Today the EU Fundamental Rights Agency published the first-ever comparative study on the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the 27 Member States and Croatia. It finds that almost one in two (47%) LGBT people felt discriminated against or harassed in the last year.
Ordered by the European Commission in 2011, the report draws on over 93,000 responses, the largest sample of this type. The survey was conducted by Gallup Europe.
The results were unveiled today at a high-level EU conference in The Hague. Speakers include UN human rights chief Navi Pillay; Vice-President of the European Commission Viviane Reding; French Minister for Women’s Rights and government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem; Irish Minister of State for Equality Kathleen Lynch; and Polish Secretary of State for Equal Treatment Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz.
The conference can be watched online. Four Presidents of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights are at the conference.
Commenting on the results, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup Michael Cashman MEP said: “The survey found that 47%—or almost one in two LGBT persons—felt discriminated against or harassed in the last 12 months because of who they were. This is a clear signal for the EU, and especially Member States and the European Commission, to do much more to outlaw discrimination and harassment.”
“It turns out that lesbian women (55%), young people between 18 and 24 (57%) and poorer LGBT people (52%) are the most likely to be discriminated against. This shows the effects of discrimination and harassment are multiplied for people who tend to be marginalised; anti-discrimination isn’t an elitist concern, it’s a crucial imperative for people from many different social groups”, added Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Intergroup Co-President.
“The data shows that one in four (26%) respondents were attacked or threatened with violence because of who they were, including a whopping one in three (35%) victims among transgender people. It’s high time the European Commission and Member States stop paying lip service to LGBT rights and turn words into action: they must condemn hate speech and ensure safety and respect for all EU citizens”, commented Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Intergroup Vice-President.
Dennis de Jong MEP, Intergroup Vice-President, concluded by saying that “Unfortunately, only one in ten (10%) respondents reported discrimination to the police, and only one in five (22%) reported violence or harassment. For every violent incident recorded by the police, four more have actually occurred. We can’t afford to wait much longer for tougher laws protecting LGBT people.”
The study also found that 32% were discriminated against in housing, education, or when accessing healthcare, goods or services. This could be outlawed under EU law if Member States stopped blocking a draft Directive addressing these issues, proposed by the Commission in 2008 and approved by the Parliament in 2009.
Finally, 20% of all respondents (29% among transgender respondents) were discriminated against on grounds of sex or sexual orientation in their job or while looking for one, despite EU law forbidding this.
Yesterday the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, gave an IDAHOT address setting out LGBT rights as critical critical to the UN’s mission of building “a world of true freedom and equality for all”.
The 2013 review of the human rights situation of LGBT people by the Brussels-based NGO found that “degrading, offensive and defamatory language” is one of the “most common trends” across the continent.