UK Tops Europe Map of LGBT Equality

Ahead of Tuesday’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, ILGA-Europe takes a look at the state of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people in Europe with its Rainbow Map and Index. This year, Britain came out on top with 12.5 points, however the key thing to stress is that while some countries have made great strides toward equality, none have scored the full 17 so there is still work to be done across the board.

ILGA-Europe explains the point system that is used:

ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Map and Index rates each European country’s laws and administrative practices according to 24 categories and ranks them on a scale between 17 (highest score: respect of human rights and full legal equality of LGBT people) and -7 (lowest score: gross violations of human rights and discrimination of LGBT people). This is the first time the Map and the Index reflect categories on issues affecting trans people. The categories look at the

– inclusion of the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-discrimination and anti-hatred/violence laws

– existence of legal/administrative procedure for legal gender recognition for trans people

– legal recognition of same-sex couples and parenting rights

– respect of freedom of assembly and association of LGBT people

– equality of age of consent for same-sex sexual acts

– discriminatory requirements to legal gender recognition of trans people.

The report found several important trends, among them that even high scoring countries like the United Kingdom (12.5 points) and Sweden and Spain (both 12 points) have work to do on LGBT rights, in particular with regards to gender recognition.

Another point is that 14 countries including one EU Member State earned a place in the “red zone,” that is to say that they have allowed for “gross violations of human rights and discrimination” and as a result have garnered a minus score, including Georgia (-1), Russia (-2) , Moldova (-3) and the Ukraine (-4).

The report also highlights that while some countries have made progress in the past year, such as Portugal, other countries are not advancing and, as in the case of Lithuania (1 point) there have been backward steps with moves to increase the reach of censorship laws to further penalize LGBTs and to deny gender reassignment procedures to trans citizens.

Sadly, the report also found that there are many EU Member States that rank either just average or below average when it comes to human rights and equality for LGBT people, with an overall European average that is quite poor.

With regards to the Rainbow Equality Map and what we can take from it, Linda Freimane, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

The Rainbow Europe Map and Index is a great tool to see how European countries are doing when it comes to recognising the human rights of LGBT people. In this context, it is very disappointing to see so many countries remain in the “red zone” of violations and discrimination, and that not a single country in Europe can claim full legal equality for LGBT people. Europe considers itself a global leader on human rights and equality, but the Map and the Index clearly show how far we are from being able to claim the title of LGBT human rights and equality champions.

While Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, added:

We hope that European institutions and European countries will make a good use of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia and our latest Rainbow Europe Map and Index to reassess progress, acknowledge the whole range of unresolved problems and affirm their commitments to fight discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. There is a significant number of international and European agreements such as the Council of Europe’s recommendation on tackling sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination and all European country can do more to reach at least the level of European standards.

You can view and the Rainbow Europe Map and Index over at ILGA-Europe here.


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Anna Jarczynska
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you.

Anna Jarczynska
Past Member 5 years ago

Very informative!!!

David Greensmith
David Greensmith7 years ago

I wonder if the Vatican's presence is what leads to Italy's poor score? I'm surprised that France is so far behind too.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan7 years ago

Glad the UK is improving on some things, now to just get a decent government.

Dan(iel) M.
Dan(iel) M7 years ago

Steve thanks for posting this article.

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B7 years ago

Glad that Bulgaria is not i the red area.

Sue Griffiths
SUE Griffiths7 years ago

Life is hard enough without people being discriminated against 'cos of their gender. Why can't people leave others alone to get on with their lives. As long as no one is being hurt why should it matter? In this day and age this should not be an issue.

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert7 years ago

Thank you for this information

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S7 years ago

Well, no place is perfect but the EU is still the leader with some countries being the best there is anywhere.

We take issue with the UK being higher than our adopted Spain. In Spain we have complete equal civil & human rights with full marriage equality & adoption which the UK does NOT have. Sex reassignment surgery is covered by National Health, transexual military people are given sex reassignment surgery then reassigned to their proper gender units, our previous vice-pres was a lesbian woman. But that's not to say there aren't rightwing bigots still around, but so many fewer than our native US, blessedly, and discrimination still takes place. So why is the UK the leader? The article doesn't clarify this. It's certainly better than the US and most other countries in the world, but the leader in the EU? Hmmmm... There have been several notable cases of LGBT people fleeing death sentences/persecution & asking for asylum in the UK only to be quickly refused & sent back to certain torture, prison & likely execution. We realize this isn't just a UK problem, tho.

Interesting article & map. It's good to see who is what & how truly bad some of the EU states actually are, but little by little things are improving. We feel safer just about anywhere in the EU than we ever did in just about any place in the US. Let's hope next year's map will show improvement. Thanks.

Joe R.
Joe R7 years ago

Great, informative article. Thanks.