Tuesday

27th Feb 2024

Scapegoating of LGBTI people on increase in Europe

  • The rainbow flag has also become a symbol under increasingly attack. The advocacy group's report said it has been attacked in countries not seen before, including Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland and Spain (Photo: Janis Zakis)
Listen to article

European politicians have been responsible for a "staggering rise" in anti-LGBTI rhetoric in 2021, fuelling hate-crimes reported in every EU country, according to ILGA-Europe, an advocacy group, in their annual report published on Tuesday (15 February).

The rise of anti-LGBTI rhetoric by officials in Europe is part of a global trend among nationalist-conservative politicians to rally political support by attacking LGBTI people, the report stated.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Scapegoating LGBTI minorities has become a regular tactic by ultra-conservative and nationalists politicians," ILGA's advocacy director Katrin Hugendubel told EUobserver.

These politicians "position themselves as defenders of 'traditional values'" to mobilise voters and divert attention from their own failures, she said.

"We've been warning for quite some time that Hungary and Poland are not anomalies. Scapegoating LGBTI communities is happening across Europe," she added.

Germany saw an almost 40-percent increase in anti-LGBTI hate crimes in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to government figures.

A new app in France, where users can report anti-LGBTI hate crimes, registered 3,896 incidents across the country in 2020 and 2021.

In the Netherlands, the government reported 2,336 anti-LGBTI violence and discrimination cases in 2020, up from 2,072 in 2019. In addition, there was a seven- percent increase in homophobic hate crimes in England and Wales last year.

There also were homophobic murders last year in EU countries Cyprus, Belgium, France, and Spain, according to the report.

Offices also attacked

LGBTI events and offices were attacked in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Finland.

The report noted hate speech from politicians targeting LGBTI people in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, among the EU members.

In Europe, courts - and especially EU institutions - have been fighting back against discrimination, the ILGA report points out.

The EU Commission had launched probes against Poland and Hungary over the targeting of LGBTI people by the authorities while the European Parliament passed several resolutions defending LGBTI human rights.

Polls cited in the report revealed that in several EU members, a large numbers of the population supporting LGBTI human rights.

That shows "state-sponsored anti-LGBTI rhetoric and legislation is not matched by public opinion," said Hugendubel.

In Hungary, where prime minister Viktor Orbán's government has targeted LGBTI people with a law banning the "promotion" of homosexuality in the media and in schools, polls found close to 60 percent of Hungarians saw that law as a restriction of LGBTI rights.

Another poll found that 59 percent of Hungarians thought same-sex couples should have the same right to adoption as others.

In Poland, where some municipalities have sought to declare "LGBTI-ideology free zones," a poll showed that 56 percent support at least civil partnership for same-sex couples.

In the Czech Republic, where president Milos Zeman used derogatory terms to describe trans people in 2021, 65 percent of the population supports marriage equality.

Gay rights under threat in divided Europe

From same-sex marriage in Malta to horrors in Azerbaijan - survey shows huge disparities on gay rights in Europe, amid "stagnating" progress and populist threats.

Orbán counters EU by calling referendum on anti-LGBTI law

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has announced a referendum on his country's controversial new anti-LGBTIQ law - in response to criticism from the European Union which called the new legislation discriminatory.

Opinion

Romania — latest EU hotspot in backlash against LGBT rights

Romania isn't the only country portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a threat to children. From Poland and Hungary in EU, to reactionary movements around the world are prohibiting portrayals of LGBT people and families in schools.

Latest News

  1. For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive
  2. All of Orbán's MPs back Sweden's Nato entry
  3. India makes first objection to EU carbon levy at WTO summit
  4. Angry farmers block Brussels again, urge fix to 'unfair' prices
  5. Luxembourg denies blind spot on Nato security vetting
  6. Record rate-profits sees EU banks give shareholders €120bn
  7. Why the EU silence on why Orban's €10bn was unblocked?
  8. Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us