New LGBTIQ-friendly marker for local businesses stirs controversy online

The initiative has been welcomed by some, but many have described it as a step backwards for the LGBTIQ community

Interested businesses will be able to apply to use the logo with the Equality Ministry
Interested businesses will be able to apply to use the logo with the Equality Ministry

Businesses operating in the hospitality sector will be able to apply for a sticker indicating that their establishment welcomes members of the LGBTIQ community.

The initiative, called #ALLWELCOME being piloted by the Human Rights Directorate within the ministry, was launched on Monday by Equality Minister Helena Dalli and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Dalli said the new initiative would reflect the country’s existing equality laws, and seek to bring about a further change in culture.

The logo is intended to show reinforce the fact that such laws exist, while ensuring they are properly enforced.

The scheme will start with larger operators, but will slowly move on to other, smaller establishments like village grocers and bars.

Mizzi said the initiative would allow Malta to show the world that it did not discriminate.

According to ministry’s website, the scheme seeks to promote a more equal, accessible and inclusive Malta where everyone feels they belong.

“The businesses and other organisations involved aim at being more inclusive, not only towards employees but also towards their customers and business partners, especially in reference to the LGBTIQ community.”

It will be based on four main principles: Respect for human dignity, the elimination of discrimination at the workplace and the market place, support for LGBTIQ staff, as well as “adequate representation of diversity in our public campaigns”.

Interested business will need to apply with the Equality Ministry and will be able to use the logo at their premises as well as any advertising materials.

New initiative proves controversial online

While the initiative has been welcomed by some, many others took to social media to voice their frustration at what has been described as a step backwards for the LGBTIQ community.

Many of those who expressed an opinion against the scheme said that after years of trying to do away with labels, and of trying to achieve equality in society, the government was now resorting to labels to differentiate between different types of people. Others referred to the stunt as a gimmick only intended to push Malta as a LGBTIQ destination.

Not everyone was against the new scheme however. Some in fact said they supported the initiative, arguing that many of those who were commenting did not know what it felt like to enter an establishment that was not welcoming.