The latest Rainbow Europe Map, which reflects legal and policy developments, confirms that a few countries are still setting new standards for LGBTI equality and being propelled upward on our country ranking as a result.
Rainbow Europe 2016 showcases the current state of play of the laws, policies and practices that affect LGBTI people in Europe today. This year’s benchmarking exercise shows three distinct patterns:
- countries who are demonstrating leadership by introducing standard-setting equality measures;
- countries who are now standing still, including some traditionally seen as progressive;
- and the countries who are actively targeting LGBTI people with restrictive laws.
Unfortunately, too few countries fall in this first category. Speaking at the 2016 launch in front of an audience that included ministers from several European countries, civil society groups and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Evelyne Paradis remarked “Contrary to popular belief, LGBTI equality is far from being a done deal in Europe. The picture is actually very mixed at the moment: a lot of the governments that were leading the way on LGBTI equality a few years ago have slowed down their work, especially when it comes to new standards. In ILGA-Europe’s 20th anniversary year, we don’t want to see so many lagging behind. Now is certainly not the time for complacency.”
In the countries at the bottom of our country ranking, LGBTI people and their families are faced with a scenario where their rights are actively being eroded. ILGA-Europe’s latest Rainbow Europe package also contains a stark reminder that Europe is not just damaged by this slowing legislative process. The absence of supportive laws and policies is one thing, the legalisation of oppression is another threat altogether. Regressive laws, targeting both individuals and the work of LGBTI activists and NGOs, are a pernicious and real threat in many European countries.