Catalonia is taking the lead for LGBTIQ+ policies and as such was awarded one of the European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity awards of the European Commission; more concretely, Catalonia won the silver award for the special category on the promotion of LGBTIQ inclusion, in recognition of the SAI Network (Comprehensive Attention Services, in Catalan). Currently this network has 114 active services around Catalonia.
The award also highlights the prominence given to LGBTIQ+ policies by the Catalan Government. More concretely, during the present mandate, the Government established the Directorate-General for LGBTIQ+ Public Policies, which had been claimed for a long time by civil society and comes as a natural evolution of the programme for the LGBTI collective created in 2004.
The Regional Minister for Equality and Feminisms, Tània Verge, collected the award in Brussels and highlighted that “in a context of receding LGBTIQ+ policies across several countries, it is urgent to implement strong equality policies to counter far-right movements and to continue advancing towards a society that is more just, equitable and free from all hate expressions”.
At the awards, the town council of Terrassa was the gold-winner in the category of local authorities above 50,000 inhabitants “for its strong intersectional and cross-cutting strategy around inclusion and diversity”. Terrassa came ahead of Brussels and Helsinki, who received the silver and bronze awards, respectively.
Awards recognizing inclusion
The European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity recognize and bring visibility to the best practices in public policies of local and regional administrations in the European Union that “play a key role in promoting diversity and inclusion, creating safe, welcoming and hospitable spaces for residents to live in and thrive” said the European Commissioner for Equality, Ms. Helena Dalli.
Dalli highlighted also the importance of working on a local scale: “Building inclusive communities at a municipal and regional level means we can build a Union that is truly Equal in Europe” and mentioned that the “work, effort and extraordinary task of the winners are an inspiration for others”.
Catalonia, a pioneering region in Europe
This European award underscores the work that has been done in Catalonia for several years. In fact, the Catalan Regional Government was the first in the world to have a specific executive programme. The Government was also part of ILGA, and as such took the lead for the network of inclusive governments.
In a similar way, the City Council of Barcelona, and then the Catalan Regional Government, was the first administration to have an LGBTIQ participatory council. At the same time, and since 2004, several Catalan administrations have strongly supported LGBTI public policies.