The 2021 Rainbow Europe Map reveals widespread and almost complete stagnation on human rights of LGBTI people.
Among the key findings from this year’s Rainbow Europe are:
- Against a background of hardly any positive change at all, countries such as Albania, Finland and Portugal have moved up in the ranking, but only because of very small changes implemented.
- Despite clear commitments on rainbow family recognition, not one country has moved on partnership or parenthood recognition.
- After reporting positive changes in bodily integrity or legal gender recognition for many years, there is no change this year for intersex and trans rights apart from Iceland.
- On a positive note, some countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia) now have points on freedom of assembly, reflecting improvements of safety for public LGBTI events.
- For the sixth year in a row, Malta continues to occupy the number one spot on the Rainbow Europe Map, while Belgium comes second place for the fourth time, and Luxembourg occupies the third spot on the ranking for the third year in a row.
- The three countries at the bottom end of the Rainbow Europe Map are Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Armenia, exactly the same as last year.
- For the second year in a row, Poland continues to occupy the lowest ranking in the EU.
- Ukraine has gone down four places from 36 to 40, due to the expiration of its government’s action plan, while Georgia has gone down two places, from 30 to 32, due to the lack of clear procedure for legal gender recognition and the risky situation of LGBTI human rights defenders in the country.
- Malta, North Macedonia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina are the three countries with the biggest jump in scores. Malta added sex characteristics under protected grounds in the Refugees Act and published new policy guidelines for LGBTI asylum claims, while in both North Macedonia and Bosnia & Herzegovina freedom of assembly has been improving.
Rainbow Europe – ILGA-Europe’s annual benchmarking tool – comprises the Rainbow Map and Index and national recommendations. ILGA-Europe have produced the Rainbow Map and Index since 2009, using it to illustrate the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in Europe.
The Rainbow Map and Index ranks 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, from 0-100%.
In order to create our country ranking, ILGA-Europe examine the laws and policies in 49 countries using a set of criteria. From May 2021, the number of individual criteria used has risen to 71, divided between six thematic categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum. More information on the list of criteria and their weight on the total score can be found at www.rainbow-europe.org/about
Rainbow Europe 2021 categories and the percentage ‘weight’ assigned to them remain exactly the same as the 2020 version. ILGA-Europe started assessing two new indicators: “Non-binary recognition” and “Legal gender recognition procedures exist for minors”. They are included under the category of legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; and the percentage ‘weight’ has been altered to accommodate these two new criteria.
Alterations to our criteria make year-on-year comparisons difficult, but certain lessons are clear – countries that are expanding their legislative horizons are moving up in the ranking.
Policymakers, researchers and journalists are able to go ‘behind’ the points and see the original information sources that we base our Map and Index ranking on. This additional layer of information is available through our updated Rainbow Europe web module, www.rainbow-europe.org.
The Rainbow Map and Index presents a picture of what the policy landscape is like currently, while our country-specific recommendations attempt to answer the question “what’s next?” These recommendations are intended to encourage policymakers to address the most pressing legal and policy priorities within the framework of our Rainbow Map and Index. The recommendations were gathered following an online consultation with a wide range of LGBTI organisations in the various countries. As a result, the recommendations are tailored to the needs of activists working on the ground.