Today (17 May) marks the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, calling attention to discrimination suffered by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in the EU and around the world.
First Vice President Frans Timmermans said: “The European Commission will always strongly condemn violence, discrimination, harassment and hate speech on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics. We all have the right to live free from dehumanisation, ill-treatment or even persecution, regardless of how we identify and regardless whom we love, and this right must be resolutely defended if we are all to be equals in society.”
Commissioner Věra Jourová added: “The discrimination of the LGBTI community in the EU covers many aspects of life, such as employment, social security and protection, education and health. Public expressions of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as holding hands on the street or sharing a picture on social media, are too often met with biased and hateful remarks or even violence. We have set up a series of actions at EU-level, but member states play a pivotal role in making these efforts effective. I therefore strongly encourages member states to maintain and expand their own initiatives.”
High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini has also issued a declaration on behalf of the European Union, available here.
In March this year, the Commission published its annual report on the implementation of the List of actions to advance LGBTI equality in 2018, which provides an overview of the ambitious set of measures the Commission is implementing to combat discrimination against LGBTI people. This evening, the European Commission headquarters will be lit up in the colours of the rainbow flag as a beacon of support for the LGBTI community and its allies.
This afternoon, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and around 30 diplomatic missions worldwide are publishing a joint statement to mark this day. The Commission is also hosting, under the responsibility of Commissioner Günther Oettinger, an event for European Commission staff on the theme ‘Rainbow networks: How important are they?’ On 15 June, Commissioner Jourová will be joining the European Commission float at the EuroPride Parade in Vienna.