The EU should draw up a roadmap to protect the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, says a resolution adopted by Parliament on Tuesday. In the 2013 EU LGBT survey, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency found that 47% of LGBT people felt discriminated against or harassed and 26% were physically attacked or threatened with violence in the previous five years.
"Homophobia must not be tolerated in Europe any more. So many of us lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people have lived our lives in fear for too long. Fear of holding hands on the street, fear of being called names, fear of being thrown out of our houses, schools or jobs. My report says the EU must act on this, so that we, too, may enjoy the rights guaranteed to all in the EU", said rapporteur Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA, AT).
Parliament’s resolution, passed by 394 votes to 176, with 72 abstentions, strongly regrets that the fundamental rights of LGBTI people are not always fully upheld in the EU. It calls on the European Commission, EU member states and EU agencies to work jointly on a roadmap to protect their fundamental rights, similar to existing EU strategies against discrimination based on sex, disability or ethnicity.
MEPs put forward several themes and objectives that should be addressed in the EU roadmap, in areas such as employment, education, health, goods and services, families and freedom of movement, freedom of expression, hate crime, asylum, foreign relations etc. The resolution clearly states that this comprehensive policy must respect member states' competences.
The current EU framework decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law should be revised to include bias crime and incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, MEPs say.
Families and free movement
The Commission should produce guidelines to ensure that the directives on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states and on the right to family reunification "are implemented so as to ensure respect for all forms of families legally recognised under member states' national laws".
In the field of education, the Commission should promote equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity throughout its youth and education programmes, says the text. It should also facilitate the sharing of good practice in formal education among member states, including teaching materials, anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies, in a non-binding way.
MEPs say that member states should "introduce or review legal gender recognition procedures so they fully respect transgender people's right to dignity and bodily integrity", e.g. to preclude any requirement for them to undergo sterilization. They add that the Commission should continue to work with the World Health Organization to stop considering transgender individuals mentally ill.