Groundbreaking LGBT research to be published next week angers religious conservatives

Next week the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights will present the results of two years’ research into the discrimination and violence experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the EU and Croatia.

FRA LGBT survey

The LGBT survey received over 93,000 validated responses from LGBT people through a secured questionnaire. The data was processed and analysed by Gallup Europe.

Results will be presented in The Hague on Friday 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia. The presentation will be attended by European Commissioner for fundamental rights Viviane Reding, several equality ministers, Members of the European Parliament, and civil society.

Conservative religious groups such as the US-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute already criticised the survey, regretting that straight people couldn’t answer the questionnaire, and claiming the statistics are made up.

Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup from the centre-right EPP group, commented: “I respect conservative Catholic groups’ freedom of opinion, including on women’s and LGBT rights—but I don’t appreciate their way of criticising research even before it is published. In any case, they receive very little attention, even from centre-right MEPs.”

European Dignity Watch, a lobby group advocating for Catholic-inspired policies to limit access to abortion, stop stem-cell research and roll back LGBT people’s rights, also criticised the research as early as April last year.

The group, which some suspect is linked to US neo-conservatives, claims the survey “fabricates […] facts” and argues its results are worthless because the research was anonymous.

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, added: “I find it sad that these groups find any reason to criticise the work of the Fundamental Rights Agency whenever it promotes the rights of women or LGBT people. Their knee-jerk reflex shows that this survey is highly needed, and that unfortunately, equality still has a lot of opponents.”

The results of the LGBT survey will be made available online on 17 May.