In a week that drag queen Panti Bliss’s impassioned speech at the Abbey has attracted international attention; the EU has now recognised that LGBT rights need specific protection.
A draft report presented yesterday details for the first time a roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. And today, the European Parliament voted in favour of the report.
‘Homophobia has no place in a modern society such as Ireland’s,’ MEP Nessa Childers said from her office in Strasbourg. ‘That the Parliament now recognises that all citizens – regardless of their age, race, sexual orientation, mobility or gender – are entitled to live their lives without discrimination only reiterates this. I trust that this report will now be processed promptly.’
She added: ‘The EU already has strategies to combat discrimination in other areas – so really, it is only proper that this is extended to LGBT circles. And it is overdue.’
MEPs further observed today that the Commission should continue to work with the World Health Organisation to stop considering transgender individuals mentally ill.
Also today, Amnesty International told a Dublin gathering that at least seven European countries violate the human rights of people trying to change their legal gender identities. The organisation highlights that transgender people in some regions are required to undergo surgery, sterilisation, therapy or psychiatric testing before they can change their legal status.
Executive Director Colm O’Gorman described this as abhorrent, degrading and inhumane.
Last year, an EU survey found that almost half of LGBT people felt discriminated against or harassed and more than a quarter were physically attacked or threatened with violence in the previous five years.