The Malta Independent 25 September 2022, Sunday
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Malta Pride Week 2022 - #LiveYourTruth

Renee Laiviera Friday, 16 September 2022, 07:26 Last update: about 9 days ago

Malta Pride, supported by the government, private entities, and civil society organisations, has been an important part of the Maltese national calendar for a number of years. Pride is not only about raising awareness on LGBTIQ+ diversity, but it is also an opportunity to be a light for those still living in fear.

#LiveYourTruth was the theme of this year’s Malta Pride celebrations during Pride Week, running between the 2nd and 11th September. This year’s theme #LiveYourTruth “stands as a reminder that everyone's wellbeing depends greatly on living our lives authentically without fear. We are not a belief or an ideology, we are real humans.”

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Malta has been at the forefront of LGBTIQ+ rights in the EU. For the seventh year in a row, Malta continues to occupy the number one spot on the ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map with a score of 92%, while Denmark occupies second place with a score of 74%. The Rainbow Index ranks 49 EU countries on a scale between 0% (discrimination, violations of human rights) and 100% (respect of human rights, full equality). Malta’s high ranking on this Rainbow Index shows the country’s commitment to continue advancing equality for the LGBTIQ+ community.

In 2023, Malta will be hosting Euro Pride 2023, Europe's most prominent gay pride event attracting thousands of participants worldwide. The event will include conferences, meetings, and social gatherings supporting the LGBTIQ+ community.

Whilst recognising the significant progress made to enhance equality, more work needs to be done to ensure that everyone can develop their potential without any discrimination. According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey carried out in 2019, in Malta, 33% of LGBTI respondents felt discriminated against in many areas of life, such as going to a café, restaurant, hospital or to a shop. Moreover, only 14% reported their discrimination experiences to an equality body or another organisation in Malta, while more than half of LGBTI respondents (52%) were almost never or rarely open about being LGBTI.

Many individuals have also been discriminated against in employment. According to a research study published in the second volume of ‘Mapping the Rainbow – Researching the diverse colours of the LGBTIQ community’ by the Human Rights Directorate (HRD), more than 50% of transgender individuals never come out at the place of work. “Over 50% never come out at the place of work. Many people feel unsafe to come out at work...If there are people who are out, other people tend to feel safer to disclose.”

The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) is empowered by Chapter 456 of the Laws of Malta to investigate complaints of alleged discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics in employment, education and vocational training as well as by banks and financial institutions.

Besides the investigation of alleged cases of discrimination, the NCPE continues to work to raise awareness on LGBTIQ+ equality. In fact, the NCPE is currently carrying out a set of initiatives as part of an EU co-funded project titled ‘Empowerment for Diversity’ (E4D).

The project focuses on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics and gender expression, and seeks to address the societal and cultural impact of the legislative changes in the last seven years.

A qualitative research study is analysing the discrimination faced by LGBTIQ+ persons in Malta in various sectors of life, such as education, employment, and in the access to and supply of goods and services. The objective of this study is to increase the NCPE’s knowledge and expertise in the field of LGBTIQ+, and to carry out a comparative analysis to a study conducted by the NCPE in 2011 - LGBT Discrimination Research Report, Qualitative Study, NCPE (2011).  46 one-to-one interviews were carried out by end of 2021. This research study will be published during this project’s final conference in November 2022.

Additionally, workshops with members of the LGBTIQ+ community are being organised with the aim of discussing the issues being faced by the community, identifying the needs to be addressed, and the current deterrents resulting in underreporting. Two workshops have already been carried out and a report will be published once this activity is concluded.

Promotional items including Pens, Tote bags, Flags, Sunglasses, T-shirts, Lanyards, Baseball Caps and Cups were designed with the project’s corporate image and distributed during the Malta Pride events 2021 and 2022.

The NCPE participated in the Malta Pride 2022 activities, including the Pride March, where more promo items were distributed. The NCPE’s participation during these events proved to be fruitful in that it maximised the exposure of the NCPE’s work, in particular on the SOGIGESC grounds amongst the LGBTIQ+ community.

The project started in April 2020 and will run until November 2022. It is co-financed by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme 2014-2020 and is being implemented in partnership with Allied Rainbow Communities (ARC).

 

Renee Laiviera is the Commissioner of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE)

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