Officially unveiled today in Oslo (13 May 2019) at the annual intergovernmental Forum marking the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia, and Interphobia (IDAHOBIT), the 2019 Rainbow Europe Map is sending an unequivocal message to national governments and European institutions alike: we can no longer ignore to the backlash!
Decline is indeed clearly noticeable on this year’s Rainbow Map, ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool, which ranks 49 countries in Europe on their LGBTI equality laws and policies. For the first time in the Index’s ten-year history, countries are moving backwards as existing laws and policies disappeared: Poland no longer provides access to medically assisted reproduction for single women, while Bulgaria removed all their administrative and legal procedures for changing name or gender marker in the official documents for trans people. Serbia and Kosovo did not renew their equality action plans. Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey are countries which slide back on the ranking because of their governments’ failure to uphold fundamental civil and political rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of association and protection of human rights defenders over the past year. The result is an increasingly unsafe and unsustainable environment for LGBTI organisations and human rights defenders in a growing number of countries.
“If ever there was a time to put high political priority on LGBTI equality, it is now! 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,” said ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis. “In the current increasingly polarised social and political climate, laws and policies are often the last lines of defence for LGBTI communities. That’s why we need national and European decision-makers to redouble efforts to secure equality in law and in practice for LGBTI people”, she added.
The 2019 Rainbow Europe also tells the story of an evolving movement. The 10th edition of the Index introduces changes in the weight given to different issues it captures. As a result, it gives a more accurate picture of what LGBTI people really need and what matters to the lives of different parts of the LGBTI communities. The message is clear: for our movement in Europe, equality and non-discrimination laws, legal gender recognition, bodily integrity, protection from hatred and violence, and family rights are all interconnected and equally essential for the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBTI people. Read more via ILGA