Our small country has made transformative changes in its approach to LGBTIQ+ inclusion over the last number of years, both through evolving societal attitudes and in legislation. It has been just eight years since our landmark referendum on marriage equality and the introduction of legal gender recognition for trans people, and over a decade since the first introduction of civil partnerships.
We know that the fight is far from over, however, and discrimination remains an everyday reality for many in the community. We are also aware of the creeping regression of rights in numerous countries worldwide, including in the US. Even at home, we have seen reporting of the rise in hate crime facing the queer community. A particular vitriol has also targeted those in the trans community, so we state here clearly: trans rights are human rights. And there is no LGBTIQ+, without that T.
Legislative work is continuing in Ireland and at the EU level, however, to support our queer community and respond to these developments. Legislation is not a silver bullet of course, and sustained work to promote healthy and inclusive attitudes is crucial.
That is why we, as Irish Greens, are proud members of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, which continues the fight for the rights and safety of LGBTIQ+ individuals in Europe and globally. Fighting for LGBTIQ+ rights through legislation, and being loud and proud on a political level in defending those rights, is core to our work both as MEPs and as humans. This is how we are making sure that LGBTIQ+ people are seen and heard every month of the year, not just during Pride month.
How do we do that?
We apply an LGBTIQ+ lens to our legislative work, because we want to see a future where LGBTQI+ rights are seen as basic human rights, and everyone is treated equally. We have recently called for intersex genital mutilation to be listed as a criminal offence in the upcoming Gender-based Violence Directive. We have ensured the inclusion of non-binary people in EU law for the first time, in the Pay Transparency Directive. We have also called for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and transgender identity globally. The Greens/EFA group is ensuring that intersectional discrimination will always be taken into account when deciding about our rights and freedom.
We also act when we see a regression in LGBTIQ+ rights in some EU countries. In response to recent clampdowns by Giorgia Meloni’s government in Italy on progress for rainbow families, we invited Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala to the European Parliament to speak to MEPs. We support Mayor Sala’s “All Families are Valid” campaign and the city of Milan’s work of transcribing birth certificates created abroad of same sex parents. The legal status of children in rainbow families should be without question, and these families deserve legal certainty like any other EU family. We are working towards EU-wide recognition of those rights in our response to the European Commission’s Equal Recognition of Parenthood proposal.
In Hungary, the Greens/EFA Group has been steadfast in calling out the government’s new bill allowing citizens to anonymously report same sex couples raising children to the authorities. Under this proposed law, these parents can be reprimanded for breaching the ‘constitutionally recognised role of marriage and the family’. We are proud of the leadership our Group’s co-president Terry Reintke MEP has shown on this issue, and we were delighted to recently welcome her to Dublin.
We are also unequivocal in our condemnation of a hate-lead campaign in Poland against the LGBTIQ+ community, which has included the declaration of whole regions as ‘LGBT Free Zones’. In response, the European Parliament declared the entirety of the EU to be a ‘LGBT Freedom Zone’. Recent EU initiatives to pause funding to these regions have also thankfully produced some positive results.
Together, we are working towards the goal of creating a fairer and better society for all, and an improvement in laws and rights for LGBTIQ+ citizens of the world is an essential part of that. Beyond legislation, it is also public conversations and demonstrations of support that can lead to wider societal change too – in Ireland, Europe and globally.
And so that is what we will continue to do.
For this year,
There’s Power in Pride.
Ciarán Cuffe & Grace O’Sullivan