ILGA-Europe: Greece Moves Up Four Places on 2023 Rainbow Map
Greece has achieved a top 15 placement in this year’s Rainbow Map & Index, which ranks 49 European countries based on their LGBTI equality laws and policies, according to the ILGA-Europe, the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
Created by ILGA-Europe, the Rainbow Map is considered an essential tool for examining how safe, free, and equal LGBTI people are in comparison to the rest of the population across Europe.
Throughout the year, the organization collects relevant data sets and verifies them with member organizations and its network of country experts, including LGBTI human rights defenders, researchers, lawyers, and other experts from the 49 countries of Europe.
The data is then used to create country scores, country rankings, and regional averages, using 74 criteria divided into seven categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.
According to ILGA-Europe, the 2023 Rainbow Europe Map finds that trans and intersex rights are at the forefront of positive change for LGBTI people in Europe.
“Despite intense anti-LGBTI attacks in several countries, equality is still advancing across Europe… While the public discourse is becoming more polarised and violent, particularly against trans people, political determination to advance LGBTI rights is paying off,” the organization says.
Greece moves up four places but still needs to advance in equality
With regard to Greece, ILGA-Europe’s 2023 Rainbow Map, showed that the country climbed to the 13th position (with its ban on intersex genital mutilation-IGM), up from 17th in 2022, scoring 57 percent.
The report recognizes that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsokakis continues to support legal reform to advance LGBTQI+ rights, following the adoption of the National Strategy for Equality of LGBTQI+ people (2021-2023) last year. The government also “has been considering introducing marriage equality”, following the 2021 consultation on adopting a more progressive family law.
Other reasons cited for Greece’s rise on the Rainbow Map & Index, include the Greek Health Ministry in January lifting the ban on men who have sex with men to donate blood and that Greece allowing trans people (since the beginning of 2023) to self-declare their gender identity irrespective of whether they have changed their legal gender.
However, the organization’s annual report revealed that Greece’s lowest score (33 percent) is in the family category, as it currently does not offer marriage equality, recognition of trans-parenthood, joint adoption, second-parent adoption, automatic co-parent recognition, and medically assisted insemination for couples.
What more could Greece do
To improve the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Greece, ILGA-Europe’s 2023 Annual Review recommended for the country, among other things, to:
– adopt legal measures to ensure marriage equality,
– reform the legal framework for legal gender recognition to be based on self-determination without the requirement for divorce and including access for non-binary individuals,
– include all SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics) grounds in legislation and policies prohibiting discrimination in education and health, and
– formalize policies and/or other positive measures on asylum that contain express mention of all SOGIESC grounds.
Malta leads in LGBTQ+ rights in Europe
Overall, for the eighth year in a row, Malta continues to occupy the number one spot in the ranking, with a score of 89 percent, followed by Belgium (77 percent), Denmark (75 percent), Spain (74 percent), and Iceland (70 percent).
Poland has the lowest score (15 percent) in the European Union on the Rainbow Map & Index. The country is considered the worst in the EU for LGBTI people due to its legal, political and social environment for such individuals.
The three countries with the lowest scores are Armenia (9 percent), Turkey (4 percent), and Azerbaijan (2 percent), which has remained the same for the last three years. Among them, only Armenia increased an index point after revoking its ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men.
Brussels-based ILGA-Europe is an independent, international non-governmental organization that unites over 600 LGBTI organizations from 54 countries across Europe and Central Asia.