Interview with Joël Le Déroff, Senior Policy and Programmes Officer at ILGA Europe,
We started publishing such an index and such a map only in 2011. The reason why it took us so much time to realise this tool (ILGA-Europe operates since 1996) is that there is a lot of work behind it. Although it addresses only the legal situation of LGBTI people (as opposed to other social facts relating to discrimination, intolerance, etc.), it requires a lot of effort to find all the necessary information. ILGA-Europe has an important resource in that respect, since we can count with the help of our members (national and local NGOs in most of the European countries). But double checking all the pieces of legislation is not always easy, also because of language barriers.
What we know is that the map is extremely useful in our work, because it provides an illustration of where countries are and what priorities to identify for legal changes. t also helps people learn about human rights issues they are not familiar with, because their country may get a mark they did not expect (e.g. we got questions such as “oh, but we have had marriage equality for gays for a long time now, so why aren’t we in the top countries?” In this case, some people realised that there are also a lot of issues concerning the human rights of trans people, which are not solved with equality legislation for gays and lesbians).
It is extremely important to define precisely your criteria. For instance: if some aspects of human rights protection are ensured by regulations but not in the legislation adopted by the Parliament of the country, do you give a point to that country? If some policies are in place in part of a federal State, but not in others, how do you deal with this situation?
4. How are the Rainbow index and the map disseminated all across Europe? What are the main target groups?
ILGA-Europe and its members use it a lot in their contacts with the general public (events, publications). We also use it when we engage with decision makers. Actually, the fact it is at the same time accurate and easy-to-read allows us to use it in different contexts, a lot more than many other tools we have.