Two thirds of LGBTIQ+ people faced humiliation, ridicule or threats at school

Two out of three LGBTIQ+ people in Belgium say they have been humiliated, threatened or ridiculed at school because of their gender or sexual orientation, according to a new report by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) published on Tuesday.

The FRA surveyed more than 100,000 LGBTIQ+ people across Europe in 2023. The report describes the experiences, perceptions and challenges they face. The FRA sees slow but gradual progress, with discrimination remaining high but gradually decreasing.

Violence and harassment

In 2023, 36 per cent of Europe's LGBTIQ+ community experienced discrimination in their daily lives because of their identity, a slight decrease from 42 per cent in 2019. Belgium saw a similar decrease, from 39 per cent in 2019 to 30 per cent in 2023. However, the FRA notes that most discrimination remains invisible, with only one in 10 people reporting incidents.

The number of LGBTIQ+ people who have experienced violence and/or hate-motivated harassment has increased. Fifteen per cent of Belgian respondents said they had been attacked in the five years prior to the survey, higher than the 13 per cent across the EU. In the last 12 months, 6 per cent of LGBTIQ+ Belgians were attacked and 53 per cent were harassed.

In addition, 67 per cent of Belgian respondents said they had been victims of bullying, teasing, insults or threats during their time at school, compared to 50 per cent in 2019. Across Europe, this figure rose from 46 to 67 per cent over the same period.

'Shocking' figures

Belgium's secretary of state for Equal Opportunities, Marie-Colline Leroy, called the study's figures "shocking". She said they show that "a lot of work is still needed to guarantee equal rights, freedoms and a worry-free life for LGBTIQ+ people in our country".

The FRA report will be officially launched on Friday, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union is organising a Pride Alliances and Policy event on the same day, with the intention of signing a European LGBTIQ+ declaration.



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