“Malta’s number one in Europe for LGBT rights!”; “Malta top of the table”; “Malta top of the world in gay rights sector”; “Malta leads in LGBT rights”.
These are all headlines you’ll probably have seen in recent years. What they’re referring to is ILGA-Europe’s ranking of European countries according to LGBT rights. These countries are ranked “based on how the laws and policies of each country impact on the lives of LGBTI people”.
More specifically, they look at the following criteria: “equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum”.
Another report found Malta to be in the top 10 safest countries in the world to be LGBTQ.
It comes as no surprise then that Malta has consistently been top of the table since 2016, just after several laws and policies were changed to ensure more acceptance for LGBT+ members.
The introduction of same-sex marriage, the ban on conversion therapy and more recently, the lifting of a ban on gay men donating blood have all contributed to Malta’s number one ranking.
However, earlier this week two trans-women, Raquel Richards and Charlotte May Crane, posted messages they received on Facebook in which two different men verbally abuse about them using explicit, and downright disgusting, language.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not unheard of. In recent years, others have also used to social media to talk about how they were attacked- verbally and sometimes even physically, simply because of their sexual identity or orientation.
So, this leads to the question…why is this happening in a country with a score of over 90% for its LGBT policies? With a score that high and Malta being ranked in the top 10 safest countries to be LGBTQ, anyone would think that Malta is a safe haven for all LGBT+ people. Evidently, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Changes in policy are great and very much welcomed and is something we naturally need to strive harder for and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in such a short time. However, isn’t it just as important -if not more- to focus on changing attitudes and social perceptions too? Only then can we really say that Malta’s top of the table!
Let us know what you think about this; is everybody truly accepted in Malta?