By LGBT+ Danmark and RFSL
When we look to statistics over mental health, physical health and general wellbeing in both Denmark and Sweden, LGBTI+ people are alarmingly worse represented than the rest of society. We as a group suffer more from depression, loneliness, anxiety, stress and suicidal behaviour, as well as unhealthy lifestyle patterns and worse sexual health. Of this, we have little to be proud.
But why is this, when we live in welfare states with equal access to public services ? Because a legal framework is far from enough to actually fight inequality. While legal rights are fundamental, they are of little use if they don’t reflect on the qualityof life for LGBTI+ people. That is – after all – the overarching purpose.
In schools, LGBTI+ children and adolescents are still victims of extensive bullying and stigmatization. That was clearly proven in LGBTI+ Denmark and LGBT+ Ungdom’s report on the wellbeing of LGBTI+ pupils earlier this year. Nine out of 10 had experienced homophobic and transphobic slurs at school, while 44 % of the pupils had experienced bullying on first-hand.
In Danish workplaces we see LGBTI+ people more exposed to abuse, discrimination and harassment than non-LGBTI+ people. About half of all LGBTI+ people are not as open as they wish to be in their workplace.
In Sweden, a quarter of young gay and bisexual women state that they have attempted suicide. One in five, 19 percent, of 16–25-year-olds in the group of homosexuals and bisexuals have been subjected to physical violence by a parent, partner or other related adult. This is twice as large a proportion as among young heterosexuals. Studies also show that trans people are to a greater extent exposed to abuse, harassment, violence and threats of violence.
Understandably, legal and very visible inequalities such as the right to marry, the access to healthcare or even the right to exist can be urgent mobilizers and unifiers.
But the less visible inequalities that we may have yet to realize we have in common, must do the same thing. So, while we still need to fight for legal rights, that isn’t where the biggest battle lies ahead.
Going forward, let’s make sure to strengthen our movement, stand side by side in changing the culture towards more inclusion and diversity for a better quality of life for all LGBTI+ people. In Denmark, Sweden, the Nordic Region, Europe and the rest of the world. Happy, happy WorldPride and EuroGames to everyone participating in Malmö or Copenhagen.