Europe’s largest ever survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people reveals that just over a quarter of LGBT people have been attacked or threatened with violence in the past five years.
The results of an online survey of some 93,000 people last year have been released by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights at a conference in The Hague.
Some 80 per cent of the most serious incidents of violence suffered by respondents were never reported to the police, often because they did not believe the police would do anything to help them. Conference participants are calling for urgent action.
Some 47 per cent of those surveyed said they had been discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of sexual orientation in the year before the survey, while 19 per cent said they felt discriminated against at work or when looking for a job.
The report also reveals that 66 per cent of LGBT people are afraid to hold hands in public with their partner and this rises to 75 per cent for gay and bisexual men. Negative comments and bullying in schools are also widespread, with 80 per cent of those surveyed saying they recall this happening at school.
The Fundamental Rights Agency is calling for EU-wide action to ‘break down the barriers’.
The body’s Director, Morten Kjaerum, said: ‘Everyone should feel free to be themselves at home, work, at school and in public, but clearly LGBT people clearly don’t. Results from the FRA’s survey show that fear, isolation and discrimination are common in Europe’s LGBT community.’
Ministers and officials from eleven countries present at the conference in The Hague signed a declaration calling for a comprehensive EU action plan in light of the survey results, with other conference participants saying not enough was being done.
The declaration was presented to the Vice President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding. She stressed that work has already begun on a European level to address the concerns, but national governments must also act.