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LGBTI: ‘long way to go towards equality’ in Europe

Credit: Belga

Six out of ten European LGBTI people avoid holding hands with their partners in public, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) revealed on Thursday.

This number is based on a survey of the experiences of some 140,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people in Europe in 2019. There is still “a long way to go towards equality,” the Agency stressed.

Fear, violence and discrimination have remained high since a first survey of LGBT people in the European Union in 2012, according to the FRA.

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“Too many LGBTI people continue to live in the shadows, afraid of being ridiculed, discriminated or even attacked. Even though some countries have advanced LGBTI equality, our survey findings show that overall there has been too little real progress, leaving many LGBTI people vulnerable,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty.

Discrimination occurs on a daily basis and at all levels: at work, at school, when looking for housing or in healthcare. Two out of five respondents said they had been harassed in the year preceding the survey.

Trans and intersex people are particularly targeted. For example, some 60% of trans people felt discriminated against in 2019 compared to 43% in 2012.

On the other hand, some 52% of people over the age of 18 were open about their sexual orientation or identity, whereas this was only 36% in 2012. Problems faced by LGBTI people are also reportedly discussed more frequently in schools than before.

Belgium is one of the countries where LGBTI people report the most incidents, especially at work. Almost 37% of Belgian LGBTI people still avoid certain places for fear of being assaulted, harassed or insulted.

This coming Sunday, 17 May, marks the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times