Fear, violence and discrimination remain high among lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people living in Europe, a recent survey found.
The EU agency for Fundamental Rights surveyed nearly 140,000 respondents in 2019 and found that one in five LGBTI respondents felt discriminated against at work and more than one in three felt "discriminated against when going out to eat, drink or being social."
"Despite the important steps forward regarding the equality of LGBTI+ people in the EU in the last years, LGBTI+ people still report high levels of discrimination," said European Commissioner Helena Dalli in a statement released earlier this week.
The survey comes the same week as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
The international day, marked annually on May 17th, commemorates the day the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990.
On Saturday night, the European Commission's building in Brussels displayed the pride flag to recognise the day.
But many people in Europe who identify as LGBTI continue to feel discriminated again.
The FRA survey, entitled ‘A long way to go for LGBTI equality’, found that six in 10 respondents said they avoid holding hands with partners in public.
One in five trans and intersex people were physically or sexually attacked, the survey found, which was double that of other LGBTI groups.
Unequal rights in the European Union
There are still several EU countries that do not recognise gay marriage or civil unions including Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and Poland.
Hungary is set to vote on a bill this week, called Section 33, which would require recording an individual's sex by birth in a registry.
Many human rights organisations have started a campaign #Drop33 to encourage Hungary to not vote on the law that would make it impossible for transgender people to obtain recognition for their gender.
"Mr Orban plans to eradicate legal recognition for #trans people. This would be both a violation of human rights & denial of European values! Show your solidarity with #LGBT people," tweeted Cécile Coudriou, the president of Amnesty International France.
In several European countries hashtags such as #homophobia, #May 17 and #IDAHOTB were trending on Sunday.
"Too many LGBTI people continue to live in the shadows, afraid of being ridiculed, discriminated or even attacked. Even though some countries have advanced LGBTI equality, our survey findings show that overall there has been too little real progress, leaving many LGBTI people vulnerable," said Michael O'Flaherty, the head of the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency.
The rights agency has recommended to countries to create a culture of zero tolerance for violence towards the LGBTI community and to help authorities promote respect "in places like schools, offices, and in public spaces" so people do not need to hide.