The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has presented the world's largest report on LGBTI people's living conditions. The report is based on a survey with almost 140 000 LGBTI respondents from EU countries, Great Britain, Serbia and Northern Macedonia, of which 2 500 are Swedish LGBTI people.
In the report A long way to go for LGBTI equality, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presents the results of an extensive survey on LGBTI people’s living conditions and experiences. The report reviews how LGBTI people in the EU, Great Britain, Serbia and Northern Macedonia view their human rights. A staggering 140 000 people from 30 countries answered the survey. For the first time, intersex people between the ages of 15-17 are included in the survey.
The report shows that little, if any, progress has been made since the agency’s survey from 2012 and that many homosexuals, bisexuals, trans and intersex people still experience fear, violence and discrimination. The report also shows that trans and intersex people are more prone to vulnerability than other LGBTI people.
Some results about Sweden show that:
- 42 percent avoid holding their partner’s hand in public.
- 31 percent say that they have been harassed during the year preceding the survey.
- 61 percent are “somewhat” or “very” open about their LGBTI identity.
- 22 percent often or always avoid certain places for fear of being attacked.
- 20 percent, i.e. 1 out of 5 intersex and trans people have experienced physical or sexual violence, a number twice as high compared to other LGBTI people.
Intersex people are especially vulnerable
The survey of the 30 countries shows that intersex and trans people are more prone to vulnerability than others in the LGBTI group. Trans people more often than others experience harassment and abuse, and most (60 percent) are “seldom” or “almost never” open about their trans identity, compared to 40 percent of homosexual men and 35 percent of lesbian women. Over half of the trans respondents have been discriminated against during the past year, compared to 32 percent of homosexual men and 39 percent of lesbian women. Teenage trans people experience significantly more discrimination than do young gays, lesbians and bisexuals. A higher percentage of trans people felt discriminated against at work in 2019 compared to 2012.
Intersex people are subject to more discrimination than any other category in the LGBTI group. Almost two thirds (62 percent) have been discriminated against within at least one area of life during the year preceding the survey. One out of three believes that bullying and violence are the biggest problems for intersex people, and about one third says that the main problem is that people wrongly believe that an intersex variation is a disease. It’s twice as common for intersex people to have experienced physical or sexual abuse compared to other LGBTI people. 22 percent report abuse, compared to 12 percent of homosexual men and 10 percent of lesbian women. Many intersex people also point to the absence of informed consent for medical treatments they have undergone. 62 percent say that they didn’t give fully informed consent for their first surgical treatment aimed at altering their sex traits. Almost half of intersex people report that they didn’t give informed consent for hormone treatment and other types of medical treatment.
– This survey provides all participating countries with important knowledge on which to base efforts to strengthen LGBTI people’s health and rights. For Sweden and many other countries, it’s a question of strengthening the health and rights of trans and intersex people. For example, in Sweden it’s not against the law to perform non-medically motivated surgical procedures without the patient’s informed consent in intersex cases, says RFSL’s president Deidre Palacios.
At an EU-level, the report presents nine different suggestions for measures, among others a strengthened ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in areas of society other than working life. Sweden has a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in working life and other areas of society, but not on discrimination based on sex characteristics, which affects intersex people.