NL improving on gay rights

The Netherlands is fourth on the gay-rights list presented by international LGBT organization ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) on Malta on Tuesday, where IDAHO, the international gay-emancipation summit is being held.

Rights for LGBT's in the Netherlands is improving, as the country was eighth on the index list last year. The introduction of the Gender Identity Recognition Law, in which you can change your sex more easily in official papers, and the Lesbian Parentage Law, in which a mother's female partner can be legally recognized as the other parent of the child, helped the Netherlands rise on the list according to Jet Bussemaker, the minister responsible for emancipation. Both of these laws were bills proposed by state secretary Fred Teeven (Security and Justice, VVD).

The top 10 countries in Europe doing well on gay rights are Norway, Portugal, Sweden, France, Iceland and Denmark. The UK is on top, with Belgium and Spain in second and third place respectively. Of the 49 countries, Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia are not producing gay-friendly rights.

Bussemaker is on Malta and is happy about the results. "That is good news, but certainly not a reason to relax." At the summit, she will discuss why the attitude of many young people against homosexuals worries her. "Young people decide amongst each other the future of our society. Social acceptance starts with them."

She will further urge that the next EU-commissioner for Civil Righst and Fundamental Rights prioritize the tackling of discrimination against LGBT's. The expansion of this is already a plan in the Netherlands.

"We have to remain concerned about the situation in which still too many gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have to live in Europe. That asks for action to improve their lives. To keep thinking about what more can be done to improve the social and judicial situation for them in Europe. That can only happen if Europe takes on a leading role in the stimulation of national policy and the coordination of cooperation", she said before the meeting.