Tomorrow, on 17 May, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia is being marked. Every year on this day ILGA-Europe looks at progress made by European countries towards respecting human rights and ensuring full legal equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) by publishing Rainbow Europe Map and Index.
The main trends observed this year are that:
- None of the countries in Europe can claim to provide for full legal equality for LGBT people. Every country in Europe still has work to do to achieve LGBT equality – even those which scored the highest on the Index (the United Kingdom (12,5 points) or Sweden and Spain (12 points))
- 14 countries (including 1 EU Member State) are in the ‘red zone’: gross violations of human rights and discrimination are taking place
- There are significant variations between countries in Europe: while some have progressed in the past year (e.g. Germany, Portugal), many others are not advancing towards greater recognition of rights (e.g. Cyprus, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Turkey, Ukraine), while in others (e.g. Lithuania, Hungary) we observe the risks of regress
- Many EU Member States are either around or below average when it comes to respecting human rights and ensuring legal equality of LGBT people. This is particularly worrying considering that the overall European average is very poor.
ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Map and Index rates each European country’s laws and administrative practices according to 24 categories and ranks them on a scale between 17 (highest score: respect of human rights and full legal equality of LGBT people) and -7 (lowest score: gross violations of human rights and discrimination of LGBT people). This is the first time the Map and the Index reflect categories on issues affecting trans people. The categories look at the
- inclusion of the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-discrimination and anti-hatred/violence laws
- existence of legal/administrative procedure for legal gender recognition for trans people
- legal recognition of same-sex couples and parenting rights
- respect of freedom of assembly and association of LGBT people
- equality of age of consent for same-sex sexual acts
- discriminatory requirements to legal gender recognition of trans people.
Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:
“The Rainbow Europe Map and Index is a great tool to see how European countries are doing when it comes to recognising the human rights of LGBT people. In this context, it is very disappointing to see so many countries remain in the ‘red zone’ of violations and discrimination, and that not a single country in Europe can claim full legal equality for LGBT people. Europe considers itself a global leader on human rights and equality, but the Map and the Index clearly show how far we are from being able to claim the title of LGBT human rights and equality champions.”
Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, added:
“We hope that European institutions and European countries will make a good use of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia and our latest Rainbow Europe Map and Index to reassess progress, acknowledge the whole range of unresolved problems and affirm their commitments to fight discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. There is a significant number of international and European agreements such as the Council of Europe’s recommendation on tackling sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and all European country can do more to reach at least the level of European standards.”