Since discrimination of LGBTI people often takes place in their direct surroundings, municipal and regional authorities have an important and specific task in combating discrimination of LGBTI people. Discrimination of LGBTI people is seldom explicitly dealt with by most local administrations. These Rainbow Cities are the exception to this; they consider it their responsibility to protect and support their LGBTI citizens.
Exchange of good practices, interventions and initiatives between these cities are important ways to increase the impact of local approaches and to spend budgets effectively, resulting into greater social inclusion. The person currently coordinating the Rainbow Cities Network is Juul van Hoof, senior policy advisor and the program manager on LGBTI issues with Movisie, the Netherlands Centre for Social Development She founded the Network in 2011, together with the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cologne and Turin.
Network in motion
The Rainbow Cities Network is a network in motion. Political shifts in the local government can mean an increased attention for LGBTI citizens, but it can also have the opposite effect. New members joined, while other members decided to prioritise differently. The Network remains an interactive, inspiring place to discuss, exchange and work together on increasing social inclusion and equality for all.
The aims of the Network
- Exchange experiences and lessons learnt on LGBTU issues in local policies
- Collaborate on specific themes, in projects or otherwise
- Exchange of local good practices and initiatives with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity
- Keep up to date with international developments in LGBTI policy
- Link up with (developments in) international networks and organisations
On 1 December 2016 the Rainbow Cities Network had 30 members. Read more about these cities.
Sustainability and commitment
Cities are represented by a staff member of the administration, so not by politicians or NGOs. By organising the Network this way, the members aim for sustainability and commitment at the working level of policy making and implementation. The Mayor, or Deputy Mayor, of a member city needs to guarantee political backing by signing the Memorandum of Understanding, committing to the goals and activities of the Network.
The Rainbow Cities Network meets once a year, each time hosted by another member city. The cities communicate via an internal email list, to which only member cities are invited.
One pagers: annual updates on policy specifics
Members of the network contribute to the annual meetings by delivering a so-called one pager, in which the progress of their local LGBTI policies and initiatives is summarised. These one pagers are the basis for reflection and exchange on certain themes.
Delivering a one pager is part of the application procedure for new members: together with a motivational email, a signed Memorandum of Understanding and information for the website, they are asked to draft a one pager.
The bundle of one pagers is not updated with every new member, but only 3 times a year. Therefore, cities who have recently joined the Network might not yet be added in this overview. The most current list of members can be obtained via the coordinator of the Rainbow Cities Network. This document (pdf) contains the one pagers of all current Rainbow Cities.