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Ahmed El-Salawy

Ahmed El-Salawy is the Policy and Research Officer at IGLYO, Europe’s largest LGBTIQ youth network, where he focuses on issues affecting LGBTIQ youth in education, health, discrimination, and other key areas. He has worked with Human Rights Watch’s LGBT team, contributing to investigations and documentation of human rights violations in the MENA region. Ahmed has also been a part of ILGA World’s UN advocacy team, and prior to that, he was actively involved in refugee protection efforts with UNHCR and Save the Children. His work has particularly revolved around supporting survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as unaccompanied and separated children.

Alexia Bezzina

Dr. Alexia Bezzina MD MSc-a Public Health Medicine Specialist who has been working in the Department for Policy in Health within the Ministry for Health since 2016. I have been involved in the Policy development and implementation of a number of policies at the intersection between human rights issue and health care such as the development and implementation of the Transgender Healthcare policy, Chairperson of the Intersex Protocol Review Working Group, other policy development related to Sexual and Reproductive Health matters.

Ali Arefi

Ali is a co-founder of ALO and our Advocacy Officer for LGBTQI Asylum Seekers and Refugees, he advocates at EU level to create safe and legal pathways for LGBTQI asylum seekers. He is also the producer and host of Radio Ranginkaman (Rainbow Radio), the first and only media outlet for Afghan and Iranian LGBT people. She works with LGBTQI people who belong to ethnic or religious minorities in Iran because they experience extra layers of violence and discrimination. He also works with LGBTQI survivors of sexual and domestic violence and documents the violence they experience.

Angele Deguara

Dr Angele Deguara is a senior lecturer and subject co-ordinator of Sociology at the Junior College and also lectures in the Department of Gender and Sexualities at the University of Malta. She is Chair of the JC Diversity Committee and a member of the Equity Committee of the University of Malta. She conducted her PhD research in the anthropology of religion and sexuality with LGBT Catholics in Malta and Palermo. She is the author of Life on the Line: A Sociological Investigation of Women working in a Clothing Factory in Malta as well as a number of other published works. Her main research interests are religion, sexuality, gender and poverty. She is an activist for social justice and civil rights with Moviment Graffitti. Between 2019 and 2020 she was a committee member of the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement. Between 2013 and 2015 she served on the Government’s LGBTIQ+ Consultative Council.

Anna Fisichella

Anna Fisichella, mother of an 18-year-old transgender son, is a prominent advocate for LGBTQ+ families. Serving as Vice President of Agedo Milano for three years, Anna specializes in helping parents of transgender teenagers understand and navigate the challenges they face. She coordinates a welcoming group for parents of children under 14 and takes responsibility for Gender Identity and Alias Career at Agedo Milano. Anna also shares her insights at conferences and seminars, shedding light on the introduction of Alias Career and the essential aspects of parenting transgender individuals. She actively contributes to organizing events and conferences that promote LGBTQ+ rights. Anna’s unwavering dedication to supporting families and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights makes her a remarkable force for positive change in the community.

Chloë Cauchi

Chloë Cauchi (she/her) is the International Officer at KNŻ – Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ and is committed to furthering the integration and upkeep of human rights. As part of the national youth council of Malta and the European Youth Forum (YFJ), Chloë has had the opportunity to work on various projects targeting minority groups, breaching of human rights as well as the lack of representation of minority groups in various platforms. She is an alum of Women2Women (W2W) with an active action plan of returning to the yearly programme that is specifically developed to provide rising young female leaders (aged between 15 to 19) with the skills needed to succeed in our global community. She is also a current Commonwealth Youth Exchange Ambassador with a developing programme on Ocean Biodiversity linking a group of Maltese ambassadors with young English ambassadors. She formed part of Malta Model United Nations (MaltMUN), firstly as the Events Officer and then as the President of the Organisation. Chloë is currently reading for a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Malta with an aim to specialise in International Human Rights Law. Chloë is a classical violinist, singer and dancer and has managed to merge her passion for activism with her skills more than once in various interesting projects.

Christopher Vella

Christopher Vella is a bisexual man from Malta, a committed Catholic, and married to Maltese author and theatre director Tyrone Grima. He is a historian and lecturer by profession, and currently working as the Assistant Secretary General of the Malta Union of Teachers. He is the third Coordinator of Drachma LGBTI+ since 2013 and has represented the group on the National LGBTIQ Consultative Council since 2013. He is co-founder and board member of the European Network of Parents of LGBTI+ Persons (ENP) and the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) both established in 2017. He has been the Co-Chair of GNRC since 2017 and he continues to be the Local Representative for the ENP. He focuses his work on pastoral ministry and outreach, as well as dialogue and building conversations and bridges with religious and secular spaces.

Claire Azzopardi Lane

Dr Claire Azzopardi Lane (she/her) is a senior lecturer within the Department of Gender and Sexualities, within the University of Malta’s Faculty for Social Wellbeing, of which she is also Deputy Dean. Dr Azzopradi Lane read for her PhD at the University of Kent’s Tizard Centre, looking at the sexuality of persons with intellectual disabilities and the realities of their lived experience in a Maltese context. Dr Azzopardi Lane’s research and follow-up work now includes studies on sex education, sexual and reproductive wellbeing, sexual and gender diversity, and parenting rights.

Colette Farrugia Bennett

Colette Farrugia Bennett is an activist for LGBTIQ rights and values diversity and social integration. She has been part of the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement for the past 22 years. Colette actively raises awareness among helping professionals around gender and sexual diversity affirmative practice. She is the co-founder of MGRM’s Rainbow Support Service, which she is currently coordinating and providing support to LGBTIQ individuals in the process of self-identification, dealing with internalised homo-, bi-, trans- and inter-phobia, accessing services, and supporting gender and sexual diversity clients and their families in the process of coming out. She was part of the Trans Health Working Group, which drew up the care pathways for trans healthcare in Malta through the Gender Wellbeing Clinic. Colette has been part of the clinic since its inception in 2018 and is currently the Family Therapist of the clinic. As a systemic therapist and social worker, she specialises in the therapeutic empowerment and affirmation of diverse gender and sexual identities within the context of individual, couple, and family therapy.

Dan Christian Ghattas

Dr Dan Christian Ghattas, PhD, is the Executive Director of Organisation Intersex International Europe (OII Europe). He started advocating for intersex human rights in Europe in 2009 and has since provided expertise to governments, EU and CoE and UN treaty bodies. He was one of the initiators of the 1st International Intersex Forum (2011) and is a co-founder and former co-chair of OII Europe. In 2013 he co-authored the Malta Declaration. The same year he authored the first empirical (pre) study on the life situations of intersex individuals worldwide, Human Rights Between the Sexes, in 2016, the ILGA-Europe/ OII Europe Intersex Toolkit Standing up for intersex human rights – How can you help? and, in 2019, the ILGA-Europe/ OII Europe legal toolkit Protecting intersex people in Europe – A toolkit for law and policy makers.

Dimakatso Sebidi

Dimakatso Sebidi is the Co-Chairperson of Intersex Society of South Africa, and founder of Power of Four, a South African foundation dedicated to encourage and facilitate educational initiatives related to the recognition of intersex people’s human rights. As an advocate for intersex people, Dimakatso worked in a previous South African administration, in the Department of Social Development. Today, they are a mentor and motivational speaker, and a God fearing, unstoppable, proud intersex activist.

Edward Reese

Edward Reese, 38, he/him, trans* nonbinary activist from Ukraine. Edward has worked in LGBTIQ+ NGOs since 2019, took part in various international trans* conferences and created a series of lectures about queer theory and nonbinary identities for beginners. Since 2020 he’s working as Communications Coordinator and Project Manager at KyivPride. Also in Ukraine he’s a prominent LGBTIQ Tiktok educational blogger, awarded as a Best Queer Blogger in 2021. In 2022-2023 he organized Ukrainian groups and gave speeches about russian invasion of Ukraine at pride parades in numerous European cities. In June 2023 he took part in the UN Trans Advocacy Week as part of TGEU delegation, and was one of the authors of the speech in the interactive dialog with Independent Expert on SOGI Victor Madrigal Borlos. Also, he is a part of working groups in the Expert Council on Human Rights and the National Council for Television and Media in Ukraine.

Farah Abdi

Farah Abdi is a feminist, journalist, blogger, author, researcher, human rights activist, motivational speaker, and youth education advocate. She came to Europe at the end of 2012, fleeing fear of persecution because of her gender identity. Her work as an activist began as a way to combat the rise in xenophobia, racism, islamophobia, and other forms of discrimination. Farah has worked relentlessly over the last 10 years to tell the unheard stories of refugees. In 2015, she published her first autobiography, Never Arrive. She has also written columns on immigration for publications like Malta Today and the New Internationalist. In 2017, She was on the Forbes 30 most influential people under the age of 30, in Europe. She continues to work with lawmakers across the continent to advocate for fairer immigration laws as a Policy Officer at TGEU.

Fiorenzo Gimelli

Fiorenzo Gimelli, serving as President of Agedo Nazionale (Italy) since November 16, 2013, is a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. In his transformative nine-year tenure, he revitalized Agedo Nazionale, ensuring its alignment with current legislation and expanding its reach by establishing over 20 local branches. Fiorenzo adeptly coordinated the activities of 33 local branches, fostering a robust support network. His leadership extended to fostering collaborations with LGBTQ+ NGOs and engaging with political stakeholders to advance LGBTQ+ rights. As a parental representative in the Ministry of Education’s advisory body, he championed LGBTQ+ inclusivity in education. Fiorenzo actively contributed to the national LGBTQ+ board within the Ministry of Equal Opportunity, shaping crucial discussions and policies. He also managed projects, both nationally and in Europe, where Agedo played a significant role. Fiorenzo’s educational background includes a Master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Pisa. His enduring commitment to LGBTQ+ rights and the community makes him a revered leader in Italy’s LGBTQ+ movement.

Francois Zankih

Francois Zankih is a Syrian human rights defender, and junior analyst, specializing in conflict, security, gender, and political research. His commitment to civil and political engagement commenced at the age of 16, transitioning from a fervent activist to embarking on a professional career in this field. Even in the face of daunting challenges, François boldly and secretly established “Guardians of Equality” (GEM), pioneering one of first Syria’s LGBTQIA+ official organizations while he was based in Idlib under the jurisdiction of radical groups. François’s resilience shines through in his history of enduring kidnapping incidents in 2016 and 2018. Additionally, he was compelled to flee his homeland following an execution order, marking a harrowing experience during his time in northwestern François’s life has been marked by 7 displacements, having been uprooted seven times, including the latest displacement caused by a devastating earthquake that struck the city where he sought refuge in south-central Turkey.

Gabi Calleja

Gabi Calleja joined the Council of Europe’s SOGI Unit as a Senior Policy Advisor in March of this year. Previous to that she served as the Head of the SOGIGESC Unit within the Human Rights Directorate in Malta which she set up in June 2018. She served as the Chair of Malta’s LGBTIQ Consultative Council between 2015 and 2020 and was the Coordinator of the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement between 2007 and June 2018. She has been involved in advocacy work, legislation and policy development, strategic planning, training and capacity building, awareness raising and support to the LGBTIQ community since 2003. She served on the ILG-Europe executive board between 2010 and 2014. She read for a Masters in Youth & Community Studies with the University of Malta.

Giorgio Dell’Amico

Giorgio Dell’Amico is a professional educator and for over 30 years, he has been working for the Caleidos social cooperative in the context of projects on immigration and asylum. For the past 9 years he has been coordinating projects in the province of Modena, for the reception of asylum seekers and migrants, including one, which started in 2017 specifically for LGBT people. Since 2007, he has been carrying out activities as a volunteer in Arcigay, relating to immigration and asylum issues and has participated in numerous European and Italian projects concerning asylum seekers and SOGI refugees. Dell’Amico has often brought his experience to seminars and training courses aimed at operators in the immigration and asylum sector.

Dr. Helena Dalli

Dr. Helena Dalli is the first EU Commissioner for Equality. Her role is to deliver on the Union of Equality chapter within the Political Guidelines of President von der Leyen, by strengthening Europe’s commitment to equality and inclusion in all of its senses.
Prior to taking her role as Commissioner, Dalli held various political roles in Malta including Member of Parliament (1996 to 2019), Minister for European Affairs and Equality (2017 to 2019), and Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (2013-2017). She was also opposition Shadow Minister for public administration, equality, public broadcasting and national investments (1998-2013) and Junior Minister for Women’s Rights in the Office of Prime Minister (1996-1998). Dalli holds a PhD in Political Sociology from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and lectured in Economic and Political Sociology, Public Policy, and Sociology of Law at the University of Malta.

Henry Koh

Henry Koh (they/them) is the Executive Director at ILGA Asia and a passionate advocate for human rights. They have extensive experience in research, strategy development, and training on LGBTIQ issues across the Asia Pacific region. Henry’s commitment to human rights stems from their personal journey and their vision to combat marginalization. They have worked with various UN agencies and non-profit organizations, focusing on freedoms of expression, refugee rights, digital rights, and sexual health and reproductive rights. Henry is the co-founder of Beyond Borders Malaysia, which supports refugees, migrants and stateless persons groups. In addition to their human rights work, Henry is an accomplished classical violinist and pop pianist. They hold a Bachelor of Laws, Postgraduate Diploma in International Arbitration and a Master of Laws specializing in international human rights law and feminist legal theory. Henry is also interested in the study of memetics science and decolonization movements across Asia.

Ingrid Thunem

Ingrid Thunem (they/them), is from Norway. Beyond their achievements as a former para-swimmer, Ingrid has emerged as a passionate advocate for the rights of queer and disabled individuals. Dedicating substantial efforts to building an inclusive queer community, Ingrid strives to ensure that every voice within this diverse spectrum is recognised and valued. Their home, perched above the Arctic Circle, provides them with a unique perspective on life and an abiding love for the simple pleasures, like savoring a cup of tea. Currently, Ingrid is immersed in academia, pursuing a PhD in the intricate intersection of sexuality and disability. This academic journey reflects their unwavering commitment to deepening our understanding of these complex subjects and pushing for positive change.

Irena Guidikova

A graduate of Political Science from the Universities of Sofia (BG) and York (UK), Irena Guidikova has been working at the Council of Europe since 1994. Her carrier has taken her from youth policy and research, though the future of democracy in Europe, to cultural policy and inclusion and anti-discrimination. Her work involved producing standards on e-governance and e-voting, party financing and internet literacy, safeguarding diversity via film funding, and multi-level policies for intercultural integration of migrants and refugees. She has also been policy advisor in the Private Office of the Secretary General, the coordinator of the World Forum for Democracy (www.world-forum-democracy.org) and has lead the Inclusion and Anti-discrimination programmes of the Council of Europe, dealing with countering hate speech, LGBTI equality, migrant inclusion and minority rights. She is currently Head of the Children’s rights and Sport Values Department.

Jackie Roberts

Jackie Roberts is a British-born artist and activist resident on the Maltese Island of Gozo for two decades. She worked in a professional capacity in the fields of academic research, education, environmental conservation, international community development, culture and media before evolving as a visual artist. As someone living with a positive HIV diagnosis for over 22 years; having experienced many highs and lows health-wise, discrimination, stigma, isolation and fear; human rights in relation to sexual health, gender and sexuality have long been on her personal political agenda. Over the last few years, initially in response to difficulties experienced living with HIV on Malta, she met activists working in this field and came out of the shadows to join them. At Checkpoint Malta she is one of a small group of volunteers who work to organise and deliver community HIV testing; provide information on sexual health; support people living with HIV; advocate for improved health care and challenge all forms of stigma and discrimination relating to HIV and other STI’s. They collaborate with various other NGO’s, notably HIV Malta, MGRM, ARC, LGBTI+ Gozo, government agencies, activists, healthcare professionals and academics in Malta and overseas.

Jasser Hammami

Jasser Hammami is an author, researcher and human rights activist with a strong background in LGBTQIA+ advocacy and human rights. He has actively collaborated with NGOs, UN agencies, and governmental institutions since 2018, working tirelessly to advocate for marginalised communities in the SWANA/MENA region. Jasser’s research at the University of Malta focuses on LGBTQIA+ activism in Morocco, Tunisia, and Lebanon. Throughout his career, he has engaged in various roles, including translation, communications, and intersectional advocacy, providing support for religious minorities, as well as the LGBTQIA+ community and refugees and asylum seekers in the region.

Jayne Ozanne

Jayne Ozanne is a prominent gay evangelical who works with senior religious leaders around the world to tackle prejudice and discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and gender identity. She is Director of both the Ozanne Foundation and the Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives, which she set up to bring together senior religious leaders who wish to affirm and celebrate LGBT+ people. In 2017 she led a debate that resulted in the Church of England calling on the government to ban Conversion Therapy and in 2019 met Pope Francis to highlight the harm it causes. She chairs the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition in the UK, which brings together survivor groups, LGBT organisations, faith leaders and academics who are all working together for a ban. She is actively engaged through her writings and broadcasts to help promote a more inclusive ethic towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Joe Grima

Joe Grima is an LGBTIQ activist who volunteers with MGRM – Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement. In 2019, he launched HIV Malta, a project within MGRM, dedicated to disseminating information about HIV, sexual health, and accessible healthcare. Joe’s work focuses on raising awareness and facilitating vital services, including testing, treatment, and ongoing support. HIV Malta operates an online portal (hivmalta.com) and advocates for marginalised communities through grassroots initiatives and support for the community.

Kristine Farina

Kristine Garina (she/her), President of the European Pride Organisers’ Association (EPOA), is a human rights activist with 17 years of experience in organising prides in hostile and homophobic environments and security of prides and human rights defenders. In 2006 Kristine was one of the founders of Association of LGBT and their friends MOZAIKA, the leading LGBTQI rights and advocacy organisation in Riga, Latvia. Kristine was a co-chair of EuroPride 2015 in Riga, Latvia. The same year she was elected to lead the European Pride Organisers’ Association (EPOA). During Covid-19 pandemic when physical prides were not possible, she was one of the three co-chairs of Global Pride 2020 that was viewed online by 57 million people around the world. She is currently chair of Association of LGBT and their friends MOZAIKA and co-chair of Riga Pride in Riga, Latvia, and president of the European Pride Organisers’ Association, the licensor of EuroPride.

Lenny Emson

Lenny Emson(he/him) is a Ukrainian born LGBTQI human rights activist and a bigender individual. Lenny has over 20 years of experience in advocating for human rights for queer population and served the LGBTQI movement in Eastern Europe and beyond. Lenny represented the international community in the ILGA World Trans Steering Committee, Dignity Network Canada, the TGEU Board, and the Grant Making Panel of the International Trans Fund. Lenny is an active Board Member of the European Pride Organisers Association.

Louisa Grech

Louisa Grech, a history and philosophy graduate and teacher by profession, entered the disability sector when her youngest son was born with Down syndrome 31 years ago. Her commitment to inclusivity led her to edit the DSA newsletter, News and Views, for eight years. Louisa actively contributed to inclusive education as part of the National Curriculum Council’s focus group. As the Executive Manager of Equal Partners Foundation, Louisa trained and supported LSAs, and collaborated with Parliament on the Guardianship Act. In 2015, she joined Drachma Parents, seeking support for her son’s coming out. In 2020, Louisa became the Coordinator of Drachma Parents, where she raises awareness on LGBTQI+ issues through articles, conferences, and dialogues with Church leaders. Louisa’s primary role, however, is providing unwavering support to parents within Drachma, offering a safe, confidential space for open conversations. Louisa Grech is a dedicated advocate for inclusion and a vital source of support for parents navigating the complexities of LGBTQI+ matters.

Luca Stevenson

Luca Stevenson is long term advocate for sex workers’ rights and currently Director of Programmes at the European Sex Workers’ Rights Alliance, a network of more than 100 organisations providing services and supporting for sex workers’ rights in Europe and Central Asia. Luca is part of a multi-disciplinary team which advocates for the rights of sex workers in diverse policy fields such as access to health, justice, digital rights and social inclusion. Luca has worked extensively across Europe with sex workers from various backgrounds including migrant and LGBTQI sex workers. He also sits on the Board and Stering Committees of several sex workers’ organisations and programmes such as National Ugly Mugs, UK, ‘Jasmine’, a project of Medecins du Monde France, the Red Umbrella Fund and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects.

Lutin Ward

Ward joined EASO (later EUAA) on December 2012 as Information and Documentation Officer, at the EASO Centre for Information, Documentation and Analysis, where he coordinated EASO activities relating to Country of Origin Information (COI) and other country-specific practical cooperation initiatives. In 2016 he became Head of the Information and Analysis Unit and in 2018 Head of the Department of Operations. As from January 2020 he is the Head of the Asylum Knowledge Centre. The Asylum Knowledge Centre (C3) is responsible for developing a wide knowledge base on asylum in the EU+, by collecting, processing and analysing information on asylum-relevant topics and trends; fostering practical cooperation on a thematic basis between relevant EU+ authorities in the field of asylum; producing and disseminating a variety of relevant and timely knowledge products; and developing guidance and practical tools in view of a stronger convergence in the implementation of the CEAS in EU+ countries. Since February 2023, Ward is also stepping in as Acting Head of Operational Support Centre. The Operational Support Centre (C1) is responsible for the planning, design, implementation and monitoring of operational, technical and emergency assistance and capacity building programmes and activities in support of Member States whose asylum and/or reception systems are under disproportionate pressure, face disproportionate migratory challenges or request support in the implementation of their obligations under the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The Centre also provides resettlement related support to EU+ countries in terms of direct operational support for resettlement processing and the development and provision of required tools and training. Before joining EASO, Ward Lutin worked as a Programme Officer in the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC) in Geneva, where he was responsible for two working groups on asylum and COI. Between 2000 and 2009, he worked consecutively as protection officer, COI officer, senior protection officer and international relations officer in the Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, the national Belgian asylum administration, in Brussels.

Lyric Schranz

Lyric Schranz (they/them) is a psychology graduate, the president of the Autistic Student Community (ASC), and an unabashedly Neuroqueer individual. They identify as a late-diagnosed autistic person who is also queer and nonbinary. Lyric holds a firm belief that everyone, irrespective of their gender, sexuality, or disability, should be accepted and embraced.

Marceline Naudi

Prof Marceline Naudi is a social worker by profession and forms part of the Department of Gender and Sexualities at the University of Malta. She lectures and supervises student research on gender issues, violence against women, LGBTIQ+ and other anti-oppressive issues at Diploma, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral level. She is Regional Editor for Europe of the Journal on Gender Based Violence, an ex-member of GREVIO (Council of Europe), and a member of the Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) Advisory Board, as well as part of the core coordinating group for the European Observatory on Femicide. She is an activist on the issues of gender equality and violence against women, LGBTIQ+, as well as wider human rights issues, both in Malta and in Europe.

Maria Pisani

Dr Maria Pisani holds a PhD in adult education, and an BA and a MA in Youth & Community Studies. She is an academic, youth and community worker and an activist. Maria is the co-founder of Integra Foundation, an NGO dedicated to providing support to asylum seekers and refugees. Maria Heads up the Department of Youth & Community Studies, University of Malta. Her research interests include forced migration, with a focus on critical intersectionalities. Her academic work is unapologetically political and committed to social justice and transformation.

Mina Jack Tolu

Mina Jack Tolu (neutral or masculine pronouns) is a trans and non-binary activist, politician, consultant, thinker, writer, and artist from the Mediterranean. They’ve been working on developing campaigns, raising awareness, and storytelling on LGBTQI rights, green politics, electoral campaigns, and roller derby for just over a decade. Mina Jack is passionate about trans and non-binary inclusion in media, art, sports, and other areas where representation is lacking.

Mohamed Ali (Dali) Aguerbi

Mohamed Ali (Dali) Aguerbi is a theatre artist and an LGBTQI+ activist from Tunisia based in Malta. He worked with various organizations on minority rights in both countries. He joined the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement MGRM in 2018 and currently acts as a co-coordinator while leading the project Rainbow Bridge addressing the LGBTIQ+ migrant community’s challenges. As an artist, most of his work is about the intersection of storytelling and performance with everyday politics and resistance. He collaborated with various international artists as a performer and co-creator. Some of his creations are, “Would You Like to Dance With Me?” an interactive street performance in collaboration with a group of refugees and asylum seekers; “Counting Down” a contemporary dance street performance discussing institutionalised racism and patriarchy; “Don’t Forget Me” a screen dance commissioned by Refugee Week Malta, and “Outcast” a multidisciplinary performance by a group of Tunisian refugee and migrant artists discussing childhood traumas.

Mousa Hamoud

With over 18 years of rich experience in the aviation sector, Moussa Hamoud has made an indelible mark in both business aviation and airlines. His passion lies in the intricate world of airline operational service delivery, where safety and security are paramount. Notably, he has also developed a keen interest in fine dining and luxury catering. In recent years, Moussa has specialized as a Ground Operations Manager, delving into areas such as Dangerous Goods transport by Air, Safety Management, and Emergency procedures within the realm of business aviation operations. Despite his thriving career, Moussa’s personal life remained separate from aviation until 2016 when he joined ARC. Since then, he has taken on the role of Secretary and embraced his identity as an LGBT+ Activist. This transformation has provided Moussa with a profound sense of belonging in Malta, igniting a passion for making a positive impact in the community. It represents his powerful journey from keeping personal experiences hidden to actively contributing to the fight for rights and acceptance, a journey that he holds close to his heart.

Neil Falzon

Dr Neil Falzon is a lawyer (2001) and founder/Director of aditus foundation, an NGO established with a mission to monitor, report and act on access to human rights in Malta. It works to promote a society where all persons are able to access and enjoy all their fundamental human rights. The organisation analyses Malta’s laws, policies and practices on human rights, engaging in activities to strengthen them, whilst offering free legal aid to marginalised and vulnerable persons. He regularly lectures human rights law at the University of Malta. Neil prepared the first draft for Malta’s current legislation on transgender rights and, with his colleagues, drafted the Civil Unions Act thereby paving the way for marriage equality. Together with focusing on legal and policy issues, Neil’s work in this sector is keen to ensure a voice to the LGBTIQ+ migrant community, promoting an inclusive approach to law and policy-making. Neil is married and has two boys and three cats.

Owen Cachia

Owen Cachia (he/him) is a 21-year-old fourth year medical student and the current Youth Community Officer within KNŻ. As soon as he started medical school, Owen involved himself in student activism within the Malta Medical Students’ Association. He was eventually elected for the role of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’ Officer within the organisation and worked tirelessly on numerous campaigns with the aim of promoting safe sexual health practices and destigmatising the topic of sexual health in the community. He was eventually selected for the role of Director for Health within KNŻ, within which he hosted the first LGBTQ+ pride campaign within the council, which has a sexual health aspect to it focusing on the promotion and destigmatisation of STI testing within the LGBTQ+ community. Besides activism worth, Owen is passionate about and would like to eventually pursue a career in Genito-Urinary and HIV Medicine.

Rūta Trumpickienė

Rūta Trumpickienė, a seasoned professional social worker with two decades of experience, holds a master’s degree from Vilnius University. Her journey into LGBTQI+ rights advocacy began when her child, a transgender boy, came out at the age of 15. Rūta is an active member of “Mothers for LGBTQ+ Children” in Lithuania and the “European Network of Parents” organization. She participated in the “Let’s Change the Pace: How Are European Trans* and Gender Diverse Children Doing?” conference in 2022. Rūta is committed to public education on transgender issues, fostering LGBTQI+ tolerance, mobilizing parents of transgender children for activism, introducing LGBTQI+ education in schools, and enhancing inter-institutional collaboration. Her primary goal is to ensure proper assistance and support for transgender minors. With extensive experience and deep dedication, Rūta is a valuable advocate for LGBTQI+ rights and a compassionate voice for those in need.

Ruth Baldacchino

Ruth Baldacchino (they/them) is a trans, queer and feminist activist from Malta with over 20 years of experience in community organising, international LGBTQI activism, philanthropy, policymaking and research. Their human rights work started with the Malta LGBTIQ Movement (MGRM). Ruth served on a number of boards, including IGLYO, ILGA-Europe and ILGA World, and they were ILGA World’s Co-Secretary General between 2014 and 2019. They are the Board Vice-Chair of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights. For the past eight years, Ruth led and managed the Intersex Human Rights Fund at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, supporting intersex-led organisations worldwide. Before that, they worked at the Maltese Ministry for Civil Liberties, having researched and drafted several LGBTQI laws and policies. They have also been leading the sex work law and policy reform in Malta. Ruth holds an M.A. in Women’s Studies from University College Dublin and a B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology from the University of Malta. They are pursuing a PhD in Social Justice at University College Dublin.

Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend has been on the Board of EGLSF (European Gay & Lesbian Sports Federation) since 2016 and is currently co-president. She sits on the ENGSO Equality Within Sport Committee (EWS) committee, which advises the Executive Committee on equality matters, and was one of the 15 experts of the European Commission High Level Group on Gender Equality in Sport. Sarah has represented the French LGBTQI sporting federation at international level, and is a delegate with the Federation of Gay Games. Sarah enjoys outdoor activities – hiking, open-water swimming, cycling, rowing – and co-founded Activ’Elles04, to promote women’s sport and to offer women living in a rural setting the opportunity to access these activities.

Serkan Zivil

Serkan Zihli, 42, he/him, Turkish queer, green and left activist living in Malta, regional representative of Workers’ Party of Türkiye, took part to establish and worked as volunteer in many NGOs like Spod LGBT, Istanbul Pride, Lambda Istanbul and LeGaTo, the first official LGBTIQ+ student network club in Turkish universities (1999). 

Solange Bonello

Solange Bonello works at the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) as a manager within the Research & UNCRPD Unit. She obtained a first class degree in Youth & Community studies and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Malta and is currently carrying out her doctoral research focusing on how news is conveyed to pregnant women when an impairment has been diagnosed. On a personal level she has been an activist within the disability and gender equality fields for over a decade, with a particular interest in the rights of women & girls with a disability, also as a result of her own journey as a visually impaired woman.

Tem Freya

Tem Freya is an inclusion activist based in Glasgow, Scotland, specialising in Queer and Disabled inclusion in sports and outdoor activities. Their work in Trans & Intersex inclusion has supported sports governing bodies at both a national and international level to develop radically inclusive policies and practice that apply an intersectional view of marginalisation in pursuit of a fairer, kinder world. They are an elite international level roller derby referee and coach, and an avid amateur rock climber. Tem has worked with Scottish LGBTQI+ inclusion charity LEAP Sports Scotland as a project officer, youth worker, and trainer, and has performed inclusion and equality committee roles with the United Kingdom Roller Derby Association and the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Their deepest passion and commitment is to do their bit to contribute to the development of playful, sustainable futures that celebrate diversity and dismantle systems of oppression and disempowerment.

Valeska Padovese

Dr Valeska Padovese is the senior consultant and leading clinician at the Genitourinary clinic in Malta. Her main clinical and research interest is skin and sexual health in vulnerable groups. In the past years, she participated to numerous projects among which “CARE – Common Approach for Refugees and other migrants’ health” and CAPTIVE -Cultural Agent Promoting & Targeting Interventions vs Violence & Enslavement, that received funds from EU. She is currently implementing project SSKAPP “Skin and sexually transmitted infections KAP (knowledge, attitude and practice) survey and health promotion strategy using mobile and digital technologies in migrant populations” in Malta and Lebanon and project REACH-OUT-Integrate community healthcare (2023).
She is WHO principal investigator (PI) of two research projects on clinical-based evaluation of Point of Care Test (POCT) for syphilis-HIV and Chlamydia-Gonorrhoea in genital and extra-genital sites in MSM. Dr Padovese is the President of the upcoming IUSTI Europe Congress in Malta- 2023, IUSTI Europe board member, ILDS advisor on migrants’ skin health, STIs and HIV. She is the author of 50 research papers in peer-review journals and Associated Editor of the British Journal of Dermatology. Dr Padovese has recently co-founded an international NGO, Bridges2Health&Rights and she carry on international humanitarian missions.

Willemijn van Kempen

Willemijn van Kempen is a white lesbian trans woman, a long standing trans advocate and a board member of Transgender Europe. Being born in 1961, she had to pave a way, ahead of awareness, emancipation or protections, in a Dutch but Catholic, rural, Limburgian speaking, working class environment. She survived conversion therapy and sterilisation. She led a trans and intersex collective holding the Dutch government accountable for violating their rights in the former law on legal gender recognition that imposed irreversible sterilisation and medical interventions to conform their bodies to normative expectations. The government apologised publicly and payed a 5000 euro allowance to a large group. Willemijn currently initiates a documentary on this topic. Working in support of trans asylum seekers led to executing an extensive research into trans Latina’s asylum procedures in the Netherlands, followed by advocacy to improve these procedures with Transgender Network Netherlands on a National level.

Wim Peumans

Dr Wim Peumans is a Belgian writer and anthropologist. He holds a PhD in Anthropology (KU Leuven, Belgium) and was affiliated to the universities of Kent (Canterbury) and Witwatersrand (Johannesburg). Wim has published two award-winning academic books on sexuality, migration and Islam, including Queer Muslims in Europe (2018, Bloomsbury). He also wrote a political biography (2019) and Habibi (2021). The latter featured 10 narratives of LGBTQ Muslims in Belgium and the Netherlands. Wim received the Marguerite Lefèvre Prize for Gender Studies (2010), the Honourable Mention of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies Book Award (USA, 2019) and was nominated for the Flemish Diversity Award (2022). He is currently preparing his next book: a biography of the Meuse river.

Yassine Chagh

Yassine Chagh (He/They) is both an electrical engineer and a dynamic multi-disciplinary human rights activist. Their expertise encompasses vital areas of social change, including racial justice, LGBTQIA+, as well as period poverty. Yassine serves as an executive board member and anti-racism task force coordinator at IGLYO, where they endorse the integration of BIPOC and ethnic minority youth perspectives into operational strategies & action plans. Besides that they also work as a racial justice advisor, where they work with local organizations to develop inclusive agendas, fostering safer spaces for racialized/marginalized communities to ensure their active involvement in the socio-political sphere. Notably, Yassine initiated the “Let’s Talk Period Cyp” movement, addressing menstrual stigma and period poverty, particularly for LGBTQIA+ menstruators, refugees, and other underrepresented groups.


Zakaria based in Beirut, is a co-founder of Qorras, a group producing queer feminist knowledge, where he leads on finance and fundraising and is involved in various initiatives. Zakaria also co-leads the Tajassod working group in Qorras, which focuses on trans leadership, practical information and networking for trans individuals in Lebanon.