Estonia working on action plan to strengthen equal treatment of LGBT+ people

  • 2024-04-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonia has started to prepare an action plan for equal opportunities for LGBT+ individuals, aimed at strengthening their sense of security and ensuring fair treatment.

The action plan will address equal opportunities for LGBT+ people in four focus areas: safety, education, health, and employment. A separate focus is on the well-being of transgender individuals across various aspects of life.

The minister of social protection, Signe Riisalo, said the goal of making the action plan is to enhance the sense of security, well-being, and equal treatment of LGBT+ people in society.

"We wish to create an Estonia where LGBT+ people can live their lives freely as they wish. LGBT+ individuals must feel supported and safe in all aspects of society's life -- whether at work, during leisure time, at school, in healthcare settings, or in public spaces. Unfortunately, this is not always the case," said Riisalo.

According to statistics, almost 65 percent of people in a same-sex partnership in Estonia do not dare to hold the hand of their partner of the same sex in a public space. Nearly 70 percent of LGBT+ students attending school have experienced mental violence during the past school year, and one in four people in Estonia would feel uncomfortable if their colleague were an LGBT+ person. LGBT+ people who disclose their identity in the health care system are twice as likely to experience negative treatment and discrimination.

Despite the statistics, Estonia has moved towards a more equal society for LGBT+ people over the past decades, says Taavi Koppel, equal opportunities adviser at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

"This year, marriage equality came into force in Estonia, and from the beginning of March, outdated and discriminatory restrictions on blood donation disappeared, for example," said Koppel. "With the action plan, we are putting in place a plan on how to create a more equal and safer society for LGBT+ people in different areas of life in the coming years," he added. 

On Tuesday, the opening event of the development of the action plan took place at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.