This Monday, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency released an updated EU-wide legal analysis: ‘Protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics in the European Union: Comparative legal analysis’
The report presents legal evolutions in fields affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the European Union between 2010 and 2015.
Among other conclusions, the study highlights the current ‘hierarchy of grounds’ in EU anti-discrimination legislation, pointing out that there is no or limited protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation outside the area of employment in 15 EU Member States. A proposal to also ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in education and access to goods and services is currently stuck in the Council.
Furthermore, the study finds a need to address hate speech and crime, including by expanding the list of grounds to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Currently, the European Union only foresees specific, higher penalties for racist and xenophobic speech and crime through a 2008 Framework Decision.
The report also emphasises that the absence of a clear definition of ‘family members’ in EU legislation hampers the freedom of movement in the EU for LGBTI families, and stresses that this could be solved by adopting legislation on EU level ensuring mutual recognition of civil documents.
For the first time, the report also addresses the situation of intersex people, emphasising that Member States need to review their laws and practices, particularly to ensure respect to the physical and psychological integrity of intersex people.
Commenting on the results Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, stated: “While important progress on LGBTI rights has been achieved in certain countries over the last years, too many obstacles persist.”
“This report addresses the gaps, and shows the EU and the Member States how to address them to make LGBTI equality a reality in Europe!”
Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “The report clearly points out that with concerted efforts we can make positive change for LGBTI people in Europe. The Commission’s List of Actions to advance LGBTI Equality is a good start, following my and the EP’s call for a roadmap against homophobia last year, but much more needs to be done for genuine equality.”
“We will keep demanding that the Commission, the Council and Member States take decisive action to ensure that the rights of LGBTI people are respected, inside the EU and outside!”
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