Twentyone years ago, on the 17th of May 1990, the World Health Organization decided to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders: for this reason the 17th of May is the International Day Against Homophobia, which aims to draw attention to the issues of homophobia and transphobia, and to coordinate international events to call respect for lesbians and gays worldwide.
Equality and non-discrimination are founding principles of the European Union, but even in the EU in 2011 there is still lot of work to do in order to defeat prejudice and unfair treatement, according to latest figures relased by ILGA-Europe, the international organisation promoting equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people in Europe.
On the occasion of International Day Against the Homophobia, the organisation has produced an index (and a map) showing the situation in Europe regarding respect for human rights and legal equality of LGBT people.
Seventeen countries (including 4 EU member states, Cyprus, Italy, Latvia, and Malta) score zero and below when it comes to respecting human rights and ensuring legal equality of LGBT people.
This is particularly worrying considering also that the overall European average is very poor.
As the leader of the intergroup on LGBT rights in the EU parliament pointed out it is needed “a broader, firmer, clearer political courage, which pushes EU leaders not only to issue occasional powerful statements, but to unwaveringly commit themselves to advancing the protection of LGBT people in EU legislation”.
“The EU – they said in a statement – must become less timid, tackle homophobia head on, and ensure non-discrimination is strictly enforced. The European Commission must take to task member state governments that fail to protect or promote LGBT rights, in line with our shared values and principles. LGBT people must know they can rely on the EU to protect them and promote their rights”.