Surveying LGBT people and authorities

Objectives - Why this project and for whom?

This project encompasses two related surveys:

  1. A survey on discrimination against and victimisation of LGBT people. This survey aims to generate comparable data about the extent and nature of discrimination, violence and hate speech experienced by LGBT persons across the EU.
  2. A survey of public bodies and service providers. This survey will gather information on the practices and policies of various types of public authority in the Member States. It will seek to identify whether and how these practices and policies contribute towards creating equality for LGBT persons.

The results of the project are intended to benefit policy makers at the EU and national level by identifying the scale, nature and context of discrimination against and victimisation of LGBT persons, and by offering possible solutions towards the creation of equality. The project will also share with public bodies examples of promising practices collected during the research alongside other suggestions for developing or strengthening existing policies and practices.

Details - What does the project involve?

The discrimination and victimisation survey - EU LGBT survey - was conducted as an open online survey, due to the extreme difficulty in drawing a truly representative sample of the LGBT people in all 27 EU Member States and Croatia. It asked LGBT persons a series of questions about whether they have experienced discrimination, violence, verbal abuse or hate speech on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It also asked participants to identify the context in which such incidents took place, and their nature. The survey covered all 27 EU Member States and Croatia. Further details can be found in the survey reports.

The survey was be conducted in the following phases:

  1. Stakeholder engagement and background research in preparing the launch of the research call for tender: October 2010- May 2011.
  2. Preparation of the questionnaire: June-October 2011.
  3. Further background research and planning of awareness-raising campaign, developing and testing survey in multiple languages: September 2011-January 2012.
  4. Launch of survey, collection of data: April-July 2012.
  5. Analysis of results and report writing: May 2012-April 2013.
  6. Release of results: May 2013.

In parallel, FRA launched a new research project which aims to contribute to more relevant and effective policy making in the field of LGBT equality. This research will focus on four professional groups: public officials, teachers, law enforcement staff and health workers, including trans health providers. The research will be conducted through qualitative interviews in 14 EU Member States and Croatia. This analysis should provide a good basis for more targeted advice to EU institutions and Member States, especially in light of their efforts to meet the standards as set by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation 2010(5).  The results should be made available in the second half of 2013 and 2014.

Innovation - What's 'new' about the project?

To date there is no research covering the EU that is capable of showing the actual extent to which discrimination against and victimisation of LGBT persons actually occurs. The project will generate this data, allowing the FRA to analyse the scale of the problem and suggest possible solutions where problems exist.

This is also the first project to directly conduct interviews with public authorities in selected EU countries that will map what kinds of policies and practices, capable of creating equality for LGBT persons, are in place. In this way the project also sets out to highlight existing good practices.

Outputs - What will the project deliver?

The results will be published as different products aimed at EU and national level policy makers and public bodies.

The findings will be shared through FRA's networking activities to inform the development or strengthening of existing standards, policies and practices to promote equality for LGBT persons. These activities will be carried out with civil society organisations, national bodies responsible for promoting human rights and equality, and inter-governmental organisations, in particular the Council of Europe. Networking activities will be aimed at informing decision-makers at the EU and national level, as well as national bodies responsible for implementing rights in practice.

Related Information

EU law guarantees equal treatment for all persons regardless of their sex and their sexual orientation in the context of employment and vocational training. The treaties of the EU, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Employment Equality Directive, adopted in 2000, guarantee the right to equality and non-discrimination for all LGBT persons, as well as requiring the EU to be proactive in fighting such discrimination.

The rights of LGBT persons in international law were reaffirmed by the UN Human Rights Council in a Resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted 17 June 2011 (see here for background information). Of particular significance is the Council of Europe's Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2008 and 2009 the FRA published two important EU-wide reports: a comparative legal analysis of legislation and case law in all 27 Member States (updated in 2010) and a comparative social analysis of the situation of LGBT persons in various areas of social and economic life such as access to employment, education and health care. This research shows that discrimination against LGBT people, and homophobic and transphobic speech and crime more particularly, is a significant problem. The FRA has published summaries of the main findings of this research in a synthesis report as well as a fact sheet on the policy dimensions and a fact sheet on key trends.

The survey of LGBT persons and the interviews with public authorities, take FRA's research on equality for LGBT persons a step further by producing comprehensive and comparable data on the extent of discrimination and victimisation, and by looking specifically at whether and how public authorities give effect to the rights of LGBT persons through their practices and policies.

To learn more about the FRA's activities and find out about our publications in this field, please visit our thematic page on LGBT rights.

Access the EU LGBT survey data explorer to view all survey responses >>

Data explorer