Despite intense anti-LGBTI attacks in several countries, equality is still advancing across Europe.
While the public discourse is becoming more polarised and violent, particularly against trans people, political determination to advance LGBTI rights is paying off.
The largest gains on the map are for countries that introduced legal gender recognition using a self-determination model. Over the past 12 months bans on intersex genital mutilation (IGM) are also bringing countries up in the ranking. Spain jumped six places to number four with its introduction of LGR with self determination, alongside a ban on IGM, while Finland entered the top ten, again up six places, again with LGR based on self-determination. Greece has also moved up four places with its ban on IGM.
Gender identity and sex characteristics are included in anti-discrimination and/or hate crime legislation, moving Belgium, Iceland and Moldova up the chart alongside Spain. Moldova has jumped 14 places because sexual orientation and gender identity have been positively included in legislation covering employment, education, provision of goods and services, health, hate crime and hate speech.
Slovenia and Switzerland switched positions. Both countries introduced same-sex marriage and joint adoption. Switzerland also allows medically assisted insemination for couples. Croatia too moved up one spot with its introduction of adoption for same-sex couples.
In the world eleven countries still punish homosexual relations with death. In one in three they are illegal”.
Rainbow Europe – ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool – comprises the Rainbow Map and Index and national recommendations. ILGA-Europe have produced the Rainbow Map and Index since 2009, using it to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe.
The Rainbow Map and Index ranks 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, from 0-100%.
In order to create our country ranking, ILGA-Europe examine the laws and policies in 49 countries using 74 criteria, divided between seven thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.
66 – Jurisdictions criminalise private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity. The majority of these jurisdictions explicitly criminalise sex between men via ‘sodomy’, ‘buggery’ and ‘unnatural offences’ laws. Almost half of them are Commonwealth jurisdictions.
41 – Countries criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between women using laws against ‘lesbianism’, ‘sexual relations with a person of the same sex’ and ‘gross indecency’. Even in jurisdictions that do not explicitly criminalise women, lesbians and bisexual women have been subjected to arrest or threat of arrest.
12 – countries have jurisdictions in which the death penalty is imposed or at least a possibility for private, consensual same-sex sexual activity. At least 6 of these implement the death penalty – Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen – and the death penalty is a legal possibility in Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE and Uganda.
14 – Countries criminalise the gender identity and/or expression of transgender people, using so-called ‘cross-dressing’, ‘impersonation’ and ‘disguise’ laws. In many more countries transgender people are targeted by a range of laws that criminalise same-sex activity and vagrancy, hooliganism and public order offences.