by Rex Wockner
There is an uneven landscape in protection of LGBT rights in Europe, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency said Nov. 30 in a comprehensive report to the European Parliament.
“In some EU member states, legislation and practice is increasing the protection of LGBT people, while in others the rights of LGBT persons are being restricted or neglected,” said ILGA-Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, in an analysis of the FRA report on homophobia, transphobia and anti-LGBT discrimination.
The report was produced in response to the Parliament’s request for an in-depth examination of the situation of LGBT people, after anti-gay laws were proposed or passed in some EU nations.
ILGA-Europe said the document also “clearly highlights the hardship that transgender people still face in changing their legal gender, which often includes forced sterilization and compulsory divorce.”
“Additionally, the real-life test requirement oftentimes leads transgender people into unemployment and social marginalization,” the group said.
The FRA called on EU nations to “abolish divorce and genital surgery as preconditions to the rectification of the recorded sex or alteration of name on official documents.”
“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,” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis. “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.”
The co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, Michael Cashman, added: “The Fundamental Rights Agency provided the Parliament with an invaluable tool to assess the legal situation of LGBT people throughout the EU. This report shows the EU might be the world’s most advanced region in terms of legal protection for LGBT people, but also that much more needs to be done for genuine equality.”
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to decision makers in the EU. The evidence aims at informing EU and national policymakers about fundamental-rights challenges on the ground and at contextualizing debates on fundamental-rights issues. See www.fra.europa.eu.
Member nations of the European Union are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Currently seeking to join the EU are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.