Norway and the UK came second and third in the annual ILGA-Europe Rainbow Index.
To coincide with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association for Europe has unveiled its Rainbow Index.
The ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Index tracks the progress European countries have made for LGBTI rights during the past year.
For the second year running, Malta has taken the top spot. The country has made several landmark advances for LGBTI rights over the past year, including introducing the Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Act, which bans gay conversion therapy and makes sure that no sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is treated as an illness or disease. Guidelines for handling trans, gender variant and intersex inmates have also been given to correctional services.
Norway, a country which has recently introduced legal gender recognition laws based on self-determination, ranked second in the list. The UK took third place.
The three countries which performed the lowest in the ranking were Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan.
While celebrating the progress that has been made, the ILGA-Europe has warned that European leaders need to act now or risk a rollback on LGBTI equality.
ILGA-Europe Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis told us:
“Rollback can start to happen overnight – and politicians across Europe need to wake up to that fact, fast. Some risks are immediately obvious and painful, such as the gross human rights violations in Chechnya – not only for the fear that such actions perpetrate in the local LGBTI community, but also the message of intolerance that this sends to the wider region.
“From the growing use of the refugee debate to shamefully fuel xenophobia, and so-called ‘populist’ parties directly appealing to the LGBTI community by vilifying other communities (and, incidentally not supporting LGBTI policies in practice), to increased security measures in the name of anti-terrorism, and the silencing of independent media or universities, we can see the worrying potential this all has to undermine the work of LGBTI activists.”
You can see the whole review here.