‘Gay-friendly’ is a term that’s been thrown around multiple times over the past years when describing Malta, with multiple legislation ensuring more (and improved) rights to the LGBTIQ community. Now, the tiny Mediterranean island has another impressive statistic to add to its reputation, and it comes straight from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
Malta has yet again placed first in the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Europe LGBTIQ Index, scoring more than 91%.
What’s even better than that impressive score, of course, is that this is actually the third consecutive year that Malta has come first in all the 49 countries assessed.
The Rainbow Europe Index, which ranks countries’ achieved LGBTI human rights, actually breaks down the final result in six different categories, helping users better understand where Malta did so excellently… and where work still needs to be done.
As far as the Civil Society Space, Legal Gender Recognition & Bodily Integrity and Hate Crime & Hate Speech categories go, Malta scored an impressive 100% across the board. When it came to the Equality & Non-Discrimination and Family categories , similarly positive results of 90% and 89% respectively were registered.
However, the Asylum category is where Malta still needs to improve, registering a measly 33%. This was down to the country satisfying only two of the six criteria necessary to achieve full marks. These criteria include laws, policy and other positive measures done with the intersex community in mind.
As far as improvements of the index go, in fact, ILGA-Europe did note that much more progress needs to be done across the continent. The lowest scoring countries in the European Union (Latvia, Poland and Lithuania) all registered very low percentages (16%, 18% and 21%) and only 16 of the 49 countries assessed scored above 50%.
Even for a country with such a good record, 91.04% is still a very high score. Next on the list came Belgium, with a considerably lower 78.76%. This jump was definitely aided by substantial positive steps which were taken over the past year, such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage back in July 2017.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat kicked off the week by tweeting out the positive news, saying he was proud that Malta managed to consolidate its top spot.
Earlier today, Dr. Muscat took the time to celebrate IDAHOBIT – the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia – by tweeting out “In Malta, every day is IDAHOT.”
The tweet still managed to attract some criticism from people who pointed out that the situation is not as great as the statistics might suggest, but as far as actual legislation goes, it’s comforting to see that our tiny Mediterranean island is actually leading the way for other European countries to follow.