Press Release: Lesbian Visibility Day – why we need to include LBTI women in the violence against women and domestic violence directive
Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated on the 26 April during the Lesbian Visibility Week (24-30 April 2023), which is “a voice for unity that lifts all women, especially those who come from marginalised communities”. The LGBTI Intergroup celebrates this date with the community.
Lesbian Visibility Day brings attention to the specific needs of LBTI women and calls for legislative reforms in this regard. On 8 March 2022, the Commission presented a “Directive combatting and preventing violence against women and domestic violence”, which aims to ensure a minimum level of protection across the EU against violence against women online and offline. On Lesbian Visibility Day it is important to underline the importance of including and strengthening the rights of LBTI women within the scope of the Directive, since LBTI women are more likely to experience intersectional discrimination and violence. Lesbians who belong to an ethnic minority, have a migrant background, who are non-binary, trans, or intersex lesbians, or lesbians with disabilities, are much more likely to be exposed to violence and harassment. Violence experienced by lesbians is also more likely to include sexual violence than for other populations and lesbians experience violence by unknown perpetrators to a higher rate. Trans lesbians and lesbians with disabilities report violence from police officers and border guards around three times more than all lesbians.
Malin Björk MEP (The Left), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and LIBE negotiator for the Left group on the proposed Directive, comments:
Being lesbian is a superpower. We’re at the forefront in many political battles, including in the LGBTI community. Despite that, we’re often made invisible. That’s why the Lesbian Visibility Day is so important. In terms of concrete law-making, we’re currently working to ensure that LBTI women are included in the directive to combat gender-based violence.
Kim van Sparrentak MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup and shadow rapporteur on the EMPL opinion on the proposed Directive, concludes:
Violence and harassment against LGBTI and notably gender diverse persons is on the rise. I negotiated strongly for the Employment committee to address the broad notion of gender-based violence in the directive and am happy this language found a majority today. By broadening the scope of the directive we make sure that LGBTI persons, and in particular trans and non-binary persons, enjoy more legal protection against violence and are better supported when becoming victims. We also managed to include intersectional discrimination, notably in the context of cyber violence. I will continue working to make sure that the Parliament’s position in this text can be ambitious and I hope that come next Lesbian Visibility Day, this text becomes law.
 European Commission (8 March 2022). “Proposal for Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating violence against women and domestic violence”. Accessible at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52022PC0105
 ILGA Europe and EuroCentralAsian Lesbian Community (September 2022). Intersections: Diving into the FRA LGBTI II Survey Data – Lesbians Briefing. Accessible at : https://www.ilga-europe.org/files/uploads/2022/09/FRA-Intersections-Report-2022-Lesbians.pdf
ILGA Europe and EuroCentralAsian Lesbian Community (September 2022). Intersections: Diving into the FRA LGBTI II Survey Data – Lesbians Briefing. Accessible at : https://www.ilga-europe.org/files/uploads/2022/09/FRA-Intersections-Report-2022-Lesbians.pdf
Office of Malin Björk MEP – Charlotta Narvehed (Charlotta.Narvehed@europarl.europa.eu)
Office of Kim van Sparrentak MEP – Lowie Kok (Lowie.Kok@europarl.europa.eu)