Scotland has slipped down the international LGBTI rankings as other countries make faster progress on equality, according to new data released today.

In the annual ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index, the UK overall has slipped from 4th in 2018 to 8th, with countries such as Portugal, Norway and Denmark climbing as they introduce new legislation to protect and enhance equality, especially for trans people.

Scotland, although not marked separately from the UK, would score around 73% in the Index, placing us third, behind Belgium and Malta.

Malta topped the index for the fourth year running, taking the top spot in Europe with their world-leading laws on trans and intersex equality. The Index is produced by studying the laws and policies in 49 countries across the continent.

Reacting to the publication of the 2019 Index, Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network in Scotland, said:

“The UK as a whole has dropped from 3rd place in 2017, to 4th equal last year, to 8th place this year. A big reason for this fall is that Luxembourg, Portugal, Norway and Denmark have improved their gender recognition legislation recently, pushing them up the table. The UK’s mark is also pulled down by the situation in Northern Ireland, which has no equal marriage, no trans hate crime laws, and worse rules on blood donation.”

“Scotland has a higher mark than the UK as a whole, reflection our good progress on equality since devolution. But both the UK and Scotland are likely to drop further in future years until we bring our gender recognition laws up to international best practice, as the Scottish Government have promised to do. This is now urgent. Not only do delays leave trans people vulnerable to the impact of the current campaign against reform, but we are also falling behind more and more countries on this particular issue.”

This is the 10th year the Rainbow Index has been published, offering a glimpse into the issues that really matter to LGBTI people across Europe and how countries perform against over 60 different criteria.

Micah Grzywnowicz, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board commented:

“For years we have said that marriage equality was an important signifier of equality, but not the be-all and end-all for LGBTI people. What is also crucial for our communities are effective laws to recognise the rights of trans people to self-determination, robust protection against LGBTI-phobic violence and speech, equal access to reproductive rights, and prohibiting medical intervention on intersex children. Our revised index makes this fact clearer now. The countries that are expanding their legislative horizons to embrace this vision of equality for LGBTI people are the ones moving ahead. We are heartened to continue to see examples of governments demonstrating leadership in this direction, as Luxembourg and Finland did in the past year.”

In 2018, the UK Government published the results of the ‘National LGBT Survey’ which led to an additional £1million investment in LGBT services for England. No additional money has been forthcoming from The Scottish Government, who currently invest just under £1million a year into LGBTI work.

You can see the data and trends across the last ten years of the Rainbow Index by visiting their resource page here.

2019 Rainbow Index rankings:



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