Everybody in the European Union should be safe and free to be themselves.

Our social, political and economic strength comes from our unity in diversity: Equality and non-discrimination are core values and fundamental rights in the EU, enshrined in its Treaties and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The European Commission, the Parliament and the Council, together with Member States, all share a responsibility to protect fundamental rights and ensure equal treatment and equality for all.

In recent decades, legislative developments, case law and policy initiatives have improved many people’s lives and helped us building more equal and welcoming societies, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people. In 2015, the Commission presented the “List of Actions to Advance LGBTI Equality”, the first policy framework specifically combatting discrimination against LGBTI people.

Recent research also shows that even when greater social acceptance and support for equal rights is present, it has not always translated into clear improvements in LGBTIQ people’s lives. In a 2019 survey, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) found that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and sex characteristics was actually increasing in the EU: 43% of LGBT people declared that they felt discriminated against in 2019, as compared to 37% in 2012. 

Discrimination against LGBTIQ people persists throughout the EU. For several LGBTIQ people in the EU, it is still unsafe to show affection publicly, to be open about their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (be it at home or at work), to simply be themselves without feeling to be threatened. An important number of LGBTIQ people are also at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Not all feel safe to report verbal abuses and physical violence to the police.

The European Union has to be at the forefront of efforts to better protect LGBTIQ people’s rights. Therefore, the European Commission adopted on 11 November 2020 the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025(in all EU languages).

This is the first-ever Commission strategy on LGBTIQ equality and delivers on the European Commission s commitment to building a Union of Equality. It strives to build a Union where diversity is celebrated as part of our collective richness, where all people can be themselves without risk of discrimination, exclusion or violence.

The Strategy marks a new phase in our efforts to promote equality for LGBTIQ people while continuing to focus on priority areas. It sets out a series of measures to step up action, to integrate LGBTIQ equality in all policy areas and to help lift the voices of LGBTIQ minorities. It aims at bringing together Member States and actors at all levels in a common endeavour to address LGBTIQ discrimination more effectively by 2025.

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