Didier Reynders: "The fight against homophobia and transphobia remains central for us"

May 17 is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). On that day in 1990, the World Health Organization decided to remove homosexuality from the internationally used list of diseases. This year IDAHOT focuses on Justice and protection for all.

In recent decades, the legal protection of LGBTI+ - all people with different sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions or gender characteristics - has been steadily expanded. In too many places in the world, however, LGBTI+ are still confronted with serious forms of discrimination and even death threats. Relationships between people of the same sex are still punishable in more than 70 countries, and may even lead to the death penalty in a number of countries. This is unacceptable.

Only 63 countries offer some form of anti-discrimination protection, and in some places we observe that previous progress in justice has been followed by regression. That is why thorough attention to legal and policy reforms remains necessary to ensure equal treatment and protection for all LGBTI+ people.

For Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, the fight against discrimination and for equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, remains a priority of Belgium's foreign policy.

Belgium does everything to set a good example. Minister Reynders is therefore happy that our country is still ranked as the second best country in Europe for LGBs and transgender people. This puts our country at the top of the Rainbow Index, an annual ranking of ILGA Europe, the European umbrella organization for LGBTIQs. The index evaluates national legislation and policies on LGBs, transgender and intersex rights.

Discrimination, acts of hatred and violence based on sexual orientation or gender are unfortunately still too common worldwide. Belgium has repeatedly expressed great concern about such serious violations of human rights and will continue to pursue worldwide respect for human rights of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.