June, Pride Month, remains an annual opportunity for us to celebrate our wonderful LGBTQIA+ community around the world. However, there doesn't appear to be much to celebrate in this year's Rainbow Map and Index from ILGA Europe, which highlights the bleak decline of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK.
Published each year since 2009, The Rainbow Map and Index ranks all 49 European nations on their 'legal and policy situation' regarding LGBTQ+ rights. Countries are marked across seven categories: equality and non-discrimination, family, hate crime and hate speech, legal gender recognition, intersex bodily integrity, civil society space, and asylum. Within these categories specific policies, political developments, community incidents, legal cases and cultural movements from each country are examined.
From 2009 until 2015, Britain was consistently ranked among the most queer-friendly places in Europe to live, visit and travel, with a score of 86% in terms of LGBTQ+ rights, protections and freedoms in 2015.
Regrettably, since 2016 onwards, our country has continued to decline at a concerning and rapid pace, with this year's score at just 53.37%, dropping a shocking 32.63% in 7 years.
The UK ranked 14th in the 2022 report, while this year the drop has continued to the 17th place, with this year's report highlighting serious damage to LGBTQ+ people in the UK. From excluding trans, non-binary and gender-diverse people from the promised outlawing of 'conversion therapy', to the continued confrontational and targeted anti-trans reporting from mainstream news outlets, ILGA spotlighted multiple highly concerning developments within their detailed report.
A further area of concern is the drastic increase in hate crime rates in England and Wales, with homophobic hate crimes increasing by 41 per cent, and transphobic crimes increasing by 56 per cent.
Our Digital Communications Officer, Adam Tipping said:
"It is both disappointing and concerning to see that the UK has continued to drop down the rankings in ILGA Europe's annual Rainbow Map and Index. Pride Month is supposed to be a time where we can bask in celebration of all things LGBTQIA+, and revel in queer joy and spaces. Heartbreakingly, we are living in a climate and reality that refuses to provide queer folks with protection of the rights that they have not only campaigned and fought tirelessly for over generations, but unquestionably deserve.
"Now is the time to stand in solidarity with vulnerable and minoritised communities. Now is the time to firmly and proudly stand up for queer rights. Now is the time to use your platform and voice to support LGBTQIA people not only in the UK, but around the world for those who can't. Now is the time to provide underrepresented queer people a platform to showcase their skills, talents, and experiences, and to be compensated for doing so.
"This Pride Month, instead of accepting 17th place, we need to question and challenge how our country has declined from being a trailblazer of progress, to regressing back into the shadows of the closet."