New Rainbow Europe map a wake-up call for anyone who cares about LGBTI equality

ILGA-Europe's 2018 results reveals many countries are stagnating, including those traditionally perceived as equality frontrunners




The new Rainbow Europe package, launched by ILGA-Europe, provides real evidence that progress on LGBTI equality law and policy is slowing down across the continent - including in the UK.



ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool, which ranks 49 countries in Europe on their LGBTI equality laws and policies, reveals a region where advances are not being made at the rate they once were.


This lack of sustained progress on LGBTI equality issues should set off alarm bells for policymakers and advocates alike. 


UK breakdown - England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland

The score for the United Kingdom overall comes in at 73%, with Scotland on 82%, England and Wales on 77%, and Northern Ireland on 66% if they were all scored separately, meaning Scotland continues to lead on LGBTI equality across the UK.​


"For several years, the UK appeared at the very top of the Rainbow Europe country ranking – not any more," said ​Evelyne Paradis​, ILGA-Europe’s executive director.


"The UK hasn’t developed its law and policy on LGBTI equality since our last Rainbow Europe launch in 2017 – a complacency that is symptomatic of the stagnation we are seeing on human rights issues in many countries across the region.


"Being a historic front-runner on equality is not enough. This year’s Rainbow Europe Map is a reminder for governments – including the UK - that the journey for LGBTI equality requires sustained political leadership and action. And this responsibility applies both before and after Brexit!


"In particular, the LGBTI community in Northern Ireland continue to be denied the same legal protections as LGBTI people living in other parts of the UK.


"LGBTI NGOs like ILGA-Europe’s members have clear ideas on how to fill these legal gaps; now it’s time for those in power to deliver and lead by example."



Unveiled in Lisbon earlier this week at an intergovernmental forum in front of high-level government officials, the Rainbow Europe Map is a stark reminder for national governments and European institutions of how easy it is for complacency to set when it comes to enshrining rights firmly in law.


While Malta continues to feature at number one spot, other countries that are typically viewed as progressive are not among the Map’s frontrunners, including the Netherlands who have now dropped outside the Rainbow Europe top 10.


For ILGA-Europe, this stagnation is a worrying picture considering the current political climate of rising levels of populism, nationalism and civil society scapegoating, which have a particularly high negative impact on more vulnerable groups, like LGBTI people.


Now is not the time for complacency, people.


ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. For more, head to



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