One in ten LGBTI people has been the victim of a physical attack for their sexual orientation in the past five years in the European Union (EU). 60% avoid shaking hands with their partner on the street to avoid problems. And almost half have suffered insults or threats during their time at school.
The level of violence and discrimination suffered by millions of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersexes in the 27 countries of the EU, plus the United Kingdom, Macedonia and Serbia, has hardly improved in recent years, according to a survey published today the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).
Almost 144,000 people have spoken about the hatred and discrimination they suffer, in the largest study of this type ever carried out, and whose title makes clear the challenge: "A long way to go for the equality of LGBTI people".
When comparing this study with a smaller one conducted in 2012, which did not include intersex people or those under 18, the FRA concludes that there has been "little, if any, progress" and that in some areas the situation has even worsened .
LIVE IN FEAR
"The most alarming result is that of harassment, fear, and lack of security," Miltos Pavlou, one of the people responsible for the report, told Efe, recalling that 38% of those surveyed said they had been the victim of harassment in the last year for being LGBTI.
"That is unacceptable. People do not deserve to live like this," he says.
The report collects real testimonies from people who remember that their time at the institute was "hell", or who claim the right to walk hand in hand with the person they love, or who have to listen to homophobic comments every day in the job.
Among those surveyed, 40% believe that intolerance and prejudice towards the LGBTI community has decreased in the country where they live in the last five years, compared to 36% who say it has risen and 24% who say there have been no changes. .
TRANS AND INTERSEXUAL SUFFER MORE
The survey shows how the situation varies enormously not only between different EU countries, but also between the different groups that make up the LGBTI community.
While 21% of lesbians and 19% of gays feel discriminated against at work, that percentage rises to 32 and 36 in the case of intersex and transsexuals, respectively.
The report dedicates a chapter to intersex people, about whom they say "suffer more discrimination than any other LGBTI group," and warns that they are twice as likely to experience physical or sexual assault as the average.
"There is total ignorance in society, so intersex people suffer even more," Pavlou explains.
WORST IN EASTERN EUROPE
Although in general the levels of discrimination are higher in Eastern Europe, there are countries in the region, such as the Czech Republic, where the situation is better than the European average, and other western countries, such as France or Germany, where in some aspects the situation is worse.
"We are not pointing fingers at countries, because we are here to help them see how they can improve their situation for the benefit of all citizens," Pavlou says.
The FRA expert sees a clear "window of change" among young people and a gradual improvement in how the subject is handled in school, although the situation is far from good.
84% of those over 40 say that LGBTI was never discussed at their time in school, while 53% of those who are now between 15 and 17, affirm that the matter has been themed, mostly in a positive way or balanced.
MORE SUPPORT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
The support they receive has also improved: almost half of LGBTI people between the ages of 15 and 17 state that they have received, always or often, support from at least one person at school. A percentage that drops to 6% for those over 40 years of age.
But given these hopeful data, the reality of bullying remains brutal: Even today, 43% of LGBTI schoolchildren claim to have been "ridiculed, molested, insulted or threatened," a slight advance compared to 47% among those with 40 and 54 years old.
LAW, EDUCATION, VISIBILITY
Regarding the factors driving improvement, the FRA explains that the passage and correct application of laws, the public debate on the rights of minorities and the support of well-known persons contribute to reducing discrimination.
Thus, 71% of those surveyed affirm that the visibility and participation of LGBTI people in everyday life is the main drive to reduce intolerance.
In contrast, the majority believe that the negative discourse of politicians towards the LGBTI community is the main reason for the increase in prejudice.
GOVERNMENTS DO NOT PROTECT
In this sense, only 27% of LGBTIs in Europe feel that their governments adequately respond to their security needs, a percentage that sinks to 3% in Poland, and 6 in Hungary and Italy, but reaches 81% and 69% in Malta and Luxembourg.
A significant fact is that only 10% of hate crime victims end up reporting it, mainly because they think it won't do any good.
"It is a great challenge for the EU, because the EU should be able to guarantee that people can live their lives", Pavlou summarizes when speaking of the need for action, and especially points to the responsibility of giving to children and young people " the life they deserve. " Antonio Sánchez Solís