The Network of European LGBTIQ* 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 organisation to represent the interests of LGBTIQ* (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:
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.
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 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 (14) and Andrea Giuseppe (5).
Giuseppina was the founding president of ‘Famiglie Arcobaleno’ for 10 years, from 2005 until October 2015. Throughout those 10 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. In March 2017, she organised the international NELFA conference in Naples, Italy: Rainbow families in Europe – Same love, different status. Results achieved and challenges ahead
Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy
Giovanni is 37, Italian, he lives in Genoa and he is a marine engineer working in the shipmanagement field. He married Stefano in 2012 in London (they got civil partnershipped at first, then they got the upgrading to marriage in 2015). In November 2016, their son Alessandro was born in California.
Giovanni joined Famiglie Arcobaleno in 2011 and he has been the association’s “regional representative” in Liguria, the region where he lives, for two years (2012 and 2013). Then, together with his husband and other activists, he founded the Coordinamento Liguria Rainbow, a network of local LGBTIQ* people, feminist and pro civil rights associations. The Coordinamento organises yearly, starting from 2014, the International Day Against Homo-Bi-Transphobia (IDAHOT) celebrations and the Pride Parade in Genoa.
Björn is a 41 year-old journalist from Germany. Until summer 2015, he worked as news editor and reporter for several public radio stations. Then, he moved from Berlin to Brussels, together with his husband and their foster son Elia (born October 2011). Meanwhile, a sweet foster daughter Tianna (born September 2016) completes the family. Therefore, Björn slipped into the role of a stay-at-home-dad.
Since November 2015, Björn supports NELFA as an editor of its Facebook account. In March 2016, he was elected into the NELFA Board (as member of the German LSVD) and belongs since then officially to the media team of the network. Björn writes press releases, letters, takes part in rainbow family (strategy) meetings, conferences and other events (like IFED). In the meantime, he became NELFA Secretary (March 2017) and is responsible for the (virtual) office. He coordinated NELFA’s successful Erasmus+ project “Adequate and equal legal protection for rainbow families” and is also responsible for the current project “Chances and challenges for rainbow families”.
Björn’s aim is to improve the rights of rainbow families, their legal recognition, protection and equal treatment. He wants to create greater understanding, acceptance and trust towards LGBTIQ* parents and their children – through information and visibility.
Eleni is a member of FLG in Catalonia, Spain. She is from Greece, but has been living in Spain since 2005. She is married with Kate McArdle who is from England and they have two daughters, Francesca and Alexandra, both born in Barcelona.
Eleni has been involved with the FLG since 2012 when she volunteered for the 2nd European Meeting of Rainbow Families. She helped members and non-members of the FLG with questions regarding the rights of their families outside of Spain.
Her family has been affected a lot by inequality Rainbow Families face in Europe and that is what was motivating Eleni to become a part of the NELFA Board. Her home country Greece doesn’t recognise her marriage or her wife as mother of their children. And in the UK, Kate is not recognised as the mother of their oldest daughter because she was conceived before they were married.
Eleni would like to help promoting the injustices and problems our families and particularly our children face in Europe. Specifically children with parents like Eleni and Kate who have different nationalities and have to deal with the legislation of more than one country.
Dugine obitelji, Croatia
Daniel is 36 years old, a Croatian national with Croatian/Serbian heritage that studied to become an elementary school and computer science teacher but ended being a IT freelancer specialised in web design and business/project management. 3 years ago, he became the known donor to his two close friends, that are now raising an adorable boy as two legally recognised mothers, with him being actively involved and trying to teach his son the important things in life, such as Star Wars history, superhero trivia and why Lego bricks are still the best toy ever.
As for his activist background, after more than ten years working in the private sector, in March 2014 Daniel reversed his volunteer engagement in various Croatian civil society initiatives with a more professional one. His work consisted mostly of project and financial management for non-profit organisations, focusing on EU projects financial management and supervision. His activist interests stretch across a wide area, ranging from the commitment to an educational reform that would include health/sex and civic education through the direct help to refugees and activism in the fight for the equality of LGBTIQ* people in Croatia.
His current focus is on the Rainbow Families Croatia association; he became involved 5 years ago, while it was just a non-formal citizen initiative. As they grew, his involvement became more and more active (due to his personal story). In 2017, he was one of the founders of the official Rainbow Family association, was actively involved in the publishing of the first children picture book about rainbow families in Croatia, and his engagement continues to grow on a daily basis.
Fluent in Croatian, Italian and English, his main interest in joining the NELFA board is to raise the visibility and strengthen rainbow families across South-Eastern Europe and help the network grow both in the newest EU members as well as perspective ones.
Susana is 47 years old, her nationality is Spanish and although she has travelled a lot, she has always lived in Spain. Susana is Bachelor Degree in business and she’s currently working as Finance Director in an international company. Susana was married with a woman and they had two children, 10 and 5 years old right now: “Unfortunately, we were divorced and now, we are enjoying of our children through joint custody. Bit hard at the beginning, but much better now, with great learnings to share with everyone who need it!”
Susana belongs to Galehi (a gays, lesbians with children organisation in Spain) for a long time and says: “I have a robust background in business. So, I will be happy to contribute with my professional experience or any other input because I’m a very versatile and enthusiastic person!” Fluent in English and Spanish, French low level, Susana joined the NELFA Board to be involved and to help to raise the visibility, support, growth and development to our families in all possible territories.
Famiglie Arcobaleno, Italy
Esteban is the proud father with Michele of Davide and Gabriel, two adorable boys born in California through surrogacy 5 years ago. Esteban was born and race in Italy even if his family is orginally from Costa Rica.
Esteban has a degree in International Politics and a master degree in International Cooperation. His work experience is mainly focused on international projects managing. Esteban works for the Government of the Liguria region, specifically he is focused on social projects for the integration of migrant citizens in the regional territory. Most of the projects that Esteban followed are financed by the Italian Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs or directly by the European Commission.
Esteban is member of Famiglie Arcobaleno since 2010 and has cooperated on behalf of FA in the last editions of the International Family Equality Day (IFED). Esteban speaks fluent Italien, English and Spanish and has a basic knowledge in French.
Jesús SANTOS HOMOBONO
Jesús is a gay father of Gabriel (15), he’s married and he lives in Madrid, Spain. Jesús belongs to Galehi, one of the founder associations of NELFA. Galehi is an association rainbow families fighting for family rights in Spain and with NELFA all over Europe. Jesús was the first Galehi President (for 4 years) and part of the Board later. In the meantime, he left the Board but is still very active in his association.
He would like to take his experiences with Galehi to work for NELFA on the European level. Jesús wants to participate as much as his job allows. He speaks Spanisch and English (“Perhaps not as fluent as I would like!”). Please, let me know your questions and thoughts.
Anu Kantola is Board member of the Rainbow Families Association in Finland, Sateenkaariperheet. She is also part of the Helsinki Pride organising group as a “Party with Pride” team coordinator. Anu has a child with her former wife Sofia. After having a baby with a woman and experiencing difficulties with society about same sex parenting, she got very interested in human rights concerning LGBTIQ* families. Anu wants to further promote equal treatment for everyone globally and that’s the main reason why she wants to be a part of the NELFA Board.
Anu is studying Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Management and has her own business. Furthermore, Anu has Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies and worked almost five years for the Department of Justice in Finland as a criminal sanctions officer. She has good knowledge in the justice system and follow actively all kinds of law enforcements in the LGBTIQ* area.
Son Nuestros Hijos, Spain
Marcos is a criminal lawyer in the Spanish international law firm “Uria Menendez” and is – together with his husband – father through surrogacy of a child born in Mexico (in 2016).
Marcos has recently been appointed as a member of the SNH Board in order to reinforce a more protective profile towards our families. Prior to his appointment, he has been working for Son Nuestros Hijos for more than a year, reviewing legal issues, raising concern among public authorities to protect the rights of children born through surrogacy and taking legal actions against direct attacks to our families.
Marcos joined SNH Board full of ideas, energy and his profile as a jurist will be helpful, not only for SNH but also for NELFA’s future works. SNH and NELFA share the same purpose to ensure that children raised in LGBTIQ* families in Europe are granted the same rights as children in other families. Therefore, we strongly believe that Marcos is a reliable candidate for the NELFA Board.
Veneta is 39 years old and has joined the LGBTIQ* movement in 2015, when she started to make events for sharing her experience in becoming a parent as a lesbian. Nowadays, she serves as a Chairperson of the Youth LGBT Organisation Deystvie in Bulgaria [which recently applied for a full membership in NELFA]. Veneta is member of an informal group of LGBTIQ* parents within Deystvie.
Veneta’s personal life became in a way public life: She is one of the very few people who are sharing their stories within the community and also with wider society. Veneta sees the need to motivate more people to join her in this as personal stories have the power to transform. Her legal background makes her aware of all negative aspects of the lack of proper legislation but also gives her the chance to provide herself and others with possible solutions in the meantime.
Veneta would like to reach more allies who could serve as opinion leaders and thus bring the wider society and the other concerned stakeholders (authorities, agencies, governmental bodies).
Deystvie organisation is officially founded in 2012 and is now a leading force into the LGBTI movement. Deystvie is part of the organising committee of Sofia Pride, organises the annual Sofia Pride Film Fest and LGBTI related events mostly in Sofia. Since 2017, Deystvie started its program to go in the country and now is implementing the LEAD project that brings activists from around the country in order to share experience and to start local LGBTI groups. Deystvie is also well-known to the community with their legal defense program and is supporting the community with pro bono legal support. In 2017, they started the first same-sex marriage equality legal case in Bulgaria.
Son Nuestros Hijos, Spain
Juan works for an international fashion company. He is married and has a 4-year-old daughter through surrogacy. Juan has helped people sharing his experience and talking about surrogacy and gay parenting. He has a demanding jub and travels a lot, but he feels confident on the values he can add to NELFA.