UK is 'best place in Europe' to be gay

Britain's recognition of same-sex rights has earned it top place in a continent-wide league table

Britain is now the European capital of gay rights. Just days before International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the UK has emerged as the best country in the continent for gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people to exercise their legal rights, according to the first study of its kind, to be published on Tuesday.

Britain's recognition of civil partnerships and its anti-discrimination laws have propelled it to the top of the European International Lesbian and Gay Association Europe (ILGA-Europe) index, which rates 49 countries on more than 40 categories.

Scotland played a "leading role" in the UK's success, said an ILGA-Europe spokesperson, who pointed out that hate crimes "aggravated" by gender identity are explicitly recognised by Scottish law. "The UK is among the countries where LGBTI people feel much safer and more secure," he said, adding that social and cultural attitudes were not considered in the report.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary and equalities minister, said she was "delighted" to see Britain "leading the way" and "breaking new ground". She added that the coalition's consultation on same-sex marriage, its sports charter and "the world's first transgender action plan" were part of the same project.

She added: "We must not be complacent and will continue to work to make Britain a great place to live for everyone."

Russia and Moldova are at the bottom of the rankings, along with Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and, perhaps more surprisingly, Macedonia. Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino also came near the foot of the index.

ILGA-Europe noted that last year saw "great progress" in European and international legislation, particularly in the fields of asylum and protection from violence. It also observed, however, that St Petersburg became the latest Russian city to introduce regional laws criminalising the "propaganda of homosexuality".

Stonewall's head of policy, Sam Dick, hailed Britain as a "beacon of equality to 400 million gay people around the world", but he added: "We must not underestimate how much work there is yet to do – not least in securing marriage equality and tackling the endemic levels of homophobic bullying in schools."

'Homophobia remains endemic in our schools; kids are still hiding'

Clare Dimyon, 47, an activist and teacher from Brighton, was appointed MBE in 2010 for promoting the rights of LGBT people in Central and Eastern Europe. Two years previously she had persuaded British embassies throughout Europe to raise the rainbow flag for the first time. She is on her way to Ukraine for the first ever Kiev Pride.

"It's really nice to see Britain at the top and especially to recognise all the fantastic work the British government has done in Central and Eastern Europe. The Foreign Office has taken this issue to heart – in contrast to the Department for Education. Homophobia remains endemic in British schools; kids and teachers are still hiding.

"There is great legal provision, but the weakness is that league tables are about legality and it's also about what's in people's hearts and minds. Once they recognise that a lesbian is a human being, they never go backwards."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game