LONDON, May 11 (Openly) – Europeans are moving ever closer to embracing equal rights for all despite a rise in anti-transgender rhetoric by many of their politicians, two studies found on Thursday. According to the annual ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map and Index, the countries to record the greatest gains on trans rights are those that had introduced self-identification laws for trans people. This removes the need for a lengthy medical consultation and diagnosis, and also lowers the cost of transition. Adoption of self-ID laws came after many politicians had turned trans rights into the latest battleground in Europe’s vicious culture wars, a move of “political courage” applauded by the rights organisation behind the report. Moldova jumped 14 places to rank 23rd out of 49 after the central European country introduced laws to protect sexual orientation and gender identity in many aspects of daily life. At the other end of the scale, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan ranked lowest, respectively, with Yerevan making a slight improvement after it scrapped its ban on blood donations by men who have sex with men. Malta was ranked highest for the eighth year running.