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Home / Resources / News / How is your country scoring? Report on LGBT rights and protection in Europe

How is your country scoring? Report on LGBT rights and protection in Europe


by Alessandro Valera                                                                                      
(copyright: ILGA Europe)

ILGA Europe has published a comparative report on the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual people (LGBT) in Europe (available here).  This has taken the form of an index in which each European country has been given a score for its legal treatment of those citizens who have a minority sexual orientation or gender identity. This country index is calculated on the basis of 24 legal and administrative parameters. Points are given to countries that have developed policies in the following areas:

  • Anti-discrimination legislation referring to sexual orientation and/or gender identity
  • Legal gender recognition of trans people
  • Partnership recognition of same-sex couples
  • Parenting rights of same-sex couples
  • Criminal law (hate speech/crime) referring to sexual orientation  and gender identity
  • Freedom of assembly/Pride events

Points are subtracted to countries that have been found violating LGBT rights in the following areas:

  • LGBT public events banned
  • Unequal age of consent for same-sex sexual acts
  • Absence of legal/administrative procedures for legal gender recognition
  • Compulsory divorce or sterilisation as a prerequisite for gender reassignment
  • Absence of any form of same-sex partnership

The results demonstrate that no country in Europe can guarantee full equality to its LGBT citizens, although some countries do a lot better than others. The UK (12.5 points), Spain and Sweden (12) have the most positive records. All western European countries have an overall positive score, with the exception of Italy, its enclaves of San Marino and the Vatican City as well as Monaco and Liechtenstein, who receive negative or neutral scores. Germany and Portugal receive praise for having improved their score compared to last year, while Lithuania and Hungary are singled-out as countries in which the situation of LGBT people has worsened, with governments and parliaments in both countries trying to curb the freedom of LGBT people and the discussion of homosexuality in schools.

Cyprus, Italy, Latvia, Turkey and the Ukraine are invited to do better, as no improvement has been registered in years. The legal situation of LGBT people is particularly worrying in countries that receive a negative overall score, which include the Russian Federation, Belarus, the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, San Marino, the Vatican City, Monaco and Liechtenstein. The only member of the European Union among these countries is Cyprus.

This report highlights how much work still needs to be done in Europe to guarantee an equal treatment of LGBT citizens, who at the moment cannot enjoy full equality in any European country. European Alternatives continues its commitment to connect LGBT and other human rights activists from around Europe to create a European civic society able to influence European institutions as well as member-states’ governments. The People, Power, Participation project in particular (https://euroalter.com/ppp/) will focus on LGBT right in the next few months. One of European Alternatives’ main campaigns advocates for the mutual recognition of all existing marriages and civil unions in Europe. At the moment, not all EU countries recognise the marriages of same sex couples, even if they have been celebrated in another member state. We believe that this violates EU law, as expressed in previous articles, which can be accessed through the links on the right.

While we witness an increased disillusion with European institutions, crystallised in the growing support for nationalist, Eurosceptic and far right parties around the continent, the European Union must send a strong signal to its citizens: it needs to become a space where not only budget deficits but also disrespect for human rights and civil liberties are sanctioned.

For any further information or expression of interest in collaborating to European Alternatives’ work on LGBT rights, please write to a.valera@euroalter.com 

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