The Network of European LGBTI Families Associations (NELFA) was created informally on 1 May 2009 to bring together the associations of European lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex parents and their children under one European umbrella organization to represent the interests of LGBTI / Rainbow Families. NELFA was incorporated under Belgian law as an international non-profit association (AISBL) on 12 March, 2012. Official NELFA headquarters are located in the Rainbow House in Brussels.
Currently, the Board of NELFA is composed of the following members:
Maria VON KAENEL
Maria launched the petition “Equal Opportunities for all Families” in association with the Swiss gay/lesbian umbrella associations LOS and Pink Cross. She is a co-founder and General Manager of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association.
The idea to create a special day once a year to celebrate and highlighting the diversity of families all over the world came to her in the course of her ongoing work on behalf of LGBT family rights. The “International Family Equality Day” will be celebrated yearly in Europe, Israel, Japan the US, Canada and around the world on the first Sunday of May.
Maria has been with NELFA since its inception in 2009. She became a Board member in March 2012 and stayed actively involved in the Board until March 2013. Reelected in the AGM 2014 in Maastricht as NELFA Board member.
Maria has been in a registered partnership since 2007, when Swiss law first started recognising same-sex partnerships. She lives near Zurich with her wife and their two children.
Her wishes for the future are: mutual recognition of registered partnerships within the EU and other European countries as the next step toward full legal recognition for rainbow families.
ILGA Portugal, Portugal
Luis is the proud father of Georgina (almost 9). He and his Swedish husband Jarl became parents through adoption in the USA in 2005. Luis and family live in Brussels, Belgium in a fairy-tale house, next to a fairy-tale forest.
Luis describes his family as a polyglot, multi-cultural, multi-racial work of love. He believes that a world that does not discriminate against the children of LGBT people is a better world for all children everywhere.
In December 2013, Luis published a children’s book with the support of ILGA Portugal, telling the story of a family very similar to his own. The book is being used by ILGA Portugal to promote family diversity in Portuguese primary schools.
Luis is a long-time member of ILGA-Portugal (the oldest LGBT association in Portugal), and joined their Grupo Famliias Arco-Iris (Rainbow Families) in 2011. He became actively involved in the work of NELFA in October 2011. One of his first tasks was to facilitate the legal incorporation of NELFA under Belgian law. In March 2012, Luis became NELFA Board Member/Treasurer. Luis is also a member of Homoparentalit’s in Belgium.
He has a university degree in sociology and a post-graduation in education. He works for the Council of the EU.
Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy
Rita is Italian and lives in Strassbourg since 2007 with her wife, also Italian, whom she married in Norway, and with their ten-month old son, born in the UK. Rita is also a member of Famiglie Arcobaleno (Italy).
Rita has worked for non-governmental organisations on migrant and refugee rights in Italy, and for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) both in field missions in Kosovo and Croatia, on human rights issues, and in the Secretariat in Vienna, covering relations with other international organisations and countries outside OSCE membership.
Rita looks forward to the possibility of contributing to NELFA’s work in improving the situation of Rainbow Families across Europe!
Dominique has been involved in LGBT issues for the last 25 years, and more actively so as co-chairman of the LGBT Center in Paris (1999/2002), and since 2010 as co-chairman of APGL. APGL is the French leading LGBT families NGO and a founding member of NELFA (www.apgl.fr).
Dominique is the father of one boy (born in 2011, through surrogacy in Russia).
APGL has had quite a busy time in France over the last 2 years, leading to the adoption of marriage equality legislation in 2013. APGL feels it is time to contribute and share that experience with NELFA by being involved at Board level.
Giuseppina La Delfa
Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy
Giuseppina is an Italian-French citizen. She has been teaching French language at Salerno University in Southern Italy from 1990. She has been married to Raphaelle since 2013 and their wedding took place in France. They have had two children : Lisa Marie (almost 14 and Andrea Giuseppe almost 5).
Giuseppina was the founding president of ‘Famiglie Arcobaleno’ for 10 years, from 2005 until October 2015. Throughout those10 years she was constantly on the front line fighting for the rights of Italian rainbow families. She also fought for her own marriage to be recognised legally in Italy and has recently won that battle. She and her wife are the only homosexual couple who are legally married in Italy at present and their next personal fight has been the recognition of double filiation for their children in Italy.
They are waiting for the last step of the national judgement for both the issues.
Giuseppina is interested in the right of movement in Europe for homosexual and transsexual European citizens without the loss of civil rights. She would like to contribute to Nelfa by using mutual acquaintance, and she is thinking of creating with Nelfa a website for house swaps and holiday exchanges for children and teens.
She is currently organising for Nelfa the next international conference in Naples, Italy: Rainbow families in Europe – Same love, different status. Results achieved and challenges ahead
Björn is a 39 year-old journalist from Germany. Until summer 2015, he worked as news editor and reporter for several public radio stations (recently in Potsdam [rbb] and Magdeburg [mdr]). Then, he moved from Berlin to Brussels, together with his husband and their 4 year-old foster son Elia.
At the moment, Björn is a stay-at-home-dad and writes a book about his life as rainbow father and the circumstances of his lightning pregnancy in 2011, when he and his husband got parents nearly over night: Elia was born and he was only five days old when he came to his new rainbow family…
Björn wrote a radio feature concerning the Coming-Out in general and subject of his thesis was the former social democratic mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, who became known by his saying „ Ich bin schwul – und das ist auch gut so!“ („I’m gay – and that‘s good!“) in September 2001.
Björn would like to support the work of NELFA. He wants to improve the rights of rainbow families, make them more visible. Björn is member of the LSVD and belongs to the NELFA-mediateam.
TransInterQueer e.V. (TriQ)
Caroline Ausserer is a free lance journalist, moderator and certified diversity trainer with focus on EU-policy, human rights, LGBTIQ*, migration and gender. She has been involved in LGBTIQ* activism for many years, in particular as assistant at the European Parliament and with the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup. Originally from Northern Italy, she has lived in Austria, Spain, Brazil and Belgium and has moved to Germany in 2012 when her daughter was born.
In March 2016 she was elected into the NELFA Board as member of TransInterQueer e.V. (TriQ) in Berlin. She is part of the media team, supports the network with her knowledge on European mechanisms and institutions and is the liaison person for the next International Family Equality Day (IFED) and the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). Caroline is interested in advancing Rainbow Family rights throughout Europe with a particular focus on trans-families.
Short bio: Mag. a Ethnology and Political Science (Universtiy of Vienna, 2000), MA International Relations (University of Rio de Janeiro, 2007), Italian National Exam of Journalism in Rome (2004), Assistant at the European Parliament for MEP Ulrike Lunacek (The Greens/EFA, 2009-13), Press Officer at the Schwules Museum* in Berlin (2014-16). She works currently as Press Officer at The Greens in the Berlin district Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
Jordi is a pediatrician based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
He is a member of FLG, the Catalan LGTB families association, which has more than 400 members.
Jordi and his husband had their son almost 5 years ago through gestational surrogacy in the USA. They got married when they were 30 weeks pregnant! after more than 13 years together. Before their son Joan was born they were already involved in FLG.
Although many goals have been achieved in Spain in the last years, and although his family lives in a safe and gay-friendly city, Jordi has realised the need to continue the fight for the rights of our families in Spain and across Europe.
Jordi is excited to join the Board of NELFA and he hopes he will be able to contribute to our work. He believes that a better world for our kids and families is possible and he is sure that the best is yet to come.
Nicholas is a Greek Lawyer, member of the Athens Bar, practising since 2004. He is currently dealing mainly with Public and Administration Law cases and Human Rights Law cases. His practice has included also advising on the protection of Intellectual & Industrial Property rights and Company & Commercial Law matters and representing clients in litigation and dispute resolution arising from white-collar crime, as well as commercial, contractual and employment related disputes. Nicholas obtained a Degree in Law from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which included attending the University Paris-Sud and Institut Catholique de Paris where he followed the Programme Socrates-Gratianus on Church-State Relations and Freedom of Religion in Europe. He also holds an LLM in International Law and Diplomatic Studies, from the Panteion University of Athens. Nicholas is in the process of completing his PhD thesis on Current Trends in Enforcement of the International Protection of Human Rights: Confrontment of Infringements by Individuals.
Nicholas is legal advisor of OLKE since early 2013. He also works with other NGOs in Greece. Among them are, Colour Youth, Athens LGBTQ Youth Community (legal advisor since early 2013) and Act-Up DRASE-Hellas, an NGO dealing with HIV/AIDS prevention issues and the protection of HIV+ persons (legal advisor since early 2010).
He has very good legal knowledge of LGBTI issues in Greece and at European and international level, publishing regularly articles and commentaries on legal developments and judgments on these topics. He was recently selected to participate in a law-training event in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on LGBTI family law named Rights on the move-Rainbow families in Europe. Nicholas is also regularly in touch with NELFA’s other Greek member organisation, “Rainbow families of Greece- Ouranio Toxo”. Nicholas looks forward to being a dad one day.
Dr. Lisa Herrmann-Green is a psychologist specialised in lgbt psychology. Lisa is mother to three “Wunschkinder” ages 16, 12, and 10, who are amongst the first children born to lesbian parents in Germany. Born and raised in the USA, Lisa now resides with her family in southern Germany where she has lived for the past 22 years.
Aside from a research focus on lgbt families, she is a family therapist and provides private counseling for rainbow families in Germany and Switzerland.
She is active in international/national/regional organisations for lgbt families such as NELFA, LSVD (since the mid 1990’s) and ILSEÂ and is the advisor to the Swiss Association of Rainbow Families on psychosocial issues. Lisa joined NELFA at its second meeting in September 2009 and happily stuck with and contributed to its development ever since. In March 2012 Lisa became a Board Member of NELFA.
Lisa is also committed to striving for change in the interests of lgbt families through her research and by educating family-oriented resources. She has authored scientific pieces on lesbian parenting and lesbian usage of reproductive medicine as well as applied material, such as a children’s book explaining alternative conception.
Krisztian is from Hungary and is the co-founder of the Hungarian Foundation for Rainbow Families.
At the moment, he is a stay-at-home dad, but he keeps his part-time job as a psychologist and provides therapy to mainly LGBT people.
Krisztian is a certified family therapist, which comes in handy when he has to work with rainbow families.
Krisztian and his husband have been together for 8 years and have two kids, the oldest one is 3,5 years old, and the youngest one is 10 months old.