General News

Europe sees “standstill” on LGBTQ+ rights

Rachel Badham May 18, 2021

ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Map found advances on LGBTQ+ rights have come to “almost a complete standstill”, with the UK falling further down the rankings of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in Europe. The map, published every year on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia And Biphobia, gives each European nation a ranking based on 71 criteria, including non-discrimination policies and hate crime laws. 

Malta ranked the highest for the sixth year in a row, followed closely by Belgium and Luxembourg. The UK fell to 10th place after ranking in 9th last year. Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia ranked bottom, while Poland was the lowest ranking EU country for the second year in a row. ILGA-Europe said during the past 12 months, there has been “almost no positive legislative change for LGBTQ+ people in Europe.”

In response to the findings, executive director of ILGA-Europe, Evelyne Paradis, said: “It is deeply worrying to report an almost complete standstill on LGBTQ+ rights and equality, especially at such a critical time for LGBTQ+ communities. In the past year, we’ve seen increased political repression against LGBTQ+ people, a stark rise in socio-economic hardship, and the spreading of LGBTQ-phobic hatred on the streets and online across the region.”

She continued: “Against this backdrop, the response from governments has to be more and better concrete action, to make sure people are more protected, not less. The human rights of LGBTQ+ people simply cannot be something that you drop when circumstances are challenging.”