LGBTI Equality

The acronym LGBTI stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex and describes a diverse group of persons whose sexual orientation and /or gender identity diverge from the more conventional gender roles of and relationships between men and women. LGBTI people are also sometimes referred to as “sexual, gender and bodily minorities”. 

Sexual orientation refers to each person’s capacity for emotional, affective and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different or the same gender or more than one gender. Gender identity refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth.

A lesbian is a woman whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Gay is often used to describe a man whose enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other men, although the term can be used to describe both gay men and lesbians. Bisexual describes an individual who is physically, romantically and/or emotionally attracted to both men and women. Transgender describes people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term intersex refers to a condition in which an individual is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome patterns that do not seem to fit typical biological notions of being male or female. Individuals with these conditions were previously called “hermaphrodites”, however this term is considered outdated.

Why raising awareness?

Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity has no place in our society, but for many people in Europe, it is a daily reality. The 2015 Eurobarometer on discrimination shows that almost 60% of EU citizens see discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as widespread.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) people continue to suffer from widespread discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes in the European Union. Although 71% of EU citizens agree that LGBTI people should have the same rights as heterosexual people, according to a study by the European Fundamental Rights Agency (2013), 47% of LGBTI people report to be discriminated or harassed in the year preceding the survey. Half of all respondents avoid certain places – public buildings, squares or public transportation – for fear of being harassed, threatened or attacked on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The European Commission is standing against discrimination, prejudice and hate, and for diversity. By raising awareness on the rights of LGBTI people, we’re showing the world that no matter whom we love or who we are, everyone should enjoy the same rights.


71% of citizens support equal rights for LGBT people

Eurobarometer, 2015

About the work of the Commission to advance LGBTI equality

To tackle discrimination against LGBTI people in the EU the European Commission has put forward the 'List of actions to advance LGBTI equality'. The actions outlined in this list cover all the main policy areas; effectively aiming to mainstream LGBTI equality. The Council adopted the first ever conclusions on LGBTI equality in June 2016 requiring the European Commission to annually report on the implementation of the list of actions. The first annual report on the implementation of the List of Actions was published in February 2017, which provides an overview of the actions undertaken to advance LGBTI equality in 2016 and the ongoing efforts and commitment of the European Commission in this area.

One of the main fields of actions of the European Commission is raising awareness about the issues LGBTI people face, and their rights. In 2016 the ‘We All Share the Same Dreams’ campaign was launched and the European Commission took part in the EuroPride in Amsterdam. This year the European Commission is committed to sharing videos of personal stories from LGBTI-individuals and their allies from across the EU. The campaign focuses on what it means to be LGBTI and how strong social support can enable greater solidarity between different members of society.

On the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2017, by disseminating promotional materials, and projecting the Rainbow flag on the headquarter building, the European Commission stated its commitment to stand against discrimination and to promote LGBTI equality and inclusion. The Commission also participated to the IDAHOT Forum in Brussels and human rights events that were part of the World Pride in Madrid and the Warsaw Pride. #EU4LGBTI #IDAHOT2017

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