Rising homophobic and hate speech by European politicians, warns IGLA-Europe
A European LGBT group has warned in their annual report that homophobic and hate speech by European politicians against the LGBT community is on the rise.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association-Europe (ILGA-Europe) noted that politicians in 17 countries in Europe and Central Asia have made verbal attacks against LGBT people last year.
European politicians targeting the LGBT community
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ILGA-Europe noted that these politicians have been pushing back on LGBT rights in the region to divert attention from failing economies.
“LGBTI communities are amongst the groups that get scapegoated in particular,” said Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s executive director.
“There’s growing hate speech specifically targeting trans people and that is being reported more and more across the region,” Paradis said.
“We have grave concerns that it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” she warned.
Examples of European politicians making verbal attacks
In their report, they cited as example the developments in Poland with nationalist politicians from the ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) Party attacking the “LGBT ideology.”
In Hungary, transgender people were banned from legally changing their gender last year. Likewise, in Turkey, politicians had slammed LGBT people during the protest crackdowns.
Also cited in the report were Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Russia.
Meanwhile, religious leaders in Belarus and Ukraine have blamed the LGBT people for the pandemic. Hate speech in social and traditional media is also growing in Montenegro, Georgia, and North Macedonia.
Paradis said that, “In reports from country after country, we see a stark rise in abuse and hate speech against LGBTI people.”
LGBT community affected by the coronavirus pandemic
The report further noted that many members of the LGBT community in Europe and Central Asia are providers of food and aid for the community during the pandemic.
“The pandemic has highlighted issues that were there but that too few of us were seeing, which is the social and economic vulnerability of a huge percentage of LGBTI people,” Paradis said.
Further, some young LGBT people are facing difficulties being trapped at home with homophobic families because of the lockdowns.
Last year, ILGA-Europe noted the “sharp rise of hate speech” in 2019 that was “often carried out by public officials.”
They also cited the growing “pan-European phenomenon” of anti-gay violence, particularly citing the UK’s departure from the European Union.