German National Socialism persecuted tens of thousands people on the grounds of their sexual orientation; several thousand lost their lives. Even today, the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual people (LGBTI) still has not been overcome in many countries. The Foundation EVZ therefore supports activities that tackle contemporary discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Human rights are indivisible and also apply directly for people of different sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI). Sexual orientation and gender identity are prohibited grounds for discrimination. As the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe declared, neither cultural, traditional nor religious values can be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. Surveys carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, reports published by UN and Council of Europe bodies, research into attitudes regarding homophobia and transphobia and findings of non-governmental organisations all show that action needs to be taken in this field across Europe.
The funding programme aims to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity by empowering civil society organisations in these countries to enforce the human rights to which everyone is entitled, including LGBTI people. The capacities and human resources of civil society organisations that campaign for LGBTI people to be treated equally shall be strengthened and those who have been discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity shall be supported in challenging this treatment and claiming the rights to which they are entitled.
SOGIdarity stands for the connection between LGBTI and other parts of civil society. The program funds cooperative projects between LGBTI organizations and other civil society or public sector actors, e.g. human rights organizations, labor unions or professional organizations, municipal agencies, anti-discrimination bodies. The project should address the human rights concerns of LGBTI people in different living conditions. Only non-profit cooperation projects in Eastern Europe can be founded.
In the initial phase (2015 - 2017) the funding program was co-financed with funds from the EVZ Foundation and the Dreilinden gGmbH. Since 2018, the program has been financed by 100% from the EVZ Foundation.