While today we celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – IDAHOBIT, we must tackle discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons and respect diversity every day. 

When it comes to human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBTQI+ persons, we’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot to do. Until 1990, homosexuality was still classified by the World Health Organisation as a mental disorder. It was only on 17 May 1990 that this was changed.

However, 64 countries are still criminalising homosexuality. Across the world, over 2 billion people live in countries where homosexuality is illegal, while the death penalty is retained as a legal punishment for consensual same-sex relationships in 11 jurisdictions.

According to Europe’s LGBTI umbrella organisation, ILGA-Europe, 2022 was the most violent year for LGBTI people in Europe and Central Asia in the past decade. 

Despite the bleak figures, this year’s Rainbow Map and Index published by the same organisation finds some positive change lately. Although there have been intense anti-LGBTI attacks in several countries, the study concludes that equality is still advancing across Europe. 

In April this year, the European Parliament denounced Uganda’s LGBTIQ+ Bill and called for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and transgender identity.  

At the end of 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a Council Regulation on the recognition of parenthood. The proposal sets out the full recognition of parenthood for cross-border movement within the EU, while ensuring every child’s fundamental rights are fully protected everywhere in the EU.

But this baby-steps legislation must soon become a reality. 

Left MEP Malin Björk (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden) declared: 

“IDAHOBIT is a day to honour all the struggling queers that came before us, celebrate our victories and gather energy and strength for the battles ahead. For me, it is also an important day to connect the dots between the LGBTQI movement and the broader struggle for equality and social justice. And of course I hope for lots of lesbians and clear lesbian visibility as part of the IDAHOBIT mobilisation!  

On this year’s IDAHOBIT I want to remind everyone that Europe is full of rainbow families, with or without kids. But many of us still lack legal recognition and security. That needs to change!”

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. That is regardless of who they are and whom they love. 

Europe has to put into practice its promise of leaving no one behind, to end discrimination and exclusion of LGBTQI+ people.  

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