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Brussels outlines EU's first-ever LGBTIQ strategy

Brussels outlines EU's first-ever LGBTIQ strategy

LGBTIQ - Helena Dalli - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - The Commission presented Thursday a EU Strategy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) equality, aimed at combating homophobia and transphobia within the Union.

While there has been progress towards LGBTIQ equality, discrimination against LGBTIQ people persists with 43 per cent feeling discriminated. The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated the situation, says the EU executive.

Today's strategy addresses inequalities and challenges affecting LGBTIQ people, and sets out a number of targeted actions, including legal and funding measures for the next 5 years.

The list of EU crimes would be extended to cover hate crime, including homophobic hate speech and hate crime and legislation on the mutual recognition of parenthood in cross border situations would be brought forward. The strategy also ensures that LGBTIQ concerns are reflected in EU policy-making, so that LGBTIQ people, in all their diversity, are safe and have equal opportunities to prosper and fully participate in society.

Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli said: "everybody in the European Union should feel safe and free without fear of discrimination or violence on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics." While acknowledging that Europe was still a long way away from full inclusion and acceptance for LGBTIQ people, she said the strategy called on "those Member States that do not have national LGBTIQ equality strategies to adopt one, addressing the specific equality needs of LGBTIQ people within their country."

Actions towards LGBTIQ equality in 2020-2025 include:

  • Fighting discrimination: Legal protection against discrimination is seen as key to advancing LGBTIQ equality. The Commission will undertake a stocktaking exercise, in particular in the area of employment. A report on the application of Employment Equality Directive will be published by 2022. Following up on the report the Commission will put forward legislation, namely on strengthening the role of equality bodies. The Commission will also put forward a regulatory framework that will specifically address the risk of bias and discrimination inherent in artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
  • Ensuring safety: LGBTIQ people disproportionately suffer from hate crime, hate speech and violence while the under-reporting of hate crimes remains a serious problem. To harmonise protection against anti-LGBTIQ hate crime and hate speech, the Commission will present an initiative in 2021 to extend the list of 'EU crimes' to include hate crime and hate speech, including when targeted at LGBTIQ people. In addition, the Commission will provide funding opportunities for initiatives that aim to combat hate crime, hate speech and violence against LGBTIQ people.
  • Protecting rights of rainbow families: Due to differences in national legislations across Member States, family ties may not always be recognised when rainbow families cross the EU's internal borders. The Commission will bring forward a legislative initiative on the mutual recognition of parenthood and explore possible measures to support the mutual recognition of same-gender partnership between Member States.
  • LGBTIQ equality around the world: In various parts of the world, LGBTIQ people experience serious rights violations and abuses. The Commission will support actions for LGBTIQ equality under the neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument (NDICI), the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and the Asylum and Migration Fund.

As part of the policy, the Commission is also looking to integrate the fight against discrimination affecting LGBTIQ people into all EU policies and major initiatives.

Communication – A Union of Equality: LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025

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