Belgium falls to third place in the European LGBTI+ ranking

Belgium falls to third place in the European LGBTI+ ranking
Belgium falls to third place in the European LGBTI+ ranking

Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities Marie-Colline Leroy (Ecolo) welcomes Belgium’s place in the top three, but emphasizes that there are still gaps to be filled. “It is important that the next Parliament amends Article 150 of the Constitution in order to effectively combat online hatred against LGBTQI people,” she insists.

Using this Rainbow Map, ILGA carries out an annual assessment of legislation and policy on sexual and gender diversity in 49 European countries. Countries are evaluated on six categories and receive a score between 0 and 100%.

In Belgium, the gains made for LGBTQIA+ communities are still threatened by what is called “wokism”

Belgium has long occupied second place in this ranking. However in 2022, our country moved to third place, before moving up to second in 2023. This year, we fall to third place on the podium with 78 points.

For the ninth year in a row, Malta (88%) tops the list. With a score of 83 points, Iceland moves into second place, gaining three places thanks to new legislation. The three countries at the bottom of the “rainbow” ranking are Russia (2%), Azerbaijan (2%) and Turkey (5%).

Another lesson: Germany, Iceland, Estonia, Liechtenstein and Greece are the countries which have progressed the most. Thus, Germany now criminally targets hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. Estonia and Greece have changed their laws to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, while Greece has also closed loopholes in its anti-discrimination laws to fully protect LGBTI people. Liechtenstein has extended the right of adoption to same-sex couples.

School harassment suffered by LGBTQI+ people on a sharp increase

Note that Montenegro is the most sanctioned country (-13%). It fell 9 places because it failed to adopt a new equality action plan and to update its policies on asylum and hate crimes.

Furthermore, Belgium is also cited for having recently banned conversion practices. These are therapies aimed at changing the sexual orientation of LGBTI+ people. These practices – ranging from psychotherapy to electroshocks and even “corrective rape” – will soon be sanctioned by the legislative arsenal.

On the political front, in addition to an amendment to article 150 of the Constitution, Secretary of State Marie-Colline Leroy therefore recommends that the next government continue to transpose the judgment of the Constitutional Court so that non-binary people can also register with civil status. Another important measure would aim to protect the physical integrity of intersex adults and children. The latter should only be treated or operated on if they are able to give their consent or in order to avoid a situation putting their lives at risk, insists the Secretary of State.

“These measures are necessary, especially in light of the new figures revealed by the FRA study (the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Editor’s note),” emphasizes Secretary of State Ecolo. “These clearly show that more than a quarter of LGBTQI people in our country avoid certain places for fear of being attacked and that more than half of them prefer not to hold their partner’s hand in public.”

For her part, Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter (Groen) also believes that it is time to roll up our sleeves, now that we have been overtaken by Iceland in the rankings. According to her, the prohibition of discrimination should therefore be explicitly enshrined in the Constitution.

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