ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool, which ranks 49 countries in Europe on their LGBTI equality laws and policies, reveals not only a standstill but a visible backslide on laws and policies safeguarding equality and human rights of LGBTI people.
Decline is indeed clearly noticeable on this year’s Rainbow Map. For the first time in the Index’s ten-year history, countries are moving backwards as existing laws and policies disappeared: Poland no longer provides access to medically assisted reproduction for single women, while Bulgaria removed all their administrative and legal procedures for changing name or gender marker in the official documents for trans people.
Serbia and Kosovo did not renew their equality action plans. Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey are countries which slide back on the ranking because of their governments’ failure to uphold fundamental civil and political rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom of association and protection of human rights defenders over the past year.
The result is an increasingly unsafe and unsustainable environment for LGBTI organisations and human rights defenders in a growing number of countries.
The 2019 Rainbow Europe also tells the story of an evolving movement. The 10th edition of the Index introduces changes in the weight given to different issues it captures. The message is clear: for our movement in Europe, equality and non-discrimination laws, legal gender recognition, bodily integrity, protection from hatred and violence, and family rights are all interconnected and equally essential for the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBTI people.
The Rainbow Map&Index presents a picture of what the policy landscape is like right now, while our Recommendations attempt to answer the question “what’s next?” These country-spesific recommendations for national policymakers are intended to encourage policymakers to address the most pressing legal and policy priorities within the framework of our Rainbow Map&Index.