Attitudes Towards LGBT People and Their Rights in Europe.
Attitudes towards LGBT people have changed in Europe over the past 30 years; there is generally much more tolerance and acceptance. Evidence drawn from surveys and research projects including the ESS, EVS, and Pew Research Centre illustrate the types of attitudes that have changed, and in which European countries change has occurred. A comparison of attitudes and tolerance across Europe indicates that some countries and groups of countries are more accepting of LGBT people. North Western European Nations appear high in the rankings of trend surveys, whilst more Easterly European Nations have not always followed this trend and in cases such as Russia and Chechnya, ‘propaganda laws’ have denied LGBT people basic human rights. Hostility towards and violence against LGBT people is perpetrated with seeming impunity. Factors that influence attitudes toward LGBT people and the rights are examined including Democracy and Economic Development, Religiosity, Global Forces, and Contact Theories (Adamczyk 2017, Pew Research Center 2013, Kuyper et al 2013, Takacs and Szalma 2011). There is a clear link between legislation and attitudes; in countries where legislation is in place and for example where same-sex marriage is legal, surveys overwhelmingly show a higher acceptance of LGBT people. Legislation is a powerful influence in shaping social attitudes, it is important therefore to consider the legislation adopted by various European countries. Institutions such as the EU are effective in providing protections for LGBT citizens as well as leading on areas such as the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). There has been ‘pushback’ in terms of change and one of the more contested areas is same-sex marriage. Whilst the trend seemed to be a trajectory to introduce same-sex marriage, a number of countries, largely in Eastern Europe have introduced constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, defining marriage as solely between a man and woman. The position of trans and non-binary people is particularly perilous since there is very little legislative protection in place for them. There has been a positive change in attitudes and legislation across Europe which has enhanced the lived lives of LGBT people, these changes however have not been even or uniform across Europe.
Citation : Wilson, K.(2020) Attitudes Toward LGBT People and Their Rights in Europe. In: Oxford Encyclopedia of LGBT Politics and Policy. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.ORE_POL-01335.R1
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes