The project’s international closing conference “Rethinking Gender-based Violence in Relation to Diverse Sexualities” took place on 3rd December 2019 in the auditorium of the Espai Francesca Bonnemaison in Barcelona.
The event opened with an institutional panel chaired by Sira Vilardell, director of Surt Foundation, with the presence of Mireia Mata, Director of Equality of the Generalitat de Catalunya; Laia Franco, Head of the Women and LGBT office from the Barcelona Provincial Council and Laura Pérez, Deputy Mayor of Social Rights, Global Justice, Feminisms and LGTBI of Barcelona City Council, manifesting institutional commitment to the issue at hand.
Pam Alldred from Brunel University (UK) and Peter Kelley from Galop (UK) were the keynote speakers of the event. Pam Alldred talked about how integrating sexuality is not just adding it but rethinking how gender-based violence is conceptualized. Galop’s representative showed different models of service delivery in the UK and results of recent research conducted in the UK in relation to violence against LGTBI people.
The first panel discussion of the conference, involving the project partners, was chaired by Laura Sales, Look Wide’s coordinator and Head of the Research Department at Surt Foundation. The partners addressed the possibilities and limits of integrating gender and sexual diversity in the approach of gender-based violence in different European countries. First, Nagore García from Surt addressed some of the conceptual challenges faced during the project; then Nancy Papathanasiou from KMOP in Athens discussed their experience assessing victims’ needs and working with professionals; Sabrina Frasca, from the organization Differenzza Donna in Rome, focused on lesbian women and the experience of the anti-violence shelters in Italy, and Eszter Bálint, from Hátter in Hungary, covered the challenge of working with professionals in schools in an unsupportive environment. The panel closed with Gabriel_Nox Kohnke’s presentation on the experience of Dissens (Berlin) in peer-to-peer counselling and how intersectionality can be integrated into the services.
The second panel, chaired by Eva Cruells, Head of the Personal Empowerment Services at Surt Foundation, included different experts on public policy and support services. First, Jordi Valls, from Vilanova i la Geltrú City Council, shared his experience in integrating gender and sexuality as a public officer working with youth. Miriam Solá described some of the main results of the Look Wide project and advanced some of the recommendations for professionals included in the Look Wide guide. Laia Costa, coordinator of the public support service for gender-based violence in the city of Barcelona, explained the service and their specific challenges. Finally, Laura Macaya offered a power analysis which invited conference participants to critically rethink existing services.
The conference was closed with a poetry and music show by Bruno Cimiano and Cristina Blasco on the trans body, which recreated the ambiguity of the transition and reclaimed it as a habitable and desirable possibility.