LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

EU supports proposal to work on health and well-being of LGBTI people

On 29 May 2013, the European Union was united behind a strong position at the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) on the need to address health issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Lithuania (on behalf of the EU and its Member States) delivered a speech at the meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which was debating LGBT health issues and said that the EU welcomes the initiative towards improving the health and well-being of LGBT people and suggesting broadening the topic to explicitly include intersex people.

ILGA-Europe welcomes the EU position and particularly the mention of intersex people.

Sophie Aujean, ILGA-Europe’s Policy Officer, overseeing the work on health issues, said:

“We are very happy to see the EU speaking strongly and with one voice on the need to fight discrimination and inequalities faced by LGBTI people and to ensure the protection of their fundamental rights in all policies, including health. It is important to note that the EU acknowledges that LGBTI people face health inequalities - stigmatisation and discrimination - which lead to inappropriate healthcare and reluctance to seek preventive healthcare.

Sadly the WHO failed to embrace the issue of LGBTI health due to the strong opposition that it received from some states, we nonetheless encourage the EU to act on these commitments internally within the European Union. In particular, we want the EU to facilitate good practice exchange, training for healthcare professionals, and champion the depathologisation of trans identities.”

Relevant extract from the EU Statement at the 133rd WHO Executive Board meeting:

“Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is prohibited under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as well as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Such values are very close to the EU's heart and are widely promoted across all policies.

Harmful behaviours, lack of access to prevention and health care services, and inadequate treatments are frequently a consequence of stigma and discrimination, and often result in health inequalities for LGBTI persons. Accordingly, we believe that all discriminatory legislation, policies and practices against LGBTI persons must be removed, such as inadequate health service provision, denial of care, compulsory treatments and violation of privacy rules. In this way, we can improve access of health care to such vulnerable groups and improve national health outcomes.“