The FRA today, on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, presented the results of the largest and most comprehensive LGBT survey during a conference hosted by the Dutch government in The Hague.
The survey findings revealed that nearly a half of all respondents had felt discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation in the past year before the survey. Lesbian women (55 %), respondents in the youngest age group between 18 and 24 years old (57 %) and those with the lowest incomes (52 %) were most likely to say they had personally felt discriminated against or harassed in the last 12 months on the grounds of sexual orientation. Also, in the last five years, a quarter (26 %) of all respondents had been attacked or threatened with violence at home or elsewhere. This figure rises to 35 % among all transgender respondents.
It is remarkable and requires special attention by equality bodies that although 56 % of all respondents were aware of legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation (and 42 % based on gender identity), only 10% of those who had felt discriminated during the last year because of being LGBT had reported the incident to a competent authority. One third of them said that not knowing how or where to report played an important role in this, even though 76-86% of all respondents know of at least one organisation in the country where they live that can offer support or advice to people who have been discriminated against because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The FRA’s report concludes with a number of useful steps that the EU and its Member States could take to enhance the situation and experiences of LGBT people. These steps include:
Developing action plans promoting the rights and respect of LGBT persons at both EU and Member State levels.
Continued monitoring of the effectiveness of national complaints bodies and procedures in the context of the implementation of the Employment Equality Directive and the Gender Equality Directive (recast).
Support, by the EU and Member States, to equality bodies and other national complaints mechanisms in their efforts to inform LGBT persons of their mandate and procedures with a view to increasing awareness of discrimination.
Extending EU equal treatment legislation protecting LGBT persons from discrimination beyond the field of employment.Making sure that schools are a safe and supportive environment for young LGBT persons, free from bullying and exclusion. According to FRA, competent state agencies, such as equality bodies, national human rights institutions and children’s ombudspersons, should be mandated and encouraged to explore cases of bullying and discrimination at school.
Providing the highest attainable standard of health to LGBT persons.
Adopting EU legislation tackling hate speech and hate crime against LGBT persons.
Equinet and national equality bodies are constantly working in order to provide better protection to LGBT people, including legal support, promoting good practice by employers and service providers, research activities and communication activities. Equinet has published in 2010 a report on ‘Making Equality Legislation Work for Trans People’ and is currently preparing a perspective on ‘Equality Bodies Combating Discrimination against and Promoting Equality for LGBTI People’.
Further information about FRA’s work on the situation of LGBT persons is available here