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Europe is backsliding on LGBTI rights: which country is the worst?

Europe is backsliding on LGBTI rights: which country is the worst?

Javid Nabiyev with a rainbow flag and an Azerbaijan flag

LGBTI rights are declining in Europe, campaigners have warned.

The Rainbow Europe 2019 has seen, for the first time in 10 years, countries are moving backwards.

Malta has remained the safest place to be LGBTI in Europe. Azerbaijan, once again, is last in the ranking.

The UK has also slipped four places in the ranking of 49 countries, and is now eighth.

Which countries in Europe are getting worse on LGBTI rights? 

LGBTI rights activist in Azerbaijan | Photo: Free Azad
LGBTI rights activist in Azerbaijan | Photo: Free Azad

Many countries have backslided after choosing to make life harder for LGBTI people.

For example, Bulgaria has removed legal procedures for changing name or gender marker for trans people. Turkey is also one of the countries failing to uphold fundamental civil rights.

And Poland has also made it very hard for gay and bi women to access medically assisted reproduction procedures.

ILGA-Europe has announced the findings to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on 17 May (IDAHOBIT).

We cannot ignore the backslide

Human rights campaigners are also calling on governments to no longer ignore the backslide.

‘If ever there was a time to put high political priority on LGBTI equality, it is now!’ Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, said.

‘Last year, we warned about the dangers of thinking that the work was done. Sadly, this year, we see concrete evidence of roll-back at political and legislative levels in a growing number of countries. There is no more time to waste.’

Micah Grzywnowicz, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, also said: ‘For years, we have said that marriage equality was an important signifier of equality, but not the be-all and end-all for LGBTI people.

‘What is also crucial for our communities are effective laws to recognise rights of trans people to self-determination, robust protection against LGBTI-phobic violence and speech, equal access to reproductive rights, and prohibiting medical intervention on intersex children.

‘Our revised index makes this fact clearer now.

‘The countries that are expanding their legislative horizons to embrace this vision of equality for LGBTI people are the ones moving ahead.

‘We are heartened to continue to see examples of governments demonstrating leadership in this direction, as Luxembourg and Finland did over the past year.’

Predominantly, those countries that score higher on Rainbow Europe are member states of the European Union. In the UK, some of those campaigning for a second Brexit referendum fear that the UK’s departure from the EU could impact LGBTI rights. Gay Star News explored the issue in more detail earlier this year with a specially commissioned report on Brexit (below).

Read the full Gay Star News Brexit report by clicking below

See also

Azerbaijan police are trying to ‘hunt’ transgender people through the internet

This is the worst place to be LGBTI in Europe and here’s why

Azerbaijan is sending this guy to Eurovision and he’s literal gay catnip