Malta has received a glowing report for LGBT+ rights, clutching onto its place at number one for the sixth consecutive year. However, as international LGBT+ federation ILGA wrote in their annual review, there are some worrying and mounting dark spots.
An online survey by the Malta Gay Rights Movement found that over half of LGBT+ people felt unsafe in Paceville, with reports of being barred entry into clubs and harassment. In fact, 19% said they faced aggression from club bouncers.
Despite this worrying figure, a survey by the EU’s fundamental rights agency found that LGBT+ people in Malta had the lowest reported rate of threats and violence in the bloc. In the first half of 2020, just two cases of harassment were reported.
But this hardly paints an accurate picture, when the same survey found that just 13% of victims of physical and sexual assault reported to the police.
Staff at domestic violence shelters were also found to be unprepared to accommodate victims who live in same-sex relationships. It recommended that more male staff are hired to the Domestic Violence Unit. One man has been hired so far.
The report also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a grave impact on the community, with local groups reporting an increase in messages from people who felt unsafe at home during lockdown and some others unable to pay rent.
Despite these concerning developments, Malta still ranks the best for LGBT+ people out of 49 European countries, with an overall score of 89%, ahead of Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway and France.
Each country is given a score based on six categories: equality and discrimination, asylum, civil society space, hate crimes and hate speech, legal gender recognition and family rights. Malta scored high in every category except asylum rights, which remains poorly at 33%.
You can read the full report here.
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