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International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia - 349/2024

May 17, 2024

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is observed on the 17th May. This date was chosen as on this day in 1990 the World Health Organisation took the decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The 17th May offers a chance to raise awareness on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) rights violations that occur worldwide. These violations encompass a range of different negative attitudes and feelings toward people who are identified or even perceived as being LGBT. These negative attitudes can include fear, aversion, hatred, violence, anger, or discomfort felt or expressed towards people who do not conform to social gender expectations.

In many countries around the world people are still being persecuted for not being heterosexual. Gibraltar is fortunate to have a legal framework that protects the rights of the LGBT community. This Government has enshrined these rights by passing and amending legislation including:

• The Crimes Act 2011, which criminalises both hatred and harassment on the ground of sexual orientation.

• The Civil Partnership Act 2014, which allows couples to enter into a civil partnership and allows people of the same sex (or opposite sexes) to formally register their relationships.

• The Equal Opportunities Act 2006 (Amendment) Regulations in September 2015. One of the main changes in this legislation was to extend the protected strands under the Equal Opportunities Act to transgender individuals.

• In 2016 the Civil Marriage Act was amended to allow for civil marriage between couples of the same sex.

It is worth reflecting that same sex marriage or same sex civil partnerships are still not permitted in many countries around the world and even in some countries in Europe.

The Minister for Equality, the Hon. Christian Santos, MP GMD, said: “It is important to remind the public that a lot of people are still at the receiving end of negative attitudes from others as a consequence to their sexual preference or identity. This is not acceptable and people should not have to tolerate this type of behaviour. Whilst it is reassuring to see that attitudes towards sexual preference and gender association are more positive and embracing than in the past, it is still important that we call out homophobia, transphobia and biphobia when we encounter it, if we are ever going to eradicate these negative attitudes altogether. This Government is also certainly doing its part to enable a more inclusive society by amending our laws where necessary.”

Anybody who feels that they have received any type of homophobic, transphobic or biphobic abuse should contact the Royal Gibraltar Police on telephone number 20072500 or call 999 in an emergency.