LGBTI Intergroup comments on the first-ever EU LGBTI+ Equality Strategy

Brussels, 11 November 2020

Tomorrow, on 12 November, at 12:30, the European Commission will present its first-ever LGBTI+ Equality Strategy. The Strategy intends to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics, which remains a daily reality for many LGBTI people in Europe.[1] It will build on the List of actions to advance LGBTI equality and its annual reports,[2] and the presentation will be done in a press conference by European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová (Values and Transparency) and European Commissioner Helena Dalli (Equality).

Terry Reintke MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

This LGBTI+ Strategy is strongly welcomed and comes at a particularly critical moment. The human rights of LGBTI persons have continually been targeted and we have seen recently how governments have politicised them for political gain. LGBTI-free zones remain a striking example of why we need rule of law conditionality on EU funds, which is now linked to EU values. As such, we expect the Commission to make use of this new tool to sanction rule of law breaches, in particular where they impact LGBTI persons’ lives. We must ensure that LGBTI persons can safely enjoy all of their human rights and that EU funds are used to protect EU values, not erode them.

Marc Angel MEP (S&D), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, adds:

We welcome President von der Leyen’s support for “parents to remain parents” when crossing EU borders. It is crucial that mutual recognition of public documents becomes a reality to protect the best interests of the child. However, such a legislative proposal must protect family life comprehensively, which means to recognise not only the vertical parent-child relationship, but also the horizontal relationship between parents, especially if they are a same-sex couple. All family ties, including between same-sex parents and non-biological children, must be recognised and protected. Our line is clear: “families must remain families” when crossing EU borders. We will push for a strong legislative initiative on this field.

Maria Walsh MEP (EPP), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

The mental health of our communities cannot be ignored. This was true before and it is even more evident now with the COVID pandemic, which has severely impacted LGBTI communities. This also brings to light practices that remain legal in some Member States, such as so-called “conversion therapy” practices, which are nothing short of torture as recognised by international human rights bodies. We hope this strategy will identify concrete actions the EU will take alongside Member States to ban them.

Liesje Schreinemacher MEP (Renew Europe), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, states:

We cannot accept schools and universities discriminating against LGBTI students. Every teaching environment should be inclusive of all students, so as to ensure all of them achieve their full potential. In addition, we support the Commissioner’s commitment to ending intersex genital mutilation and ensuring that trans persons in the EU have access to legal gender recognition procedures free from pathologizing requirements. This strategy must clearly address all three grounds at play: sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

Malin Björk MEP (GUE/NGL), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, comments:

The situation of LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in Europe is very concerning, and the current policies increase their vulnerability rather than ensuring a protective environment throughout the asylum process. The credibility of LGBTI+ asylum seekers is systematically questioned and their lives are put at risk. Concepts such as safe third countries and fast track procedures are not designed to deliver for LGBTI+ asylum seekers. In this context, the LGBTI+ strategy must clearly address the rights of LGBTI asylum-seekers. 

Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP (Non-attached), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup in the European Parliament, concludes:

Hate speech and hate crime remain pervasive problems throughout and outside the EU. For example, in Italy, a bill was just passed in the lower house to criminalise hate crimes on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We strongly welcome the Commission’s initiative to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech in the 4thquarter of 2021. Such a legislative proposal must explicitly include the grounds of both sexual orientation and gender identity – this is what we will fight for.


[1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12410-LGBTI-equality

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/combatting-discrimination/lesbian-gay-bi-trans-and-intersex-equality/list-actions-advance-lgbti-equality_en


Press contacts:

Office of Marc Angel MEP – Lisa Kersch (Lisa.Kersch@europarl.europa.eu)

Office of Terry Reintke MEP (Terry.Reintke@europarl.europa.eu)

Office of Maria Walsh MEP (Media@mariawalsh.eu)

Office of Liesje Schreinemacher – Solange Kamm (Solange.Kamm@europarl.europa.eu)

Office of Malin Björk – Charlotta Narvehed (Charlotta.Narvehed@europarl.europa.eu)

Office of Fabio Castaldo MEP – Francesca Acampora (Francesca.Acampora@europarl.europa.eu)

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