In The South

Scotland loses European top spot for LGBT+ equality

Besi Besemar May 20, 2017

Scotland has been overtaken by Malta in the European league table of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) equality laws and policies.

Scotland has dropped to second place, with a score of 82%, with Malta on 88%. Malta has risen to first place after introducing new laws protecting the rights of trans and intersex people.

The table is published as part of Rainbow Europe 2017, an annual review by European LGBTI equality organisation ILGA-Europe.

The UK as a whole is now in fourth place on 76%, behind Norway on 78%. The UK composite score is pulled down by the lack of equal marriage law in Northern Ireland.

Tim Hopkins
Tim Hopkins

Tim Hopkins, Director of national Scottish LGBTI equality charity the Equality Network, said: “We congratulate the government and equality activists in Malta for introducing the best laws in Europe to protect trans and intersex people. The Scottish Government have promised to bring Scotland’s laws in this area up to international best practice during the 2016-21 parliamentary session, and to consult on this later this year. Those changes would put Scotland back in contention for the top spot.”

He continued: “The UK as a whole also falls short of best practice in two reserved areas: equality law and asylum. During this Westminster election campaign, we are calling on all parties to commit to amend equality law to fully protect trans and intersex people, and to ensure that people fleeing persecution because they are LGBTI can find asylum here.”

Silvan Agius
Silvan Agius

Silvan Agius, Director on Human Rights in the Government of Malta, said: “I am delighted to see that Malta’s efforts in this area continue to inspire others to move forward towards LGBTIQ equality. In essence our story is based on two main foundations – a strong LGBTIQ movement and political will on the part of government.”

To view the full league table of 49 European countries, click here: (note that the table shows the UK as a whole, not Scotland, but ILGA-Europe have separately rated Scotland at 82%).

For details of the changes needed to devolved gender recognition law, to bring Scotland up to international best practice for trans people, click here:  

For details of the Equality Network’s five-point election pledge for Westminster candidates at the General Election on June 8, click here: