Majority of LGBTQ Europeans fear holding their partner’s hand in public

Guillaume Paumier via Flickr

The shocking report came from the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).

A shocking new report from the FRA, titled A long way to go for LGBTI equality, has revealed the levels of anti-LGBTQ discrimination across Europe. The report asked 140,000 LGBTQ people from all EU member states as well as the United Kingdom, North Macedonia and Serbia about their experiences.

Some of the most shocking results found that six in ten LGBTQ Europeans are fearful of holding their partner’s hand in public, two in five had been harassed the year before the survey, and one in five trans or intersex people had been physically or sexually assaulted the year before, this was double the amount for other groups.

The survey also threw up results which showed the differing pictures between different countries. In countries like Ireland and Finland, over 70% of respondents felt that LGBTQ rights had improved, whereas in countries like Poland and France, the majority felt that intolerance was on the increase.

In the United Kingdom, it found that nearly a quarter of people (24%) are almost never open about their LGBTQ identity and that most people (52%) felt that the government wasn’t effectively combating anti-LGBTQ attitudes.

When it came to the hand holding question, most people (62%) said they ‘Often’ or ‘Always’ avoided holding their partner’s hand in case they were harassed. And 43% of LGBTQ people in the UK said they’d been harassed in the past 12 months before the survey.

There were some small pluses for the LGBTQ community in the UK, as the average life satisfaction was 7.5 out of ten, and only nine per cent of people reported feeling discriminated against when looking for work, although that number sadly rose to 20% when asked if they felt discriminated against in the workplace.

In total, 12,265 LGBTQ people in the United Kingdom were asked. Breaking the numbers down to the different parts of the community, 2,453 lesbians, 3,398 gay men, 2,453 bisexual women, 693 bisexual men, 2,607 trans individuals and 121 intersex people were asked.

In a statement, Alison Camps, the co-chair of Pride in London, said: “It is heartbreaking but sadly not at all surprising that LGBT+ communities in the UK are continuing to report high levels of discrimination and harassment in 2020.

“While progress has been made for some parts of the community, these findings clearly show that we still have a long way to go. We must also remember that the great strides in equality that some of us enjoy today are not shared by everyone in our community.

“With Pride parades postponed across the country and around the world, LGBT+ communities need support now more than ever. We’re continuing to call on the government to address the discrimination faced by these marginalised groups, starting by actively reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

“In the meantime we ask everyone to continue to be kind, loving and generous – check in on friends and loved ones, support queer artists and organisations, and keep lifting one another up.

And Helena Dalli, the European Commissioner for Equality, said: “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.

“More worryingly, we have recently witnessed within the EU anti-LGBTI incidents such as attacks on prides, the adoption of ‘LGBTI ideology-free zone’ declarations, fines for LGBTI-friendly advertisements and others. Everybody in the European Union should feel safe and free to be themselves.

Related: Homophobia on the rise in European countries without same-sex marriage

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