Which country is leading Europe when it comes to LGBTI equality?


Stefanie Gerdis

Scotland leaves the rest of the UK and Europe behind while Azerbaijan scores even lower than Russia when it comes to LGBTI equality and human rights.

Scotland has been named the most progressive country in Europe when it comes to LGBTI equality.

Following the legalization of same-sex marriage and because of its more progressive policies on intersex equality, ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe Index 2015 places Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK and Europe on LGBTI equality and human rights legislation.

The country meets 92% of the index’s 48-point criteria, with the rest of the UK meeting 86%, despite the lack of same-sex marriage and adoption in Northern Ireland and the lack of recognition for intersex people.

Scotland and the UK are followed by Belgium, meeting 82%, with Sweden, Norway, Spain and Portugal also ranking high; Ireland only meets 40% which places it just before Greece and Georgia.

Despite its anti-gay legislation, Russia, meeting 8% of criteria does not score the lowest – Azerbaijan meets only 5% of criteria. Also scoring low are Armenia (9%), Ukraine (10%) and Monaco (11%).

The Equality Network, Scotland’s national LGBTI equality and human rights charity, described the ranking as ‘welcome recognition’ for the efforts campaigners put in, but also for politicians’ willingness to consult with LGBTI people.

‘We know there is still much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBTI people in Scotland,’ Tom French, Policy and Public Affairs Coordinator for the Equality Network and urged people not to be complacent.

‘As ILGA’s review shows there are still areas where Scotland is failing to respect LGBTI human rights and falling behind the progress in other countries, particularly when it comes to the rights of trans and intersex people.

‘There is also a big difference between securing legal rights and full equality for LGBTI people in their everyday lives. Despite real progress in the law, LGBTI people in Scotland are still facing unacceptable levels of prejudice, discrimination and disadvantage throughout their lives.’

The Rainbow Europe Index measures progress in European countries on LGBTI equality against a 48-point criteria including legal protections from discrimination in employment and services, measures to tackle hate crime, rights and recognition for transgender and intersex people and equality in family law, including same-sex marriage and parenting rights.