Everybody in the European Union should feel safe and free to be themselves. We need equality for all and equality in all of its senses.
Being the global force for good that has the respect for human rights and dignity among its founding values and ‘United in diversity’ as its most recognisable slogan, the EU must be an example of what equality means in everyday life. This is expected from all Member States – the current and the future ones.
The fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons’ rights stemmed from the centuries-long history of social oppression and individual suffering.
The EU has gone a long way in making this fight institutional. But, there is still work ahead. We continue to work on it, expecting our future members to follow suit.
Almost a year ago, North Macedonia organised successfully its first ever Pride Parade. There are preparations to regulate gender recognition procedures. Civil society and police started to cooperate on the issue of procedures regarding LGBTI persons.
Still, hate speech and societal prejudices towards LGBTI persons are present, especially on social networks. Perpetrators of the attacks on the LGBTI centre in Skopje of several years ago have still not been identified and brought to justice. There are reports of transgender persons being subject to negative attitude by medical staff and not having full access to healthcare. And this must not be the case.
Legal protection against discrimination of LGBTI persons is crucial in any democratic society. Hence the need for effective anti-discrimination legislation where sexual orientation and gender identity make, among the others, legal bases for protection.
In the current Covid-19 circumstances that bring to the forefront solidarity, let’s make sure not only that all people have equal access to healthcare. Let’s make sure that all people can be themselves. And feel accepted for that.