The Status of the LGBT People in Europe

The Rainbow Map gives an overall picture of the current legal state of play of the human rights of LGBTI people in Europe and shows that no European country can claim to provide full legal equality.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) has published an updated version of the “Rainbow Map”, indicating the situation of legal equality of LGTBI [1] people in Europe. The ILGA-Europe Annual Review complements the information of the Rainbow Map and provides insights into the political and social developments in each country.

The Rainbow Map ranks all European countries according to their legislation and administrative practices that have direct impact on the human rights situation of LGBTI people. It rates each European country on the basis of 42 categories and ranks them on a scale between 30 (highest score: respect of human rights and full legal equality of LGBT people) and -12 (lowest score: gross violations of human rights and discrimination of LGBT people).

From a legal perspective, the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map shows that none of the countries in Europe can claim to provide full legal equality for LGBTI people. In addition great gaps exist between countries, underlining the differences in the recognition of their equal rights.
The five highest scoring countries – out of the maximum of 30 points – are:

  • United Kingdom (21 points)
  • Germany and Spain (20 points each)
  • Sweden (18 points)
  • Belgium (17 points)

10 countries are in the negative zone and do not meet the basic requirements of human rights standards:

  • Moldova and Russia (-4.5 points each)
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia and Ukraine (-4 points each)
  • Monaco, San Marino and Turkey (-3 points each)
  • Belarus and Liechtenstein (-1 point each)

All in all the ILGA sums up that the level of legal equality of LGTBI people continues to be very low in most European countries.

On the positive side, the association acknowledges great progress in terms of recognition of the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity particularly in the fields of asylum and protection from violence. Various countries continued moving towards the extension of legal recognition and equal rights to rainbow families; and there are a number of legal proposals towards the introduction of humane laws regarding the change of legal name and gender of trans people.

On the negative side the ILGA puts forward that in some countries there is either no progress whatsoever or moves towards the adoption of legislation criminalizing the ‘propaganda of homosexuality’.

Please click here to access the ILGA-Rainbow Map and Index in high resolution and here to read the full ILGA Annual Report from May 2012.


[1Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people.

Photo : Guillaume Paumier (Wikimedia Commons)


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29 May 2012

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