Without smart policies to foster equality and promote mutual understanding and respect in Europe, parallel societies emerge: people living alongside one another, rather than living together. Supporting its member States to build truly inclusive societies is the goal of the Council of Europe, said Director General for Democracy Snežana Samardžić-Marković in her opening address at the IDAHO Forum 2016 that opened in Copenhagen today.
LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people’s access to their human rights is frequently hindered by discriminatory treatment, stereotyping and intolerant attitudes.
In order to tackle these problems and build a genuinely inclusive society, European states must put more effort into fighting multiple discrimination, educating young people, combating hate speech and hate crime. Building inclusive societies should be a shared endeavour including all levels of government, civil society, religious institutions, media, arts and sports organisations, and the private sector.
Besides, governments should not shy away from addressing politically sensitive issues of access to family rights for LGBTI people, heavily medicalised legal gender recognition processes, the treatment of intersex children, and, the treatment of LGBTI prisoners or asylum seekers.