EU's Fundamental Rights Agency on the rights of LGBT people: "uneven landscape in the protection of LGBT rights throughout Europe"

30 Nov 2010

30 November 2010

Today the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) presents its updated report on Homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to the Members of the European Parliament. The FRA report reveals that in some EU Member States, legislation and practice is increasing the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, while in others the rights of LGBT persons are being restricted or neglected. This creates an uneven landscape in the protection of LGBT rights throughout Europe.

This report was compiled in response to European Parliament request to examine the situation of LGBT persons in depth, following restrictive legislation on their rights in a number of EU Member States.

The FRA report highlights three underlying problems faced by LGBT persons in the EU: that they are forced to live in silence and invisibility, suffer violent attacks, and are not treated equally, for example at work, by landlords or when moving within the EU.

The report clearly highlights the hardship that transgender people still face in changing their legal gender, which often includes forced sterilisation and compulsory divorce. Additionally, the real life test requirement oftentimes leads transgender people into unemployment and social marginalisation. FRA calls on EU Member States to "abolish divorce and genital surgery as preconditions to the rectification of the recorded sex or alteration of name on official documents."

Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:
"We welcome the updated report and that fact that the rights of LGBT people remain among the priorities of the Fundamental Rights Agency. Sadly, since the original FRA report in 2008, LGBT people in some EU Member States still suffer from violations of their basic fundamental rights to safety, peaceful assembly and are restricted in their ability to move freely across the EU. Some Member States are single-handedly blocking the adoption of a new anti-discrimination directive which would level up the protections available to various communities, including LGB people, from discrimination in the areas of EU competence highlighted by the FRA report."

ILGA-Europe is calling upon EU institutions and Member States to follow the opinions of FRA by drawing up a strategy to fight homophobia, transphobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In particular, ILGA-Europe encourages taking a decisive step towards the adoption of new directive banning discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion /belief and sexual orientation in such areas as access to goods and services, health, and education.

LGBT people need to be included in the process of the implementation of the Stockholm Programme to ensure their civil status is being recognised across the EU, that they are protected from hate crimes, and the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are taken into account in asylum claims.

Sexual orientation and gender identity need to be taken into account and included in all other current EU policy developments and legislation.


Notes for editors:
(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe:

(2) The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to decision makers in the EU. The Agency's evidence aims at informing EU and national policy makers about fundamental rights challenges on the ground, as well as at contextualising debates on fundamental rights issues in the European Union:

(3) Updated FRA report.


Via ILGA Europe