News & Politics

The EU Gets It Right: Promoting, Protecting LGBTI People

While the LGBT and ally community in the US has been holding their breath and scanning the SCOTUS blog for updates on when marriage equality rulings will come down (tomorrow, it seems), the European Union decided to do something. As of yesterday, all EU diplomats around the globe have been directed to defend the human rights of LGBT people. This is huge, wonderful news (and it is covered here).  The guidelines are now mandatory for all EU diplomats and revolve around four basic principals: 800px-European_Gay_Flag

  1. Eliminate discriminatory laws and policies, including the death penalty
  2. Promote equality and non-discrimination at work, in healthcare and in education
  3. Combat state or individual violence against LGBTI persons
  4. Support and protect human rights defenders

In the preamble, the EU states:

The EU is gravely concerned that sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be used to justify serious human rights violations around the world. LGBTI persons constitute a vulnerable group, who continue to be victims of persecution, discrimination, bullying and gross ill-treatment, often involving extreme forms of violence, including torture and murder. Discrimination against LGBTI persons is often rooted in societal norms and perceived roles that perpetuate gender inequalities. The EU is particularly concerned that in some countries, sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are criminalised and are liable to be punished with imprisonment or with the death penalty. In other countries governments actively seek to limit freedom of assembly, association and expression of LGBTI persons.

I live overseas, and could easily end up in one of the aforementioned countries, where being queer is life-threatening. And I currently live in a place where violence toward LGBT people is all too common.  So I applaud the EU for setting up these norms.  Even more, I love that they are routinely funding the grassroots organizations which begin to make life for LGBT families more livable, more open, and more safe.  In fact, the guidelines have an entire section on promoting LGBTI Civil Society groups!  I wish more nations would take this is rallying cry and follow the EU’s lead.

Still, it pains me that this is the world we live in; the world I am raising my daughter in.  I hate that this needs to be laid out as binding guidelines.  I am sick over the fact that the US still hasn’t legalized same-sex marriage.  I cry at the knowledge that kids coming out still fear the reactions of their families and communities.  I hate that this struggle goes on.  I am so over it.

Yes, it does get better.  Yes, our families are gaining visibility daily.  Yes, some of the older in the group may point out that they are amazed we are where we are today.  Yes, leaps and bounds and all that.  Still, I want what the EU outlines to be so basic that it never has to be said.

 

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