SOGIGESC Unit Annual Conference 2021

​The SOGIGESC Unit’s Annual Conference for 2021 was held on the 16th of September. The theme chosen for the conference was “On the Margins: Threats to LGBTIQ Inclusion”.

The conference was addressed by the Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation, Hon Dr Owen Bonnici through a live zoom intervention. The Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment in identifying the remaining hurdles to truly achieve equality in Malta and identify how the country can better equip itself for future threats to inclusion.

The LGBTIQ Equality Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2022 - Annual Report September 2020 – September 2021 was presented by Gabi Calleja, Head of the SOGIGESC Unit within the Human Rights Directorate. It outlines all the work carried out by the Unit in advancing LGBTIQ equality in the third year of implementation of the national strategy and continues to build on the annual report of the previous two years.

The presentation was followed by a keynote address by Sara Garbagnoli who is a sociologist and feminist affiliated to the Center of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Paris. She has been involved for a long time in research on anti-gender campaigns, first focusing her attention on the Vatican, then analysing activities and discourses of far-right parties and actors. Her speech served as an introduction to the first panel. Composed of national and international experts in the field and moderated by Dr Marceline Naudi, Senior Lecturer at the Gender and Sexualities Department within the Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta, this discussion focused on how to better respond to the anti-gender movement and far-right ideologies.

A second keynote address, this time by Luca Stevenson who is a male sex worker and the current coordinator of the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe followed. Stevenson leads a multi-disciplinary team which advocates for the rights of sex workers in diverse policy fields such as health, migration, justice, and anti-trafficking. He has worked extensively across Europe with sex workers from various backgrounds including migrant and LGBTI sex workers. His speech led to the final panel discussion in the conference focusing on the local research available on and the legislative changes proposed for the sex industry. Stevenson sat on this panel and was joined by other national experts and academics, with the discussion being moderated by Aaron Giardina, a Manager at the SOGIGESC Unit and activist in the field.

Full speakers’ bios can be accessed here​.