Everybody in the European Union should be safe and free to be themselves.
LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025
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 12 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.
The LGBTIQ Equality Subgroup was set up for enhancing implementation of the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy under the High-Level Group on non-discrimination, equality and diversity. The Subgroup is composed of Governmental experts, nominated by Member States’ Governments, to support and monitor progress of the protection of LGBTIQ people’s rights in the Member States. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) contributes to its work, and the Subgroup cooperates on a regular basis with civil society and international organisations, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Council of Europe.
The Subgroup started its work in May 2021. In line with the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy, the Subgroup has identified the work to support planning, preparing and implementing LGBTIQ strategies and action plans as its top priority. The LGBTIQ Equality Strategy encourages the Member States to develop national action plans on LGBTIQ equality. Research suggests that the development and adoption of such action plans do matter in promotion of LGBTIQ equality.