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Malta's LGBTI+ Rights in Europe

Allied Rainbow Communities is elated that Malta's ranking retains its top ranking in Europe for the 5th consecutive year. Nevertheless, 89% is not 100% and that means there is more work to be done at the legislative level. We have confidence that the current Administration will keep the momentum going until this score is reached. 

Rainbow Europe – ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool – is comprised of the Rainbow Map and Index and national recommendations. ILGA-Europe have produced the Rainbow Map and Index since 2009, using it to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe.

For the fifth year in a row, Malta continues to occupy the number one spot on the Rainbow Europe Map, with a score of 89%. 

Belgium comes second place for the third time with a score of 73%.

Luxembourg receives the same score as Belgium and occupies the third spot on the ranking for the second year in a row. 

The three countries at the other end of the Rainbow Europe scale are Azerbaijan (2%), Turkey (4%), and Armenia (8%). Turkey’s score has been decreasing since 2015, due to restrictions on freedom of assembly and association. Azerbaijan has also lost points over the past two years due to irregularities on legal gender recognition. 

Hungary is the country with the most dramatic drop in its score, losing 8.46% points in relation to the suspended procedures for legal gender recognition and the lack of proper state protection at public events. Poland has also dropped by 1.9% and is now the lowest EU country on the map. 

Watch the online discussion which took place on Facebook on May 14. Brought together key European policy makers and civil society actors, the event focused on the state of play for LGBTI people in Europe, especially in the current global context.

On the same day we have also seen the results of the largest European Wide LGBTI+ Survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency which looks at the experiences of our communities more in-depth than just the legislative aspect.

In 2019, almost 140,000 LGBTI people told us about their lives – in their own words.

For many discrimination, harassment and even violence are part of their daily reality.

It is up to the states, authorities, and all of us to promote full respect for LGBTI people’s rights. No one should be afraid to hold hands! This video tells you more.

From this report, we took note that a vast majority (70%) of LGBTI individuals living in Malta have perceived a decrease in intolerance as well as violence in the past 5 years and 83% of the participants viewed the Government at the forefront of fighting prejudice and intolerance. 

In contrast, however, LGBTI people in Malta seem to engage in Avoidance Behaviours, such as not holding a same-sex partner’s hand in public (25%) or avoiding certain places (53%). This is where we feel a big part of our community still feels ashamed to live their truth because there are still people in our society that do not go beyond tolerance. You would often hear the phrase "you can be whatever you want but just don't show it in my face or in front of my kids" and that is still homophobia/transphobia to a certain degree. As LGBT+ people growing up, we were never given the option to steer away from heterosexual public displays of affection, be it in movies, songs or in real life.  

This is a bird's eye view of the results however we want to look into more detail vis-a-vis the different sexual orientations and gender identities as well as age and other factors. For sure we have seen that older LGBTI+ individuals seem to have a harder time with being accepted than the younger ones. 

There are various events being held by other entities in relation to recognise IDAHOBIT and it is our duty to share the outcomes via our online portal This year, COVID19 brought the various LGBTQ+ organisations to work closer together to support individuals in need. I think that is a huge step forward in making sure that we don't waste resources or duplicate efforts when it comes to supporting our community. 

One also need to keep in mind that Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is not a sentiment felt solely by heterosexual individuals. It is also very much present in the LGBTQ+ community as well which leads to various mental health issues. One may call themselves out & proud but would have issues accepting trans people, bisexuality or even people of the same sexual orientation but with a different gender expression (for example more effeminate). In my experience as Pride Organiser, I've witnessed a lot of LGBTQ+ people being positively impacted because of Pride. Whereas I used to think that an occasion like Pride is important for society out there to witness and change their minds, I've come to the realisation that it is primarily there to give LGBTQ+ individuals that much needed sense of belonging and affirmation amongst themselves, that no other event or party can bring. 

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