• Clodagh Meaney

There is still a long way to go for LGBTI equality, research shows

A European survey has for the first time gathered data on being an LGBTI teen

By Clodagh Meaney

Research by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights shows that there is still a long way to go for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) equality in Ireland, and across the continent.

The agency has shared findings from their 2019 survey on LGBTI people in the EU and North Macedonia and Serbia. With almost 140,000 participants, it is the largest survey of its kind in Europe.

The FRA found that in Ireland, 59% of LGBTI people avoid holding hands with their same-sex partner, with 31% avoiding certain locations for fear of being assaulted.

8% of those surveyed in Ireland said that they had felt discriminated against at work within the last year.

“Laws are in place to protect gay people here but it's just not taken seriously and enforced properly. I feel any discrimination is downplayed when reported and not taken seriously," wrote one respondee.

37% of LGBTI people in Ireland said they had been harassed within the past year with a further 11% stating that they had been attacked within the last five years.

Of those harassed, 17% said they had reported the incident to Gardaí, which is higher than the EU average of 14%

"I had fireworks thrown at me and my partner as we walked down a street holding hands. Homophobic slurs were also shouted in this attack," said a 17-year-old lesbian woman from Ireland.

45% of LGBTI of respondents aged 15-17 years old said that their school education at some point addressed LGBTI issues positively or in a balanced way. The average percentage across the EU is 33%.

Teens are also subject to more harassment than their older peers, however, 48% say someone supported, defended or protected them and their rights as LGBTI people at school.

The report found that across Europe, hate crimes against bisexual women are the most likely to result in sexual violence. At the same time, they are the group least likely to report these incidents.

It also found that 60% of trans respondents are ‘rarely’ or ‘almost never’ open compared to 40% of gay men and 35% of lesbian women.

Gay and bisexual men, unlike their LGBTI counterparts, are most likely to avoid publicly holding hands with their partners.

Their research also found that along with lesbian women, gay men were most likely to be open about their sexual identity.

Over half of trans people have been discriminated against over the last year, compared to 39% of lesbian women and 32% of gay men. Trans teenagers suffer much more discrimination than their lesbian, gay or bisexual peers.

The trans community suffer more harassment and assaults than their lesbian, gay and bisexual peers. They also have the most doubts that governments are doing enough to ensure the safety of the LGBTI community.

The research found that among Intersex people who registered their civil status or gender in public documents, 60% say they had to provide excessive documents or medical certificates, while 40% say they were denied service or ridiculed and harassed by officials.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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