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 September 2017 the Rainbow Cities Network had 31 members from 15 countries. 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.