LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Commissioner Reding refuses to take leadership or step up EU action on LGBTI issues

Today on 17 May the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights presented the results of the largest LGBT Survey of its kind in the world. 93,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people from the 27 EU Member States and Croatia responded and shared their experiences of discrimination, harassment and violence.

The Survey revealed that discrimination and fear from violence are lifetime companions of LGBT people literary at all stages of their lives. The results:

· education: 67% hid and/or disguised their identity fearing reprisal

· hate and violence: 26% had been attacked or threatened with violence; 35% among trans respondents

· employment: 20% were discriminated during previous year

· goods and services: 33% were discriminated when accessing housing, healthcare, education, social services and access to goods and services

· social climate: 67% avoided holding hands with their same-sex partner fearing assaults, threats or harassment.

ILGA-Europe welcomes this thorough and unique LGBT Survey report which for the first time confirmed what we already knew through our own documentation. ILGA-Europe will use the results from the Survey as evidence to argue for stepped up and coordinated EU actions.

In spite of the above, the response of Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights who is the institutional actor vested with the right to initiate action to tackle discrimination, was that the EU is already doing all that it can, and if Member States want to improve the situation in their country, then they should do it themselves.

Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“Commissioner Reding categorically refused to assume EU leadership on the LGBT issues in spite of the shocking results of the Survey.

The launch of the Survey results accompanied by a high level conference organised by the Dutch government with the participation of 11 EU Member State Ministers provided a historical opportunity to step up EU work on LGBTI issues when a coordinated approach is most needed.

ILGA-Europe will continue working towards a collective and comprehensive EU commitment on LGBTI issues with the already established and broad coalition of EU Member States, Members of the European Parliament, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, EQUINET and national equality bodies, and civil society organisations.

ILGA-Europe still believes that Commissioner Reding would be the logical and natural driving force of such a coordinated approach.”

Results of the FRA European LGBT Survey