No holding hands in Europe

France may have taken a big step forward with parliament’s decision to legalize gay marriage, but according to the results of a European Union survey, discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is still widespread in Europe.images-1

Released Friday, the online survey of more than 93,000 LGBT people in 27 EU members states and Croatia found nearly half the respondents said that in the previous year they had “felt personally discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of sexual orientation.” Two-thirds of those polled also indicated they wereafraid to hold hands with their same-sex partner in public; the percentage was even higher for gay or bisexual men.

“A too great number of LGBT people across Europe are being barred from being themselves. Their ability to enjoy their basic human right of living with dignity, to enjoy life and express themselves freely without discrimination, is being denied,” EU Agency for Fundamental Rights Director Morten Kjaerum said during a speech announcing the findings.

According to the report, the countries with the largest proportion of respondents who felt discrimination based on sexual orientation in the past 12 months included Lithuania (61 percent), Croatia (60 percent), Poland (57 percent) and Cyprus (56 percent).


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