Homophobia has no place in Europe. S&Ds demand an EU LGBTI strategy to end discrimination based on sexual orientation
With the strong support of the Socialist and Democrats, today the European Parliament adopted a resolution, condemning the so called ‘LGBT ideology free zones’ in Poland* and other recent acts of anti–LGBTI discrimination in many member states. To put an end to this, we call on the new European Commission to adopt a comprehensive EU LGBTI strategy for 2019-2024, and to react strongly whenever a member state fails to comply with EU law in this field. We also urge the member states to finally conclude negotiations on the Horizontal Directive on discrimination.
Delara Burkhardt MEP, S&D shadow rapporteur on this file, said:
“Today, the LGBTI community became a new enemy for Polish populists, nationalists and even some elected officials. In July, the participants of a Pride March in Bialystok were brutally attacked by hooligans fuelled by LGBTI-phobia and far-right extremism. A newspaper, supportive of the ruling party, distributed ‘LGBT free zones’ stickers. Even worse, dozens of local authorities adopted anti-LGBTI resolutions, declaring their territories as free from ‘LGBT ideology’. If this is not enough to serve as a wakeup call, what more do we need to act? We know from the darkest times of EU history what the spreading of hate towards a specific group can lead to.
“There is no such thing as ‘LGBT ideology’ but being anti-LGBTI people is part of an ultra-conservative ideology. Non-heteronormative people are ordinary, normal people who have their dignity and must not only be respected, but also protected. Particularly in schools and sport centres we must combat gender stereotypes, LGBTI-phobia and gender-based violence, and help teenagers who very often have suicidal thoughts and suffer from depression.”
Claude Moraes, S&D vice-president for resilient democracies and fundamental rights, added:
“Unfortunately, anti-LGBTI statements and hate speech targeting LGBTI people online and offline is a reality all over Europe; though Poland is maybe the most alarming example. We must go much further than just condemning it. The first thing to do is to guarantee that we have a legal instrument to protect populations at risk of discrimination. It is shameful that for 11 years, the Horizontal Directive on discrimination outside of the workplace has been stalled in the Council. We call on Helena Dalli, the new Commissioner responsible for equality, to come up with a new initiative to unblock the negotiations. We also need a comprehensive and ambitious EU LGBTI strategy to promote fundamental rights and protect LGBTI people.
“We, the socialists and democrats, are also calling on the member states to introduce legislation for equal recognition of same-sex marriages and partnerships to ensure full respect for the right to private and family life without discrimination.”
Note for editors:
*Since the beginning of 2019 in Poland, there were over 80 instances where regions, counties or municipalities passed resolutions declaring themselves free from so-called ‘LGBT ideology’, or adopted ‘Regional Charters of Family Rights’, calling for local governments to refrain from taking any action to encourage tolerance of LGBTI people, as well as from providing financial support to non-governmental organisations working to promote equal rights, anti-discrimination education or to support LGBTI people.