FRA statement on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia 2010(17 May 2010)
17 May is the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Twenty years ago the World Health Organisation decided to remove homosexuality from its list of illnesses. In these twenty years we have come a long way in the European Union in protecting the rights of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) The EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights is the first international human rights charter to explicitly include the term "sexual orientation". However, as FRA reports have shown, the situation of LGBT people across the EU still needs to be improved.
Inadequacies and inconsistencies in legislation to protect LGBT people from discrimination persist. Homophobic and transphobic hate speech and hate crime continue across the EU and there is little evidence that police forces are paying enough attention or provide adequate support to victims. Derogatory or offensive remarks, verbal and physical assaults, and discrimination in many areas of life highlight the widespread persistence of homophobia in our societies. We have to take a stand against homophobia and transphobia. These attitudes and actions do not only cause harm to the lives of the individuals concerned, but to society as a whole.
Combating fundamental rights violations effectively requires first of all a firm political commitment to the principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination. Therefore the FRA welcomes the strong messages issued by the highest EU authorities - the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission - condemning homophobia and transphobia thereby contributing to a positive change in public attitudes and behaviour.