Three out of five gay or lesbian people in Europe avoid holding hands in public with their partners while two out of five have suffered harassment in the previous 12 months, according to a survey of 140,000 LGBTI people across Europe.
The survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, the largest of its kind ever done, reveals little progress in the perception of discrimination since the agency’s previous survey conducted in 2012 and published the following year.
One-fifth of respondents overall said they feel discriminated against at work. For trans people, the situation appears to have deteriorated: Thirty-six percent said they have experienced discrimination at work, compared with 22 percent in 2012.
The survey — which was conducted in the EU27, plus the U.K., North Macedonia and Serbia — also reveals striking differences between countries. In Ireland, Malta and Finland, more than 70 percent of respondents said society has become more tolerant in the past five years. However in Poland and France, most respondents said that intolerance has increased overall (68 percent and 54 percent, respectively). In Poland, 51 percent said they always or often avoid certain places for fear of being “assaulted, threatened or harassed.” The equivalent number in France is 40 percent.
Twenty percent of the trans and intersex people who responded to the survey said they were physically or sexually attacked, double that of the other groups of respondents. Only about 30 percent of each of these groups think intolerance has decreased over the past five years. Gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women are more likely to perceive an improvement in the overall societal climate.
The survey did reveal some progress. The share of adult respondents who are open about their sexual orientation and gender identity increased from 36 percent in 2012 to 52 percent — and a higher share of youth at school feel safe to be what they are.