A long way to go for LGBTI equality


LGBTI inclusion in European workplaces is very much dependent upon the progress of society in general. Without a robust legal framework and policymakers that support it, creating workplaces where everyone can be themselves becomes that much harder for employers. The European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and ILGA Europe have carried out extensive studies to give insight into the fragile dynamic between supportive societies and progress on LGBTI inclusion. Both of them highlight that, while immense progress has been made, we should not deceive ourselves into thinking that the task of LGBTI inclusion in European society is complete. This is just as relevant of a message for employers and governments, investors and other stakeholders as it is for the LGBTI community ourselves! “Too many LGBTI people continue to live in the shadows, afraid of being ridiculed, discriminated or even attacked. Even though some countries have advanced LGBTI equality, our survey findings show that overall there has been too little real progress, leaving many LGBTI people vulnerable. Their job and healthcare difficulties may worsen due to COVID-19. Policymakers should take note and do more to actively promote full respect for rights of LGBTI people,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. More lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people are now open about who they are but fear, violence and discrimination remain high. These are the results of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s survey on experiences of LGBTI people in Europe. With 140,000 respondents, covering the EU 27 Member States, the UK, Serbia and North Macedonia, the FRA’s 2020 survey is the largest ever on hate crime and discrimination against LGBTI people. For the first time, it also includes experiences of intersex people and young LGBTI people aged 15 to 17. The findings are designed to drive policy measures to further protect and promote the rights of LGBTI people. It goes without saying, though, that this also has a direct impact on how LGBTI people function and react at work in countries throughout the continent. Imagine being afraid to hold your loved one’s hand in public, skipping office banter to avoid divulging with whom you share your life, choosing the long way home to sidestep potentially hostile ground, or enduring ridicule every time you show your personal identification. This report shows that, in the year 2020, these remain realities for all too many lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people across the European Union and beyond. The 2020 report follows the agency’s first survey on LGBTI people in the EU, conducted in 2012. Unfortunately, its results show little progress over the past seven years. More people are open about being LGBTI – but a majority still avoid holding their partner’s hand in public. They may have good reason to be discreet. Among those who are very open about being LGBTI, 40 % say they experienced harassment. Physical or sexual attacks also remain a concern: one in ten survey participants say they were targets of such violence in the five years before the survey