Council of Europe Secretary General releases statement ahead of IDAHOBIT on Sunday, May 17

Graham Robson May 14, 2020

European states must do more to address the specific challenges faced by young LGBTQ+ people, especially in times of crisis, said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić in a statement ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) on Sunday, May 17. According to estimates, every third young homeless person in Europe identifies as LGBTQ+.

The Secretary General said. ‘The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has exacerbated the inequalities already faced by disadvantaged groups of society. LGBTQ+ youngsters who have traditionally been stigmatised and marginalised are now exposed to an even greater risk of hate speech and violence, at home and in public.

‘Social distancing and lockdown can be particularly difficult for those young people who have been rejected by their family or have not come out, who have mental health issues, or who suffer from physical or psychological violence. In addition, restrictive measures in the context of the pandemic have limited the support young LGBTQ+ persons receive from friends, LGBTQ+ centres, NGOs and educational establishments.

‘Governments and civil society should maintain efforts to protect young LGBTQ+ persons by providing psycho-social and mental health support and setting up phone helplines. 

‘Homelessness is also a serious problem. I encourage authorities to provide better protection for young homeless LGBTQ+ persons, including through the provision of shelters.’

The Council of Europe Recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity adopted 10 years ago provides guidance for European states on tackling homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and interphobia. To see the recommendation, click here.