Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is "deplorable, as it aims to denigrate people and deprive them of their rights on the basis of their sexual orientation," EP President Jerzy Buzek said at the inauguration of a photo exhibition on European gay pride marches at the EP in Strasbourg 9 May.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have had a tough fight to establish their rights in society, and still face fines, long-term imprisonment and even the death penalty in some (mostly African and Arab) countries. Under the EU treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the EU is committed to rooting out homophobia, Mr Buzek said.
Between 1948 and 1990, the World Health Organisation classified homosexuality as a mental handicap and it was only on 17 May 1990 that the General Assembly declared "homosexuality is not a disease, a disturbance or a perversion".
Same-sex marriage or registered civil union are still not recognised in most EU countries, and same-sex couples face serious problems when trying to get their rights recognised in other MS.
The European Parliament has approved a number of resolutions condemning discrimination and wants to "make sure that future generations of Europeans grow accustomed to a culture of openness, non-discrimination and tolerance", Mr Buzek said. "So that in the future there no longer needs to be a day against homophobia."