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Understanding Legal English Terms: A Beginner's Guide to LGBTQI+ Rights

Welcome to our in-depth guide on Legal English Terms related to LGBTQI+ Rights! If you're just starting out on your journey of understanding legal terminology, don't worry - we've got you covered. In this article, we'll be breaking down the language used in LGBTQI+ rights cases so that anyone can understand it. Whether you're an activist or simply someone who wants to learn more about these important issues, this beginner's guide will provide a helpful primer for navigating the world of legal vocabulary surrounding LGBTQI+ rights.

Introduction to Legal English Terms

There are a lot of legal terms to talk about LGBTQI+ rights. This guide will introduce you to some of the most important legal terms related to LGBTQI+ rights.

Sexual Orientation: Sexual orientation is a term used to describe a person's romantic and/or sexual attraction to another person. There are many different types of sexual orientations, including heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and pansexuality.

Gender Identity: Gender identity is a term used to describe a person's internal sense of their own gender. Gender identity is different from sex assigned at birth. For example, a person with a female sex assigned at birth may identify as a male.

Gender Expression: Gender expression is a term used to describe the way a person expresses their gender identity. This can include things like clothing, hairstyle, and mannerisms.

LGBTQIA: LGBTQIA is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexed and Asexual. This acronym is used to refer to the community of people who have any of these identities or experiences.

Transgender: An umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity or expression does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people may or may not choose to undergo medical treatments such as hormone therapy or surgery to align their bodies with their gender identity. Not all transgender people identify as male or female; some identify as non-binary, agender, genderfluid, or any other number of identities outside of the gender binary.

Cisgender: A term used to describe people whose gender identity matches their assigned sex at birth. Cisgender is often used in contrast to transgender.

Intersectionality of Legal Issues

There are a number of legal issues that intersect with LGBTQI+ rights. These include issues related to discrimination, hate crimes, and marriage equality.

Discrimination against LGBTQI+ people is a major issue in many countries around the world. In some countries, homosexuality is punishable by law. In other countries, instead, discrimination against LGBTQI+ people is not explicitly prohibited by law and therefore, it still occurs in many workplaces and other settings.

Hate crimes are another major issue for the LGBTQI+ community. Hate crimes are defined as crimes that are motivated by bias or hatred towards a particular group of people. In many countries, hate crimes against LGBTQI+ people are not explicitly prohibited by law. This means that there is no specific legal protection for LGBTQI+ people who are victims of hate crimes.

Marriage equality is another issue that intersects with LGBTQI+ rights. Marriage equality refers to the right of all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to marry legally. In many countries around the world, marriage equality is not yet a reality.

How the Law Impacts LGBTQI+ Rights: Exploring the EU legal framework

The struggle for LGBTQI+ rights has been an ongoing battle around the world. Legal frameworks play a crucial role in shaping the rights and protections afforded to individuals within the LGBTQI+ community. In the European Union (EU), progressive legislation has emerged as a powerful force in advancing LGBTQI+ rights. Let’s examine how the law impacts LGBTQI+ rights in the EU, highlighting key legal developments and their significance in promoting equality and inclusivity.

1. The Foundation of Equality:

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights serves as the cornerstone for safeguarding LGBTQI+ rights within the European Union. Article 21 explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, establishing a fundamental principle of equality. This foundation ensures that LGBTQI+ individuals are protected from discrimination across various aspects of life, including employment, housing, and public services.

2. Marriage Equality and Recognition:

As of today, the landmark case of Coman and Others in 2018 reinforced the principle by which people should be granted same rights and should be treated equally, ruling that all EU member states must recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other member states.

In this landmark case, the Romanian Constitutional Court asked the CJEU for a preliminary ruling on whether the term “spouse” in Article 2(2)(a) of the Citizen’s Directive (2004/38/EC) includes a non-EU national that is legally married to an EU citizen in another Member State than the EU host State?

The ruling held that the term “spouse” is indeed gender neutral and may therefore include spouses of the same sex. Therefore, Romania cannot rely on its national law as justification to refuse the recognition of a marriage between two persons of the same sex legally concluded in another Member State. A refusal of said right would have resulted in different applications of the EU citizen’s freedom of movement among its Member States, depending on whether or not national law allows same-sex marriage.

This decision represented a significant step towards harmonizing marriage rights across the EU. However, an attentive reading of the judgment reveals its narrow scope. Firstly, the Court once again made it clear that EU Member States are free to bar same-sex couples from marrying on their territory. Secondly, it should be kept in mind that the judgment applies to same-sex spouses but not to registered partners. Finally, the judgement concerns only couples married in an EU Member State and is confined to question of free movement of persons without addressing discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. The Grand Chamber insisted on the fact that the decision applies to “the sole purpose of granting a derived right of residence.” It does not address the issue of other rights that are based on residency.

3. Freedom of Movement:

EU laws have had a profound impact on the freedom of movement for LGBTQI+ individuals. The EU's recognition of same-sex relationships ensures that couples can relocate within the EU and maintain their legal status and rights. The introduction of the "Free Movement Directive" in 2004 prevented member states from discriminating against same-sex couples in matters of immigration and residency, fostering a more inclusive and accepting Europe.

4. Employment Protections:

EU laws have been instrumental in establishing workplace protections for LGBTQI+ individuals. The EU Employment Equality Directive prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and sets a standard for member states to ensure equal treatment. This directive mandates protection from discrimination in recruitment, working conditions, and career advancement, fostering a more inclusive work environment.


EU laws have played a pivotal role in advancing LGBTQI+ rights, setting a progressive standard for member states to protect and promote equality. The foundation of equality, the recognition of same-sex marriages with the scope of freedom of movement rights, and employment protections are just a few examples of the legal advancements that have positively impacted the lives of LGBTQI+ individuals across Europe. While challenges remain, the EU's commitment to inclusivity and human rights serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring other regions to pursue legal reforms that safeguard the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.



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