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ILGA team in Geneva

in SWITZERLAND, 02/04/2004

Yves de Matteis

Language teacher by profession, Yves lives in Geneva (francophone part of Switzerland). After defending LGBT rights for 15 years (especially partnership law), he has expanded his interests to other issues: defending people with disabilities, the fight against racism, protection of illegal aliens, etc. Delegate to ILGA World conferences, he founded the Gay International Group, a structure gathering gay foreigners from 90 countries. Responsible for the political aspect of a few Prides, he got involved in local politics as a member, at the municipal level, of the Green Party Board which he also represents in the Foundation Council of the Geneva Opera.

Switzerland in a nutshell

After the publication in 1836 of a book about "men’s love by the Greeks”, the years 1930’s saw the rise of some movements and magazines (including “der Kreis”: the Circle). Hosting – among others - Magnus Hirschfeld during the rise of the Nazi regime (1932-1933), Switzerland depenalized Homosexuality in 1942, and in 1992 made the age of consent the same for both heterosexual and homosexual relations. Since 2000, the Swiss Constitution forbids any discrimination based on “way of life” (including lesbians and gays, and a fortiori bisexuals and transgender people). The first partnership law in Switzerland entered into force in Geneva in 2001, followed by Zurich and Neuchâtel. A national partnership law is expected in 2004-2005.

Association 360°: Encouraging Openness!

Founded in 1998 in Geneva, the association 360 was founded by all those who had enjoyed working together on the gay Pride in 1997. Reuniting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (first “t” group in French-speaking Switzerland), but also heterosexuals. Hence the name of the association : 360° meaning the maximum angle of openness. Association 360 regroups 3 departments: 1) magazine 360° - a monthly publication available in LGBT sites, kiosks, and by suscription, 2) 360° Fever - the fund-raising department of the association through events and parties, 3) Espace 360: the social department with legal and psychological advice and half a dozen groups. During the Commission on Human Rights, the offices of the association was open for delegates who wanted or needed computers to read emails or write texts.

Yves’ work to support the Brazilian resolution

During the last Commission on Human Rights, Yves was responsible for finding hosts for the delegates coming to Geneva on the behalf of ILGA, as well as providing a thousand other little things which can sometimes prove important (plane reservations, per diems, translation, computers, information about Geneva, addresses, changing fuses, etc.). Together with other delegates, he participated in many meetings, including one with Mike Smith, Chairman of the Commission, other diplomats and the GRULAC. He also tried to have the Swiss government ask for the inclusion of transgender issues in the Brazilian resolution. Unfortunately without success. The year before, Yves – living in Geneva – was one of the few people to witness the whole negociation process surrounding the Brazilian resolution.

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