Princess Mary: We must build bridges across Europe to secure LGBT rights

Denmark’s Crown Princess has delivered a speech calling for unity on LGBT rights, as the world marks the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark gave an address at the IDAHO forum, hosted by her country’s government earlier this month.

In her comments on the issue, the royal – who is married to heir to the throne Crown Prince Frederik – insisted: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

“But that assertion, for far too many around the world, does not hold true.
Princess Mary: We must build bridges across Europe to secure LGBT rights
“Even though we write 2016, too many LGBTI people continue to be victims of hatred, violence, discrimination, bullying and ill-treatment – and this we cannot and must not accept.”

She continued: “Working together to change social attitudes and promote equal opportunities requires a broad and mutual effort by all of us.

“IDAHO creates a forum for discussion and joint development and for building bridges across Europe in order to promote our common goals and values on this issue.

“We must be united in rejecting all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We need all the support and commitment we can get, in order to build a culture where everyone is accepted and tolerated for who they are and where everyone can participate equally, fully and freely in all aspects of society.”

Princess Mary added: “Even though European countries are widely diverse in history and culture, we share a lot of commonalities and we know, we learn a lot from each other.”

The royal spoke about specific areas where improvement and collaboration is needed.

In her pre-prepared remarks she said: “Workplace Pride, which is the international platform for LGBT inclusion at work, assesses, that 76 percent of European LGBT people are not open about their sexuality or gender identity at work and among their colleagues.

“In 2014, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) conducted the largest ever LGBT hate and discrimination survey across Europe. The survey was based on information from 93,000 LGBT persons and showed that nearly half of all respondents [47%] felt personally discriminated or harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Also, the Eurobarometer on discrimination shows that almost 60 % of EU citizens see discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as widespread.

“Unfortunately, we continue to have strong need for the likes of the IDAHO Forum, which offers the opportunity to debate these challenges. We need to ensure and understand how we can create greater progress nationally, regionally and globally.”

Denmark has long led the way on LGBT rights, introducing the world’s first same-sex partnerships law in 1989 – decades before many other countries.

The country has also pioneered gender laws that mean trans people can get legal recognition without undergoing medical treatment, and recently became the first country in the world to remove ‘transgenderism’ from its list of mental disorders.