European Union Hub

Conchita Wurst Soars to New Heights in Eurovision 2015 Opening Performance: WATCH


Eurovision 2014 winner and gender-bending singer Conchita Wurst opened this year's Eurovision Grand Final with a soaring performance. The Austrian favorite ascended above the audience on wires before gracefully descending onto the main stage while singing the opening song "Building Bridges."

You can watch the stellar opening, AFTER THE JUMP

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(Bottom photo via Twitter)

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Number Of Countries Criminalizing Homosexuality Has Fallen From 92 to 76 Since 2006: REPORT

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A report issued yesterday by ILGA shows that the number of countries banning gay sex has fallen from 92 to 76 since 2006.

ILGADetailed findings in the report include:

  • There are 117 UN member countries where same sex sexual acts between adults in private are legal.

  • Among the 76 countries where gay sex is illegal, Chad introduced a new Penal Code last year punishing anyone who has sex with persons of the same sex.

  • Eight States officially legislate for the death penalty, but only five (Mauritania, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) actually implement it.

  • Four states - Algeria, Lithuania, Nigeria and Russia - have implemented ‘propaganda of homosexuality laws.’

  • Discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation is now prohibited in 63 countries, including Chile, Samoa, Namibia and city of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

  • Seven countries have a constitutional prohibition to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  • Hate crimes based on sexual orientation are considered an aggravating circumstance in 34 countries.

  • Incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation is prohibited in 31 countries.

  • Marriage equality is legislated for in 18 countries.

  • Joint adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 19 countries including Luxembourg, Malta, Austria and Ireland.

Report authors Aengus Carroll and Lucas Paoli Itaborahy said:

“While in 2006 – said the Authors – 92 countries criminalized same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults, we now see this number falling down to 76 countries in 2015. However, the situation is still unacceptable: more than one-third of the world’s States consider same-sex sexual activity illegal. On the other hand, although 2013 saw an alarming rise in the number of States considering a new wave of criminalization through ‘homosexual propaganda’ laws, in fact only a small number actually implemented them.”

Read the full report and see the 2015 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Map of World Laws, AFTER THE JUMP...

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European Human Rights Court Rules in Favor of Georgian Gay Rights Activists


Georgian gay rights activists won a small victory after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on May 12 that Georgian authorities must compensate gay-rights activists after they failed to protect them from assaults at a gay-pride event in May 2012 reports

The 2012 incident involved activists attempting to host the nation's first gay pride march in Tbilisi to celebrate the U.N.'s International Day Against Homophobia. However, orthodox clerics and activists attempted to block the peaceful LGBT activists; many of the LGBT activists suffered physical and verbal assaults at the hands of the orthodox activists. 

LGBT Tbilisi-based group Identoba and dozens of other activists are expect to receive between 1,500 and 4,000 euros ($1,675-$4,465) in compensation from the government. The ECHR also ruled that a violation of Article 3 occurred that prohibits individuals from enduring inhuman or degrading treatment in conjunction with a violation of Article 14 that bans outright discrimination.

Since 2012's event Georgian LGBT activists have experienced escalating violence at demonstrations and rallies from Georgian Orthodox Church clerics and proponents.

EU Court Rules In Favor Of Easing Gay And Bisexual Blood Donation Restrictions

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An EU court of justice ruled in favor of easing restrictions that keep gay and bisexual men from donating blood reports The court reviewed the case of a French gay man who protested the ban on his blood in 2009 and came to the conclusion that a French blood ban introduced in 1983 during the HIV/AIDS crisis potentially violates EU's principle of "non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." However, the court also ruled that a ban against "high risk" men may be justified depending on the situation:

"It must be established whether those persons are at a high risk of acquiring severe infectious diseases, such as HIV, and that there are no effective detection techniques or less onerous methods for ensuring a high level of health protection for recipients."

The EU court noted that if new testing methods can guarantee donated blood is free of infectious disease, then a ban may no longer be necessary. The French government reviewed a proposal to end the ban in April with many LGBT activists saying the blood ban stigmatizes the homosexual community. 

Britain ceased its ban in 2011 and the U.S. followed suit late last year but with the stipulation that men donating blood remain abstinent for a full year. LGBT activists have called the stipulation unrealistic and garnered the attention of U.S. politicians who are urging the Federal Drug Administration to develop concrete policies based on reputable science.

Horrific Video Portrays Legal Nightmare For Transgender People In Europe: WATCH


Transgender Europe has launched a new video showing the nightmare that transgender people still face in Europe today.

34 European countries force transgender people to undergo sterilization, divorce or diagnosis of mental illness before they can change their name or gender.

Available with subtitles in 24 languages, watch the disturbing video AFTER THE JUMP...

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Macedonian Parliament Votes To Ban Same-Sex Marriage And Civil Unions


The European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights is reporting that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has voted to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.

Politicians began the process in July of last year when they agreed to consider constitutional amendments put forward by the conservative government.

The country’s parliament voted by 72-4 yesterday to legally define marriage as between one man and one woman. The move will also make future legislation for civil unions extremely difficult.

An earlier version of the amendment explicitly banning same-sex civil unions and registered cohabitations was criticized by a Council of Europe advisory body.

However, Tanja Fajon MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, said that “instead of taking the [criticism] seriously, and guaranteeing equal rights for all couples, the government, supported by parliament, decided to create a constitutional obstacle to even create possible legislation on this issue in the future."

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the Intergroup, added:

“LGBTI people in Macedonia face severe stigma and are all too often faced with hate crime, to which authorities fail to react.

“The Macedonian government should realise diversity is the source of prosperity and social stability, not an obstacle for it. Inversely, homophobia has never created a single job or indeed solved any other problem. Macedonia would be better served by following the trend of an increasing number of countries in Europe and the Americas where same-sex couples are legally recognised and protected.”

The amendment still needs final confirmation through an additional parliamentary vote and presidential approval.


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