Combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity
Fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation has been an aim of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 1981. European governments took a historical step on 31 March 2010, when they recommended measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the first specific legal standard in the world to combat discrimination of this kind.
17 May is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, commemorating the 1990 decision of the World Health Organization to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. Every year, policy makers, opinion leaders, the media and the general public are challenged to address the urgent need to combat violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons and to build inclusive societies, enriched through their diversity.
The Council of Europe has been adamant in voicing its commitment to end homophobia and transphobia in its member states.
Discrimination against LGBTI people remains a reality across Europe. But some progress has been made.
Examples of the positive impact of the Council of Europe’s standards and activities include the adoption of new legislation to recognise and protect LGBT couples and families, the adoption of legal gender recognition laws, the launch of national action plans on LGBTI persons’ rights, and exchanges of good practice and know-how on LGBTI inclusive local and regional policies.