Rainbow Index

Luxembourg among most LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe

Luxembourg ranks fifth in the 2022 Rainbow Europe index but is losing ground as countries introduce more progressive laws Photo: Shutterstock

Luxembourg ranks fifth in the 2022 Rainbow Europe index but is losing ground as countries introduce more progressive laws Photo: Shutterstock

Luxembourg ranks fifth in the latest edition of the Rainbow Europe index and although it remains one of the most progressive countries on LGBTQ+ rights it is being overtaken by other nations.

The Rainbow Europe index assesses 49 countries in Europe, including all 27 EU members, in seven different areas, including equality and non-discrimination, family, hate crime and hate speech, legal gender recognition, intersex bodily integrity, civil society space, and asylum.

The grand duchy scored 68.03%, with 100% representing full equality and respect of human rights.

Malta (92.02%) topped the list, followed by Denmark (73.78%), Belgium (71.51%) and Norway (68.30%) also in the top five. Belarus (12.06%), Russia (8.45%), Armenia (7.5%), Turkey (4%) and Azerbaijan (2.41%) closed the ranking, with a 0% score representing gross violations of human rights and discrimination.

Luxembourg lost marks, for example, for not having introduced a ban on conversion therapy. Prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP), who is gay, has previously said that such a ban isn’t necessary as conversion therapy isn’t practiced in Luxembourg. The PM in 2019 reportedly skipped a dinner with Israel’s ambassador to Belgium in Luxembourg after the country’s education minister in remarks had endorsed the practice.

The grand duchy also lacks effective laws and policies to combat anti-intersex hate crime, the Rainbow Europe index said. Luxembourg also does not currently recognise non-binary gender identities, another point of criticism, although it does allow people to legally change their gender on the basis of self-determination.

LGBTQ+ rights group Rosa Lëtzebuerg had previously criticised a formulation in the reform of the grand duchy’s constitution, which states that “women and men are equal in rights and duties”, saying this would cement a binary model.

Already in a 2020 report, the OECD had criticised that Luxembourg does not automatically recognise as a legal parent the same-sex partner of a woman who gives birth through medically assisted insemination or in vitro fertilisation. This also lost Luxembourg marks in the Rainbow Europe index.

As Luxembourg has failed to make significant progress on these gaps in its legislation it has dropped from third to fifth place in the Rainbow Europe index.

“With no legal changes in favour of LGBTIQ+ people in Luxembourg already in 2020, this trend continued in 2021,” said LGBTQ+ rights group Rosa Lëtzebuerg in a statement. “Long overdue projects such as the bill to ban medical interventions on children without their informed consent, which the government still wanted to get through parliament by the end of 2021, continue to be a long time coming.”

Parenthood recognition and a gay conversion therapy ban would be “relatively easy to implement,” the group said and would improve Luxembourg’s score.

“The Rainbow Index indicates how much a government cares about the rights of LGBTIQ+ people. This has a direct impact on the reality of life for queer people in Luxembourg,” it said. “Furthermore, the positioning also has an influence on the external perception of Luxembourg. Rosa Lëtzebuerg would therefore like to call on the government to become aware of Luxembourg’s role as a pioneer in human rights and to address the outstanding demands.”