Stand up for LGBTI people in Europe

The European Parliament will vote today on the Lunacek Report, which will adopt a “roadmap” to protecting and increasing LGBT rights throughout the EU. People in the UK may not be surprised that many countries in the EU, in particular those relatively new to the EU, do not have a very good record on human rights for LGBT people. What people may not realize is that many of the more long-standing members of the EU, such as Italy, also have no anti-discrimination protection legislation in place.

The Lunacek report for the first time enshrines protection for LGBTI people within European structures, and calls for a comprehensive ten year policy to safeguard and promote these rights.

There is much opposition to LGBT rights in Europe, and homophobic forces, largely on the political and “religious” right, are trying to derail it. Defeat of this report sends a worrying signal to those who seek to perpetuate homophobic and transphobic discrimination.

There is a powerful and organized movement lobbying against extending rights for LGBT people. Therefore it is vital that as many as possible MEPs support this, including our UK MEPs.

Labour has a strong record of promoting LGBT rights in Europe, in contrast to the Conservative track record, and there has been much comment on the Tories friends in Europe. But we need you to lobby your Conservative and Liberal Democrat MEPs to make sure that they won’t be voting with their far-right friends and will allow LGBTI people across Europe the chance to experience rights like we do in the UK.

You can find out more information on the ILGA-Europe website and people can also tweet their MEPs using the hashtag #LunacekYES.

This is very important and will make a huge difference to LGBT rights everywhere in the EU from Galway to Gdansk and Ljubljana to Lisbon. It is worth remembering that the safest, most liberal place ever in Europe for LGBT people was Germany between 1918 and 1933. This illustrates how dramatically and quickly our hard-won rights and freedoms can change. It is important that we ensure this does not happen again.

 

Natacha Kennedy is LGBT Labour's International Officer