LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

How it is to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex in Europe in 2013?

On 16 May 2013, to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (17 May), ILGA-Europe launches the Rainbow Europe package reviewing the situation of LGBTI people in Europe and measuring the progress of European institutions and national governments towards full respect of LGBTI human rights.

Additionally, on 17 May, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights will present the results of its survey of experiences of violence and discrimination by LGBT people. This is the first survey of its kind, with around 93,000 respondents from all across the EU and Croatia, making it the largest and most comprehensive survey on LGBT issues to date in the world.

Lately, we heard a lot about marriage equality debate in France and the large public demonstrations by the opponents, or the regressive developments in Russia and Ukraine with the introduction of bans on ‘homosexual propaganda’ and further repression against the LGBTI movement.

But what about the rest of the continent? Is marriage equality the only criteria we should use to measure equality of LGBTI people in a society? Which European country is a champion of LGBTI equality and which countries are in the ‘red zone’? What are the main European trends: both in terms of achievements and shortcomings? Are the European institutions doing enough? Is Europe moving forward or taking steps back?

The Rainbow Europe package will provide the answers to all the above mentioned questions. It will give an overall picture of the current state of play of the human rights of LGBTI people in Europe and will consist of two major documents:

1. Rainbow Europe Map reflects the 49 European countries’ legislation and policies that have a direct impact on the enjoyment of human rights by LGBTI people. The Rainbow Europe Map will reflect each European country’s situation and will give overall score on how far this country is on a scale between 0% and 100%.

2. Second edition of ILGA-Europe Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe provides insights into the political and social developments and thus complements the more legally oriented Rainbow Europe Map with a feeling of what an everyday life and environment for LGBTI people is in different European countries.


Cecilia Malmström, EU Home Affairs Commissioner, who took part in the launch of our first Annual Review last year, commented on our Rainbow Europe package:


“Today, same-sex couples can marry in several EU Member States. In a few, they can adopt children and start a family in different ways. Slowly, transgender persons are given equal rights and therefore the opportunity to live the life accordingly with the person on the inside. This is all good developments, but we also see huge differences within Europe. It is with heavy sadness we hear about same-sex couples and rainbow families do not enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples and their children, not the fundamental EU-right of free movement. LGBT people are not only discriminated, but also subject to violence and hatred around the world and within the EU. The EU might not have competence on all areas, but LGBT people and their families should enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms equally.

ILGA-Europe is an important force in this. The Annual Review and Rainbow Europe Map provide us with useful pointers, which we can use to identify where we need to improve legislation to make life better for all in Europe. We do not only change the world through European legislation, there are other political levels and we should not forget individual responsibility and the need for change in attitudes. I believe information exchange also lead to progress, if we use the information we have. On this ILGA-Europe's Annual Review is very useful. Fighting homophobia and transphobia has always been a political priority for me. I will continue the fight for the right to love and the right to be yourself. We need to continue this struggle for equality together.”

Stay tuned to discover How it is to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex in Europe in 2013?