Maltese gays want to emigrate because of discrimination

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Three-quarters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Malta  would emigrate if they had the chance, according to a new survey.

150 people took paste in the Malta Gay Rights Movement poll.

74% said they would emigrate if possible and 67% said discrimination was a key factor.

MGRM also released accounts of violence faced by LGBT people in Malta.

According to the Times of Malta, eight per cent of poll respondents said they had been beaten or attacked in the past two years because of their sexual orientation – two-thirds were young women.

“They stopped the car in the middle of the street and came out to attack us,” said one girl.

“One man pulled up my girlfriend’s skirt and touched her. I pushed them and hit them in self-defence. All of this happened in front of the police station but nobody came to our rescue.”

45% of the 150 respondents had been harassed by friends or acquaintances and 37% by co-workers.

In July the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) released its legal analysis of homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the 27 member states.

It concluded that Maltese people in same-sex relationships “are not treated in a like manner to heterosexual couples simply because of their sexual orientation.”

Even Maltese citizens who enter a legally valid, same-sex union in another country may find their relationship is not recognised in their own country.

The report on Malta concluded that members of the LGBT community do not receive the same protection and rights as heterosexuals.

Maltese law states that marriage can only be between persons of the opposite sex.

This lack of recognition means same-sex spouses of EU citizens do not enjoy the same rights, such as freedom of movement within the EU, as opposite-sex spouses in Malta, which contravenes EU legislation.

EU law stipulates that not only legally-recognised unions, but also de-facto relationships between members of the same sex should be treated no differently to heterosexual unions.

This lack of recognition of same-sex unions also affects the status of refugees.

A refugee in a same-sex relationship with an EU citizen would not have the same legal protection as a refugee in a heterosexual relationship.

The report also highlights the discrimination faced by transsexuals in Malta, as there is no formal procedure for changing one’s gender status in law.