The Almaty EL*C conference is canceled but the fight continues

It is with anger, sadness, and great disappointment that we must share with you the decision to cancel the upcoming EL*C Conference, initially scheduled on 7-11 October 2024 in Kazakhstan. Together with our partners and local hosts of the conference – Feminita, the EL*C has concluded that an international event of the scale and visibility of our biennial conference would be counterproductive, be it during or in the aftermath of the event.

Indeed, while the colonial influence of russia still touches the region, making Kazakhstani officials suggest colonial anti-LGBT amendments to laws, the international institutions, diplomatic missions, and donors withdrew their support to the event instead of voicing an unequivocal and reinvigorated commitment to the human rights of lesbians and the protection of lesbian human rights defenders.

A pivotal indicator of the international community’s attitude was the last-minute cancellation by the United Nations in Almaty of the long-confirmed use of the UN premises as a venue for the conference. This climate of uncertainty is naturally prompting diverse and diverging responses within the local communities. As an international stakeholder and co-organizer, EL*C must consider all concerns when defining its actions and strategic objectives.


Against this backdrop, with a heavy heart but with the best interest of our community and members in mind, we have determined that the organization of the EL*C biennial conference in its intended scope, format, and purpose, could no longer be ensured.


We will however not allow for the manipulation and disinformation to prevail, we will never allow our rights and our movements to be labelled as “LGBTI propaganda” or “foreign agents”. We will set the narrative straight (or rather lesbian), and we will keep fighting for justice and freedom, for our right to exist in peace, to be visible and heard, and for solidarity across the borders!


EL*C, and the lesbian movement it represents, are not one to shy away from adversity, and we will always be where we are most needed alongside our lesbian sisters and siblings. With this in mind, and in response to the challenging situation, we are exploring various strategies to engage with the local community and act as a meaningful lever and amplifier for our members in Kazakhstan and the Central Asian region, ranging from participating in peaceful protest and public dialogue, advocating in international fora, as well as joining the local activities and local gatherings. In particular, Feminta will organise The Lesbian Quryltai on the dates originally intended for the EL*C conference. Communications on the latter will be received directly from Feminita.


At the same time, strong in the knowledge that the EL*C conference is a unique and needed space for mobilizing, connecting and building our movement in solidarity, with courage, love, rage and resilience against patriarchal systems of oppression, we are working on identifying a suitable location to host the next EL*C conference in 2025. 


We will communicate the dates and place of the next EL*C conference as soon as possible. Please note that we will keep your pre-registration and/or scholarship application for the next EL*C conference, and we will contact you soon to confirm your interest.


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