New FRA report highlights crucial role public authorities for LGBT equality

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

In a new report launched in the European Parliament today, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) highlights that prevailing negative attitudes towards LGBT people endanger their fundamental rights and hamper efforts to counter discrimination and hate crime.

2016 FRA reportThe report analyses the views and attitudes of the ‘duty bearers’ towards LGBT persons in the field of law enforcement, education and healthcare.

Some of the key findings that emerged that can be found in the ‘Professionally speaking: challenges to achieving equality for LGBT people’ report include:

  • All professional groups have low levels of awareness and knowledge about LGBT needs, while social attitudes are often hostile towards LGBT people. This affect the actions of public officials and professionals.
  • There is a need for professional training to help counter prejudice in healthcare. Healthcare services to trans people are spread unevenly across the EU and there is a need to strengthen capacity and awareness of healthcare providers.
  • There is a lack of objective information on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, which can result in bullying, and force LGBT youths to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. Member States should work with education authorities and schools to formulate targeted campaigns to help make schools a safer and friendlier place for LGBT people.
  • Law enforcement personnel often lacks awareness about the discrimination LGBT people face and have insufficient knowledge of their vulnerability to hate crimes.
  • EU law and policy are seen as major drivers supporting national efforts to promote LGBT equality.

Reacting to the report, LGBTI Intergroup Vice Chair Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP, said: “Why do some doctors still believe homosexuality is a disease? Why are schools too often still unsafe places for LGBTI people?”

“This report analyses very thoroughly the difficulties LGBT people may face when it comes to access to basic institutions in everyday life: education, healthcare and police. We need to work much harder to ensure that the rights to education, to healthcare and fair treatment is equally enjoyed by all.”

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, also Vice-Chair of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, added: “The results of this report are a good reminder that despite improvements in the legal situation, we are not there. Prejudice, discrimination and violence still hold back LGBTI people from accessing school, hospitals and the police.”

“I call on the EU and its Member States to take this report to the heart, and use it systematically to act on their duty to deliver high quality service to end discrimination and hate crime many LGBT people have faced.”

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