LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Accessing Health: Context and Challenges for LGBT People in Central & Eastern Europe, 2006

This research project is the first of its size and scope has to be carried out among LGBT communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova and Romania. As such, the initiative is of groundbreaking importance and the data collected will serve to inform ongoing advocacy and policy work.

The report presents the findings on health and access to the health care system by the LGBT communities in five Central and Eastern European countries, as well as draws conclusions and makes recommendations to the relevant stakeholders, including international organisations. It also introduces a methodology and lessons learnt, which could be used for further research.

ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). A NonGovernmental Organisation (NGO), ILGA-Europe is an umbrella organisation which represents its members, principally organisations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, at the European level. The organisation has acquired substantial knowledge of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) movement in Eastern Europe through its wide membership in that region, and through the involvement of these members in conferences, projects, seminars and campaigns initiated by ILGA-Europe. Two projects in particular, both funded by OSI-Budapest, have enabled us to understand the working terrain. The first resulted in a report entitled "Equality for Lesbians and Gay Men – a Relevant Issue in the EU Accession Process", and was based on a survey of the situation of lesbians and gays in the 13 EU accession countries. The second was a survey on sexual orientation discrimination in Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Poland. A further phase of this project allowed us to extend the research in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Slovakia.

ILGA-Europe used the results of the research to lobby the EU Commission for the repeal of all laws discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation as a condition of accession to the Union. As of August 2005, only one out of the 13 newly acceded countries – Bulgaria – continues to have such laws.