The International Day against Homophobia is marked every 17 May to raise awareness about the importance of non- discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the decision by the World Health Organization to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. MEPs highlighted the importance of fighting discrimination during a discussion with experts in the Parliament on 12 May.
EP Vice-President Ulrike Lunacek, who is the president of the Parliament’s LGBT intergroup, said: ”Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is illegal and is prohibited in the EU. The European Parliament together with civil society has had a strong influence on this.”
EP Vice-President Dimitrious Papadimoulis, chair of the high-level group on gender equality and diversity, commented: “The fight for equality continues daily. The whole of society needs to take an active role in reducing prejudice as this is an aspect that affects everyone.”
Discrimination still rife
Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation still takes place in the EU, despite laws prohibiting it.
According to the largest LGBT survey ever carried out in 2013, 47% of LGBT people said they had personally felt discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of sexual orientation.