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6 APRIL 18.2009'QNotes
by Andy Harley . UK Gay News
Lack of European LGBT
rights still dramatic
Dutch European Parliament
member welcomes report, U.K. pol
says politicians need courage
BRUSSELS— A Dutch Member of the
European Parliament (MEP) welcomed a report
presented to the European Parliament last
month, showing the rights of gay men and
women and transgender people are insufficiently
protected throughout the European Union (EU).
The report, “Homophobic Discrimination
on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in the EU
Member States,” also said that several EU
members states actively discriminate against
their citizens based on their sexual orientation.
“Every day 1 hear about people being pres
sured to keep their
sexuality a secret,
in schools, about gay
Couples being denied
to rent an apartment
and even brute
lence,” Dutch Social-
Emine Bozkurt said
in a statement.
shows that these sto
ries are not just [iso
lated] incidents and
that the EU still has a
long way to go in
rights,” she said.
According to the
report, it is almost
“This proves that discrimination
and prejuffices decrease when gov
ernments take a stand for equffi
rights,” Bozkurt observed.
“Therefore, this report is a welcome support to
my work as the European Parliament votes on
an important new anti-discrimination directive
which will also give more protection to gays.”
U.K. Green Party MEP Jean Lambert, who
is a member of the Parliament’s Civil
Liberties Committee and the cross-party
“intergroup” on Gay and Lesbian Rights, also
welcomed the report.
“It is disheartening to find that homopho
bia is still rife in many European countries,”
she said. “Incidences of hate crime still take
place, bullying still exists at schools, harass
ment is still encountered in the workplace
and, in retirement homes, there is Uttle aware
ness of LGBT persons’ needs.
“Under such circumstances people are
afraid to come out and being‘invisible’
becomes a survival strategy” she said.
European public views on the acceptance of same-sex marriage.
Graphic Credit: European Union Agency on Fundamentai Rights
impossible for LGBT-rights groups in some EU
countries to rent venues for political activities.
In 13 out of the 27 EU countries, inciting
homophobic hatred, violence and discrimi
nation is neither a criminal o'ffense nor an
aggravating factor and when gays wish to
report homophobic crimes to the authorities
they are often confronted with additional
difficulties and little understanding from
During the presentation of the report
Bozkurt expres^ her disappointment that the
report only addressed LGBT rights in current EU
member states. She said the report should have
also included situations and facts from those
countries still waiting to join the confederation.
The criteria for countries to join the EU
include the protection of fundamental rights.
Bozkurt said she’s received information show
ing a lack of LGBT rights in some candidate
She said that she will ask the chairman of
the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee to
organize an official delegation to Turkey to
investigate the situation of gays and transgen
der people there.
The 160-page report also lists positive
examples of state intervention leading to
decreased anti-LGBT discrimination. The
report cited Spanish same-sex marriage inclu
sion as improving attitudes toward LGBT peo
ple in that country.
Lambert said situations in some countries
remain “simply unacceptable.” She said recent
legislation in the European Parliament will
help move the political dialogue forward.
“What we need now is for political leaders
at EU and national level to take a firm stance
against homophobia and discrimination
against LGBT and transgendered persons to
help create a positive shift in public attitudes
Michael Cashman, a U.K. Labour Party
MEP and president of European Parliament’s
Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, said he
hoped that politician across the European
Union “would have the courage to end the dis
crimination which causes so much suffering
to so many citizens of Europe.
“Now we have a report by an EU agency
clearly showing that LGBT people are suffering
severe and unacceptable lev'ds of discrimina
tion and harassment within the EU,”he said.
“Politicians in Member States and the
European Commission have a reliable factual
data as well as good recommendations by
[Agency for Fundamental Rights] to taclde
Online extra: Read the full 160-page
report from the EU Agency for Fundamental
— This article was originally published at
UKGayNews. org. uk.
It is reprinted with permission.