Words become stronger when followed by actions
The EU has been declared an LGBTQI Freedom Zone, but we need more than sentiments. For LGBTQI+ youth to be truly free, we need action.
On September 16th 2020, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the European Union is “a Union where you can be who you are and love who you want – without fear of recrimination or discrimination…Because being yourself is not your ideology,” she said. “It’s your identity. And no one can ever take it away.”
That statement was followed by the adoption of the first ever EU strategy on LGBTQI equality.
We acknowledge that these are key steps to move toward more inclusive and open societies. But we need to move further. We need to turn words into action. We need actions that adequately address the issues faced by the LGBTQI+ community today. All of which have become more acute during the pandemic.
As we look ahead to Pride Month, a time of celebration, solidarity and overcoming oppression, we call on International and European Institutions, Member States and all relevant authorities to take meaningful action to actively address the risks, fears and threats as experienced by the members of the LGBTQI+ community:
- Put forward specific anti-discrimination laws tackling all forms of discrimination, hate speech and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics,
- Foster safe and inclusive educational environments for both LGBTQI+ students and educators,
- Reinforce safe and open access to health care services,
- Foster economic security and financial stability of LGBTQI+ people, by fighting against discriminatory practices and perceptions within and beyond the labour market,
- Put an end to discriminatory and violent practices within their migration, criminal legal and law enforcement systems,
- Fight against harmful practices like "reparative" or "conversion" therapy therapies, while investing in adequate social and mental health services,
- Recognise and protect the rights of LGBTQI+ couples, parents and their families,
- Ensure that LGBTQI+ rights are upheld both in domestic and foreign policy.
These are just a few of the vital steps that must be taken, to fully claim LGBTIQ+ rights - bringing again the rights approach. People need to come together - international community, governments and civil society - and join forces against physical and/or psycological violence and all forms of hate and discrimination. A plan is important, but what we need is action!
Act for all those who have lost their lives or had to live in fear. For those who marched for equal rights, the right to love and be free. For future generations’ right to a better life, to be able to fully enjoy their rights regardless their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics or who is their partner.