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Malta remains role model in EU for LGBT inclusivity

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Malta has been a top-scorer in some of this year’s results in LGBT rights studies.

The island – often described as ‘gay-friendly’ – has always been seen to strive towards greater inclusivity for all ages, races and genders, through multiple forms of legislation that work towards furthering rights for the LGBT community.

Since Malta passed the Bill for same-sex marriage in 2017, the country has then gone on to make further progress.

Because of this, the island had another inspiring statistic to add to its ever-growing collection, which was released by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association in May.

It found that Malta scored over 91 per cent in the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Europe LGBTIQ Index, which places it at the top spot out of 49 countries, for a third consecutive year.

Malta was rated 100 per cent in categories such as Civil Society Space, Legal Gender Recognition and Bodily Integrity and Hate Crime and Hate Speech.

For the Equality & Non-Discrimination and Family categories, it received very positive results of 90 per cent and 89 per cent.

The island’s widespread accolades come from the public’s increased embracement of the gay community.  

A poll conducted in 2016 showed that 65 per cent of Maltese people were in favour of same-sex marriage, a huge rise from 18 per cent in similar findings back in 2006.

Many believe, however, that the awareness and inclusion of the LGBT community and those within such community, should begin at an early age.

Maltese schools are required to meet the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act legislation launched in June 2015 by the Maltese government, which is a comprehensive education policy focused on the needs of trans, gender variant and intersex children.

Malta was rated 100 per cent in categories such as Civil Society Space

In a recent report from the LGBTIQ Inclusive Education Report, it said that “all young people have the right to education, but research shows that this is still far from being a reality for many LGBTIQ learners. We firmly believe that the LGBTIQ Education Index and Report can play a vital role in changing this.”

However, Malta seems to be a country that is making great changes to this idea, with it receiving perfect scores in nine out of 10 categories that the report analysed.

The categories included: anti-discrimination law applicable to education, inclusive national curricula, partnerships between governments and civil society, support systems, right to choose gender and teacher training on LGBTIQ awareness. While the Maltese education system is facilitating LGBTIQ curricula and policies, some countries are still far behind such progressions.

The report showed that some countries such as Armenia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland received scores of zero out of 10, have no regulation or policies to tackle bullying and harassment and promote inclusivity.

There was even a case in Azerbaijan where a psychologist hit a child in front of the parents, because of their toy preferences and the report says that incidents such as this “shows clearly the oppositional position of Azerbaijani government regarding LGBT rights”.

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