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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 13, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 20
Scotland most Gay-friendly country in Europe, ILGA says
Azerbaijan is the worst
Section One
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Scotland most Gay-friendly country in Europe, ILGA says
Azerbaijan is the worst

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Scotland is the most Gay-friendly country in Europe, according to the newly-released Rainbow Index. The measurement is based on criteria set by ILGA-Europe.

The ILGA, or International LGBTI Association, is a federation of 1,200 LGBT organizations from 125 countries. In its latest Rainbow Index study, the group found that Scotland met 90% of its criteria for an LGBTI-affirming country. The United Kingdom as a whole only rated 81% because of Northern Ireland's repeated refusals to pass same-sex marriage.

The island nation of Malta came second to Scotland, scoring 88%, with Belgium third at 82%.

The low score went to Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic in the Caucasus Mountains, which met only 5% of ILGA's criteria.

Scotland was found to have somewhat better law and policy on intersex equality than the rest of the UK, and same-sex couples there are allowed to adopt children and stepchildren.

Following last week's election, the Scottish Parliament now has the highest level of openly LGB members in the world, at 7.8%.

Ten of the 129 member of Scotland's parliament are openly LGB, compared to the second highest country, the Netherlands, with 7.3% of its parliament members being openly LGB.

Two of the leading Scottish party leaders, Conservative Ruth Davidson and Labor's Kezia Dugdale, are openly Lesbian while the Green Party's Patrick Harvie is Bisexual.

The Scottish National Party, the majority party in the Scottish parliament, is led by a straight woman, Nicola Sturgeon, but it sponsored the marriage equality bill that passed in 2014.

Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network, called on all political parties to safeguard the rights of minority groups.

'All the parties elected to the new Scottish Parliament session had manifesto commitments to review and reform Scotland's laws on transgender people,' he said.

'The SNP, Labor, Greens and LibDems - that's 98 of the Parliament's 129 MSPs - were elected on more specific manifesto commitments that would bring our trans laws up to international best practice.

'If the Scottish Government and Parliament deliver on those commitments, and also make progress on intersex equality, Scotland will retain its place amongst the standard bearers for LGBTI equality.'

In a statement, ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis emphasized the need for concrete action plans on LGBT rights.

'The countries who are on this upward curve tend to be the ones who have protected people from discrimination on grounds of gender identity, or legislated to protect the bodily integrity of intersex people and who have ingrained this change in everyday measures such as equality action plans,' she said.

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