Equality or Social Justice: The Current Status of LGBTQ Rights in Europe

, by Asfandiyar

Equality or Social Justice: The Current Status of LGBTQ Rights in Europe
John Samuel, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/license...> , via Wikimedia Commons

In order to bring about change, the European Union works hand in hand with the countries of the EU as they are responsible for promoting and enforcing LGBTI rights such as legal recognition of same-sex marriages and rules on legal gender recognition.

Equality and social justice are important human rights that all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should have access to. In recent years, there has been a rising acknowledgement of the LGBTQ+ community’s rights in Europe. Despite great progress, there are still many difficulties to overcome in order to secure complete equality and social justice for LGBTQ+ people in Europe. In recent years, Europe has made strides toward more equality for the LGBTQ+ population. The European Union approved a new LGBTIQ+ equality plan in 2019, with the goal of promoting and protecting LGBTQ people’s rights across the EU. This plan comprises a variety of actions aimed at combating prejudice and promoting equality, such as programs to increase healthcare access, combat hate speech and hate crimes, and promote inclusive education.

Since LGBTQ+ individuals are an extensive group of people who identify themselves common because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite their differences, they frequently confront comparable obstacles in attaining equality and social justice. Discrimination, harassment, violence, and a lack of legal safeguards are examples of such obstacles.

The ban on all forms of discrimination and the preservation of human rights are critical components of the EU legal framework. Nonetheless, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons persist across the EU, taking many forms such as verbal abuse and physical assault. Sexual orientation is officially recognized as a cause for discrimination under EU law. The extent of the regulations dealing with this issue, however, is restricted and does not include social assistance, health care, education, or access to products and services, making LGBTI individuals particularly vulnerable in these areas. Furthermore, the EU’s competence does not include the acknowledgment of marital or familial status. National legislation, however, differ in this area with some Member States permitting same-sex couples to marry, some allowing other forms of registration, and still others not granting any legal status for same-sex couples. Combating prejudice has become an integral aspect of the EU’s internal and foreign policy, and it has been the topic of several European Parliament resolutions. However, action in this area remains difficult when it touches on subjects usually reserved for member states, like marital status and family law.

Throughout recent years, substantial progress has been made throughout Europe in defending the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Many European nations have passed legislation to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination, and the European Union has made initiatives to promote LGBTQ rights throughout the continent. According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, ‘the EU is one of the most progressive regions in the world in terms of legal protection for LGBTI people’ (EUAFR, 2021). The legalization of same-sex marriage has been one of Europe’s most significant developments in LGBTQ rights. More than 16 European nations have approved same-sex marriage as of now. There has been great improvement in safeguarding the rig in recent years. All Nordic nations recognize same-sex marriage and have robust anti- discrimination and hate crime legislation. Furthermore, they frequently rank well on the Rainbow Europe Map, an annual assessment of LGBTQ+ rights in Europe conducted by ILGA-Europe. Aside from that, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, and Slovenia have legalized same-sex partnerships, which grant many of the same legal rights as marriage.

Another significant advancement in Europe’s rights of such varied populations has been the passage of legislation to protect persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. According to ILGA-Europe research, ‘41 out of 49 European countries have comprehensive anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender’. In addition to legislative rights, social views toward the LGBTQ+ population in Europe has improved. According to a Eurobarometer study, ‘61% of EU citizens agreed that same-sex marriages should be allowed throughout Europe’.

Notwithstanding great progress in LGBTQ+ rights in Europe, many problems remain to be overcome in order to secure complete equality and social justice for LGBTQ people. Discrimination and violence are two of the most serious issues confronting Europe’s LGBTQ+ community. According to a European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights assessment, ‘LGBTI people in Europe continue to face discrimination, harassment, and violence in many areas of life’. Workplace discrimination is one of the most serious issues confronting Europe’s LGBTQ+ community. As per The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association -Europe chapter, ‘LGBTI people are more likely to experience discrimination in employment than in any other area’. This might include being denied employment as well as being harassed or intimidated at work.

Though on a small scale, the LGBTQ+ population in Europe continues to suffer substantial societal acceptability issues. This issue was underlined in a study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which stated that: ‘LGBTI people continue to face discrimination and harassment in their daily lives, including in schools, on the streets, and in public spaces’, according to the agency’s 2021 report. This can lead to feelings of isolation and marginalization among LGBTQ people, negatively impacting their mental health and well-being.

The fundamental ideals of the European Union are humanity, justice, and equality. While there have been considerable improvements in LGBTQ rights throughout Europe in recent years, many obstacles need to be solved in order to provide complete equality and social justice for LGBTQ+ people. As a journalist and human rights volunteer, I believe it is critical to cite the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. According to the agency, ‘LGBTI people still face discrimination and harassment in their daily lives, including in schools, on the streets, and in public spaces’.

Discrimination, violence, and social stigma remain important impediments to full LGBTQ+ equality in Europe. It is critical that legislators, activists, and citizens across Europe collaborate to confront these difficulties and build a more inclusive and tolerant society for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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