With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for LGBTI citizens.
If you are LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex), the EU forbids discrimination against you on the grounds of your sexual orientation. Your national government, however, decides on your safety, healthcare and education. There can be significant differences between EU countries on these rights, as well as on access to goods and services, family status and marriage and civil union rights. This is especially true when it comes to same-sex marriage, family, and parental status. But the EU protects LGBTI people and continues to fight against discrimination, because the EU is founded on values such as respect for human rights, including minority rights. One example of the EU’s defence of equality for all is the legislation providing for equal treatment at work and in training, regardless of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. Further legislation is proposed to protect against discrimination outside the labour market, but national governments have yet to reach unanimity on it.
Advancing LGBTI citizens’ rights also includes spending over €439 million through the EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, which fights discrimination and tackles homophobia and other forms of intolerance. Non-discrimination and sexual minority rights are also included in the European Social Fund, the Erasmus+ Programme and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, which promotes tolerance outside the EU. At the European Parliament’s request, the Commission has produced a list of actions to advance LGBTI equality both in the EU and abroad.