STATE OF THE UNION

STUDY: Most Gay Europeans Still Living In Fear

european-homophobic-union

A new report from the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency  found that almost two-thirds of LGBT Europeans are afraid to be open in public and feel discriminated against. The findings were announced today, May 17, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).

The survey, billed as the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, asked around 93,000 LGBT people across the EU and Croatia whether they had experienced discrimination, violence, verbal abuse or hate speech on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Results included:

  • Some 26% of respondents (and 35% of transgender respondents) said they had been attacked or threatened with violence in the past five years
  • Most of the hate attacks reported took place in public and were perpetrated by more than one person, with the attackers predominantly being male
  • More than half of those who said they had been attacked did not report the incident to the authorities, believing no action would be taken
  • Half of respondents said they had felt personally discriminated against in the year before the survey, although 90% did not report the discrimination
  • Some 20% of gay or bisexual respondents and 29% of transgender respondents said they had suffered discrimination at work or when looking for a job
  • Two-thirds of respondents said they had tried to hide or disguise their sexuality at school.

Some respondents said that it gets worse, not better, even in countries that are traditionally more tolerant. The Netherlands, for instance, was the first country to adopt marriage equality, but almost 20 percent of Dutch participants said they felt discriminated against when going out in public.

Some 300 politicians and experts have gathered at The Hague to discuss the survey’s findings and address the plight of the international LGBT community during today’s observance of IDAHO.

Cover image: Giovanni Dall’Orto/Wikimedia Commons