation of Lesbian and Gays (LSVD) and NELFA.
Lisa is the author of numerous scientific articles on lesbian parenting and holds talks and workshops for rainbow families. She also heads a private family therapy practise in Konstanz, Germany offering counselling services to all families.


Juha-Pekka Hippi

Juha-Pekka  is the chairman of  Seta  LGBTI  Finland since the beginning of 2013.  He was previously on the board of Seta for two years. Juha-Pekka is a lawyer and he has advised on cases involving LGBTI issues  concerning hate crimes in criminal law as well as refugee issues and residence permits.

Sini Huttunen

Sini was born in Helsinki and lived abroad in in Russia, the USA and the UK for several years.  Sini currently Iives in Helsinki with her partner and their three children.  Sini  studied both Art & Design and Administrative Science.  She runs her own web & graphic design company since the year 2000.  Sini was on  the board of the Finnish Rainbow Families’ association from 2007 to 2012.  She remains involved as a volunteer and  works on  different projects concerning Rainbow Families and their children.

Juha Jämsä is the Executive Director of the Finnish Rainbow Families Association (Sateenkaariperheet).

He studied sociology of the family and has conducted numerous studies in the field of gendered parenthood, gay fathers and the welfare services in relation to  Finnish rainbow families.

Juha is the vice-president of NELFA.  He has three teenagers with his husband.


Konstantina Kosmidou

Konstantina Kosmidou was born in Drama, Greece in 1972. She studied Business Administration, and is currently completing her final  year of Political Studies at the University of Athens. She used to work as a tourist guide and now works full time for the Green Party of Greece.
Konstantina lives in Piraeus  with her wife and they have recently become foster parents to  two wonderful kids with special needs.  Konstantina  started working with several NGOs in 1987, fighting against discrimination and promoting respect for

human rights.  In the last ten years, Konstantina  has dealt with gender and sexual orientation issues and more recently mainly with LGBT family issues. Her goal is to change the public opinion about equality for LGBTI rights in Greece and for that reason she lobbies the political parties. She has managed to create the first inter LGBTI group in the Greek Parliament in collaboration with MPs and her vision is to push the LGBTI agenda especially during the following Greek EU Presidency at the beginning of 2014.
Konstantina has been on the board of OLKE, the gay and lesbian community of Greece, since 2005 and she is OLKE’s current president, as such,  her mission is to foster regional solidarity and co-operation. During her terms as president, the Greek government agreed to fund the first Greek LGBT helpline “1528” for sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
Konstantina is also on the board of NELFA, where she is responsible in assisting  the Southeast European Region.


Emmi is Finnish and  is married to Elisa who is Italian.  They have three small children.  Emmi is at currently a full-time mum and will be returning  back to her job as a social counsellor for the City of Helsinki.
Emmi has been active in the Finnish organisation for Rainbow Families since the birth of Emmi and Elisa’s second child.  

Emmi is currently the president of the Rainbow Families’ Association.  

Emmi makes sure that there is a balance between on one hand  the social and fun aspect of the association and activities for the families and on the other hand  the more serious work such as legal issues that concern rainbow families.  Emmi’s interested on international issues affecting Rainbow Families, partly because of her own very international family with links to Italy and Finland and their  two different legislations!


Maria Von Känel

 Maria was born in England and grew up near Zurich, in Switzerland.  She has been with her partner  Martina since 1997, registering their partnership in 2007.  Maria and Martina have two small children.  Maria’s background is in IT and activism.  Maria is co-founder and the General Manager of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association.

In 2009, Maria helped launch the petition “Equal Opportunities for All Families” which was successful in starting a public and political debate on this topic.  In March 2013, the Swiss Parliament approved a Bill that when passed will grant protection to several thousand children growing up in Rainbow Families in Switzerland.
Maria is passionate about educating people about LGBT families.  She has worked in international projects and is an emeritus board member of NELFA.  She was instrumental in developing visibility of rainbow families through a world-wide event, the “International Family Equality Day” which is now an established date in the calendar of Rainbow families worldwide.  Maria’s contagious enthusiasm is matched by her efficiency and management skills. 

Martina Von Känel


Martina lives with her registered partner and their two children near Zürich.  Martina is a social worker and co-founder and board member of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association, which since 2010 presents a united front across Switzerland in matters relating to Rainbow Families.   Martina is responsible for lobbying and  co-ordinating the mailings to members of Parliament, which proved successful as at the time the Swiss Parliament voted on the Stepchild adoption Bill, there was

a clear majority of MPs in favour.  Martina is also responsible for counselling LGBT families on a wide range of  topics. She delivers workshops on family planning for LGBT parents, legal issues, coming-out, etc.  Martina has been involved in producing new resources such as   “Rainbow families:  A brochure – not just for caregivers, teachers and professionals”  in conjunction with the Office for Gender Equality of the City of Zurich.
Martina is looking forward to exchanging experiences with other activists and learning how LGBT families live and work in other parts of Europe.


Fabienne Schnyder

Fabienne  and her female partner live near Zurich with their son Julin.  Fabienne  is a primary and secondary school teacher in Switzerland with over fourteen years experience.  Fabienne has always  been interested in social issues and as  a teacher and educator she considers it her duty to take responsibility and promoting  open-mindedness in her own classroom and in schools in general.

Fabienne has been an active member of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association since 2011, Julin was born. Shea has taken part in different projects, workshops and  conferences organized by the Swiss Rainbow Families Association.

Heidi Setälä

Heidi is a student of Nursing Science at the School of Health Sciences  at Tampere University, where she is also undertaking a minor in administrative science.  
She is currently working on research on Children in Rainbow Families. 


Ilaria was born in Vicenza, and lived in Venice for  19 years.  She  lives in Bologna with her wife and their 8-year-old daughter.  Ilaria works in theatre management having toured for years around Europe with a circus theatre company.  She is also a consultant on projects financed by the EU.
Ilaria is an outspoken and fearless activist of Famiglie Arcobaleno, the Rainbow Families  of Italy.   She is frequently asked to speak in formal settings to politicians and other authorities. 

Ilaria Trivellato

Ilaria is passionate about equality for LGBT families in Italy which has fallen behind in relation to the progress achieved in the rest of Europe.
 As an LGBT activist for years, Ilaria has been delivering training to teachers and lecturers (from nursery to university) on how to tackle homophobia and how to make schools welcoming towards children of lgbt parents, she has created training courses and resources, and helped institutions, universities, professionals and associations network with each other on LGBT family issues. 
Ilaria has combined her passion for theatre and activism in some special projects such as the theatre festival for young people which dealt with sexual orientation and gender roles and has developed workshops for children to teach about those same issues through playing.
Ilaria has put her skills to the service of European LGBT families by identifying, drafting and submitting projects funded by the EU such as this Grundtvig Project in order to facilitate exchange and building common strategies amongst the Rainbow Families of Europe.

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