Multiple discrimination

In this section you can find resources, links and information about how ILGA-Europe is working on multiple discrimination.

Multiple discrimination and LGBTI people?

A disabled gay man – an aged lesbian – a bisexual Muslim woman – a black trans man – an young intersex person - and the list continues....

The LGBTI community is diverse and encompass a range of sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, cultures, religions, linguistic, racial and ethnic groups as well as factors such as age, disability, financial means and family composition/responsibilities among others.

This diversity, through a treasure, is rarely acknowledged and often leads to multiple discrimination. Indeed, LGBTI people do not only face discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but also discrimination based on for example their faith, race, ethnicity, gender, age or disability.

For instance, black lesbians do not necessarily receive appropriate healthcare services, older trans women can be harassed by residential care staff, and migrant gay men can be discriminated in access to some support services.

The problem is that antidiscrimination laws are based on an assumption that protected grounds are objectively identifiable, mutually exclusive and internally homogenous. This has an impact on the effectiveness of remedies.

There is no binding legislation on a European level which addresses multiple discrimination. However the European Commission proposed a directive that would ban discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation in all areas of European Union competence in 2008. Read more about the proposed Directive here. The Directive has been adopted by the European Parliament but is still being discussed in the European Council. If the Directive is fully adopted, it will extend protection from discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation in the areas of social protection, social advantages, and access to goods and services.

However, some progress has been made at regional and international level.

The Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for a non exhaustive list of grounds and therefore leaves open the possibility for the European Court of Human Rights to find that a combination of grounds constitutes another protected status.

Human rights treaty bodies like the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have shown increasing willingness to deal with multiple discrimination. For instance, Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has issued a general recommendation on the gender related dimension of racial discrimination and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has issued a recommendation on disabled women. The preamble of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities expresses concerns about the conditions of persons with disabilities subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination.

Multiple discrimination and ILGA-Europe?

ILGA-Europe is determined to fight multiple discrimination. We seek constructive alliances with other anti-discrimination networks (see links to the right) in order to join forces. We share good practices, and these partnerships equip us to advocate for proactive measurements from national governments and international institutions.

On a European Union level, ILGA-Europe is advocating for a legislation which would eliminate the hierarchy of rights that currently exists in the European Union. We are working on the adoption on the proposed Directive from the European Commission from 2008. (see above).

For more information, please contact Sophie Aujean, Policy and Programmes Officer.

Resources on multiple discrimination

In this section, we are gathering resources, information on organisations and projects addressing the issues of on multiple discrimination. If you want to be included in this list or know of other resources, projects and/or organisations working in this area, then contact Nanna Moe, Communications Officer.


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