In many EU Member States, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people run the risk of discrimination and harassment on a daily basis. Prejudices and misconceptions about homosexuality and transgender people further fuel intolerant attitudes and behaviour towards this community. FRA has carried out research in this area since 2008, including legal as well as empirical (qualitative) research.

Sexual orientation and gender identity have increasingly been recognised as discrimination grounds in international law. Under EU law, lesbian, bisexual and gay people are currently protected from discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation only in the field of employment. Meanwhile, transgender people are legally protected from discrimination under EU law on the ground of sex to the extent that discrimination arises from gender reassignment.

FRA research has revealed how LGBTI people face discrimination across all areas of life, and how they are vulnerable to verbal and physical attacks, choosing to remain largely invisible out of fear of negative consequences. In 2012, some 93,000 LGBTI people responded to an EU-wide survey which FRA carried out to discover the everyday issues affecting LGBTI people. This survey collected comparable data from across the EU on LGBTI people’s experiences of hate crime and discrimination for the first time, as well as their level of awareness about their rights. The survey results were published in May 2013 and gave an indication of the extent of the suffering many LGBTI people face across the EU today.

The results of the survey will be supplemented by research among public officials and key professional groups in the areas of public equalities policies, education, health and law enforcement. The research aims at identifying drivers and barriers to the full implementation of the fundamental rights of LGBTI people.

FRA has also, for the first time, looked into the rights of intersex people. In a Focus Paper, FRA reported that sex ‘normalising’ surgery is carried out on intersex children in at least 21 Member States. Furthermore, intersex people often face various administrative and legal obstacles which stand in the way of the recognition of their fundamental rights.

See also