European Court of Human Rights rules against Lithuanian propaganda law
Children’s book author in 2019 challenged anti-LGBTQ statute
STRASBOURG, France — The European Court of Human Rights on Monday ruled Lithuania’s anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda law violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
Author Neringa Dangvydė Macatė in 2019 filed a lawsuit against the law after Lithuanian authorities censured her children’s book that featured two same-sex couples.
The law specifically bans the distribution of information to minors that “expresses contempt for family values, encourages the concept of entry into a marriage and creation of a family other than stipulated in the Constitution of the republic of Lithuania and the Civil Code of the republic of Lithuania.” The court in April 2022 heard Macatė’s case.
Openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Bob Gilchrist is among those who have publicly criticized the law. Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, an openly gay Lithuanian MP who is running for mayor of Vlinius, the country’s capital, told the Washington Blade the ruling will bolster efforts to repeal the propaganda law.
Spanish lawmakers approve landmark Transgender rights bill
Anyone over 16-years-old can legally change gender without medical intervention
MADRID — Spanish lawmakers on Thursday gave their final approval to a bill that would allow people who are at least 16-years-old to legally change their gender without medical intervention.
Deutsche Welle reported 191 Spanish MPs voted for the measure, while 60 opposed it and 91 abstained.
Trans people in Spain previously needed to prove a doctor had diagnosed them with gender dysphoria and show evidence they had undergone hormone therapy for at least two years in order to legally change their gender. A minor who wanted to legally change their gender needed to obtain a judge’s approval.
The bill that Spanish MPs approved applies to anyone who is at least 16-years-old.
Teeangers who are 14- or 15-years-old can seek to legally change their gender with approval from a parent or legal guardian. A judge still needs to approve requests from 12- or 13-year-olds.
Deutsche Welle reported the bill also bans so-called conversion therapy and includes provisions to address discrimination based on gender identity in employment, education and housing.
“This law recognizes the right of trans people to self-determine their gender identity, it depathologizes Trans people,” said Equalities Minister Irene Moreno before the vote. “Trans people are not sick people, they are just people.”
Four Spanish LGBTQ+ and intersex rights groups — FELGTBI+ (the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transgender People, Bisexuals, Intersexuals and More), Chrysallis, the Association of Families of Transgender Children and Youth and Fundación Triángulo — in a statement celebrated the bill’s passage.
“It is fundamental that what is reflected in the law makes us one of the countries with the most advanced legislation in terms of LGTBI+ rights,” said FELGTBI+ President Urge Sangil. “This translates into real rights.”
The statement adds the bill’s passage is “only the first step to stop hate towards the LGTBI+ community and hate speech.”
USAID administrator meets with Hungarian LGBTQ+ activists
Meeting with Samantha Power took place on Feb. 10 in Budapest
BUDAPEST, Hungary — U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power on Feb. 10 met with three LGBTQ+ and intersex activists in the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
Budapest Pride President Viktoria Radvanyi and Hungarian Helsinki Committee Head of Advocacy András Léderer are two of the activists who met with Power.
USAID spokesperson Jessica Jennings in a press release said the activists “discussed the experiences of LGBTQI+ people in Hungary and their efforts to increase understanding, support marginalized groups and improve the lives of LGBTQI+ people in Hungary” with Power.
“The administrator (Power) emphasized that the United States will continue to stand as an ally with LGBTQI+ people and all marginalized groups in their struggle for equality,” noted Jennings.
The meeting took place against the backdrop of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s crackdown on LGBTQ+ and intersex rights in Hungary.
Radvanyi on Monday noted to the Washington Blade it is “impossible to change your gender legally in Hungary” because of a 2020 law that “banned legal gender recognition of Transgender and intersex people.”
An anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda law that Radvanyi said was “copy and pasted” from Russia took effect in 2021. Hungarian MPs in 2020 effectively banned same-sex couples from adopting children and defined marriage in the country’s constitution as between a man and a woman.
The European Commission last July sued Hungary, which is a member of the European Union, over the country’s propaganda law.
President Joe Biden in 2021 signed a memorandum that commited the U.S. to promoting LGBTQ+ and intersex rights abroad as part of his administration’s overall foreign policy. David Pressman, the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, is openly gay.
Jennings in the USAID press release did not say whether Pressman attended the meeting with the activists, but it did note he met with Power before she left Budapest. Radvanyi said the activists who attended “were all very honored that Administrator Power had a dedicated meeting just about the Hungarian LGBTQ community and LGBTQ issues.”
“We know that she has a very, very busy schedule,” Radvanyi told the Blade. “We really appreciated that she treated the case of our community as such a high priority.”
Léderer described the meeting as a “very honest, sincere conversation on the situation of the Hungarian LGBT+ community.”
“In addition to how the community as a whole carries on amidst growing homo- and transphobic government policies and statements, she also wanted to know how individual members of the community, including those fighting for equal treatment and human rights, are coping with the hostile environment,” Léderer told the Blade, referring to Power. “We were happy to share great examples of resilience, including the successful campaign led by civil society organisations last year to invalidate the homo- and transphobic referendum initiated by the government by casting purposefully spoiled ballots.”
Finland to allow Transgender people to change gender without sterilization
Country’s MPs approved series of amendments on Wednesday
HELSINKI — Lawmakers in Finland on Wednesday voted to allow Transgender people to legally change their gender without proof they had been sterilized or were unable to have children.
The Associated Press reported the amendments that Finnish MPs approved by a 113-69 vote margin will also allow Trans people who are at least 18 to legally change their name without medical intervention. Prime Minister Sanna Marin said the amendments’ passage was a priority for her government ahead of the country’s general election that will take place in April.
Seta, a Finnish LGBTQ+ and intersex rights group, described the vote as a “victory for human rights.”
Voitto ihmisoikeuksille! #Translaki vahvistaa ihmisoikeuksia Suomessa. Seuraavaksi on turvattava lasten ja nuorten oikeudet!
Kiitos valtavasti kaikille lain puolesta äänestäneille ja vaikuttamista tehneille järjestöille ja yhteistyökumppaneille! pic.twitter.com/2LkmnSJyoE
— Seta (@seta_ry) February 1, 2023
ILGA-Europe also praised the vote.
“We are thrilled to hear that the Finnish Parliament just adopted Translaki — a new law making legal gender recognition based on self-determination for adults,” said ILGA-Europe. “While there is more work to do, this is a significant step! Congratulations to all who have worked for so long on this!”
We are thrilled to hear that the Finnish Parliament just adopted #Translaki – a new law making legal gender recognition based on self-determination for adults. While there is more work to do, this is a significant step! Congratulations to all who have worked for so long on this!
— ILGA-Europe (@ILGAEurope) February 1, 2023
Dutch Constitution to be amended banning LGBTQ+ discrimination
Enshrining the rights of LGBTQ people is a “historic victory for the rainbow community,” said advocacy group COC Nederland
AMSTERDAM – The Upper House of the States General of the Netherlands, the supreme bicameral legislature of the kingdom voted to amend Article 1 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, expanding it to prohibit discrimination against someone because of a disability or sexual orientation.
In a 56–15 vote in the Eerste Kamer, [the Dutch Senate] the proposal for amendment passed and is now headed to King Willem-Alexander for his Royal assent and the Dutch government. Once approved it will be published in the Staatscourant, the official government publication that formally announces new laws in the kingdom.
LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and activists celebrated the vote. Enshrining the rights of LGBTI people in the constitution is a “historic victory for the rainbow community,” said advocacy group COC Nederland. The Dutch LGBTQ+ rights group was founded in 1946 and is considered the oldest existing LGBTQ+ organization in the world.
Dutch media outlet NL Times noted that Article 1 states that everyone in the Netherlands “shall be treated equally in equal circumstances.” The following sentence goes on to explicitly mention several examples, including “religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex.” That list will now be expanded.
The procedure for such an adjustment takes years because it has to be voted on several times. With the Senate’s vote, that process has now been completed.
The change was the result of an initiative from coalition party D66 and left wing opposition parties PvdA and GroenLinks that has developed over the course of twelve years. “You can rightly call this day historic!” said D66 Member of Parliament Alexander Hammelburg, who helped defend the law in the Senate.
“A disability, or who you fall in love with, should never be a reason to be excluded,” said PvdA member Habtamu de Hoop.
NL Times also reported that since 2004, COC has advocated anchoring the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people in the Constitution. This has already happened in countries such as Sweden, Portugal, Malta, Mexico and South Africa.
An association representing people with physical and mental disabilities, or chronic illnesses, also called it a “historic” day. “Adding the disability basis to Article 1 is historic news,” said Ieder(in) director Illya Soffer. “The government is given an additional task to permanently improve and strengthen the position of people with a disability. Not only in legislation, but also in practice,” Soffer continued.
France: Bullying & homophobia- 13 year old dies by suicide
According to the most recent statistics every year in France 700,000 pupils are victims of harassment at school
GOLBEY, France – A 13-year-old student, the victim of homophobia and bullying at his school, was buried yesterday a week after he killed himself. The death shook this small township of around 8,000 people in northeastern France.
Identified only as Lucas, the young boy was a student at the Louis Armand college in Golbey. [The school is rough equivalent to an American middle school]
According to the French LGBTQ+ media outlet Têtu.com and media outlet ici par France Bleu & France 3, Valérie Dautreme, the academic director of the national education services in the Vosges, labeled the news “terrible” and acknowledged Lucas and his mother reported “mockery” related to the teenager’s sexual orientation from the first parent-teacher meeting last Fall in September.
While the family has yet to comment on the circumstances leading to their son’s death, Dautreme says “the situation was taken very seriously by the establishment, by the head teacher,” claiming that school staff and peer groups intervened. She then said that in regards to the initial reporting of the bullying that “For us, and I mean at this stage, the situation had been resolved: Lucas said afterwards that things had settled down, that he was no longer being teased.”
Referring to his suicide she noted, “obviously, the investigation is in progress and for the moment, these are only incomplete elements.”
“The family is destroyed by grief. The boy’s mother is asking for justice, she wants the investigation to identify those responsible so that they are punished – underlined the family’s attorney, Catherine Faivre. “Lucas had expressed that he was gay and his classmates were aware of it.”
The case drew the attention of France’s First Lady, Brigitte Macron, who has intervened taking up the cause against bullying in the nation’s schools using Lucas’ case to spotlight the need for reform and prevention.
“I am in favor of raising the awareness of teaching staff and those who work in universities and high schools to better identify cases of harassment,” Macron told Le Parisien.
A portion of the teen’s diary was publicly disclosed in which he had written “I want to end it,” press accounts noted that he kept the diary locked in his desk drawer in his bedroom. The diary’s existence was disclosed as part of the ongoing investigation into the teen’s death by Frédéric Nahon, the local prosecutor [District Attorney] who noted in press accounts that the teenager’s diary was examined by the investigators who found there are no direct allusions to the reasons for the suicide.
Nahon said that the first interrogations of the family’s acquaintances and neighbors confirmed the existence of repeated homophobic teasing and insults. Nahon is trying to determine “the exact content of the insults, the duration over time of the bullying acts and any omissions by those who were aware of the facts.” No criminal complaints have been filed.
According to the most recent statistics every year in France 700,000 pupils are victims of harassment at school.
Last February France’s parliament adopted a new law that will make school bullying a criminal offence, which either students or staff can be prosecuted for Euronews reported.
Those found guilty under the new legislation face a €45,000 if the victim of bullying is unable to attend schools for up to eight days.
But more serious incidents can be punished with up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of €150,000 for longer periods of school absence or if the victim commits suicide or attempts to.
“Homophobia kills,” France’s openly gay Transport Minister Clément Beaune said to French media outlets after learning of the teen’s suicide.
The Louis Armand college, which has 697 students, is involved in the national pHARe system to fight against bullying and its teachers are trained and students are also required to take classes to prevent bullying.
A crowd-fundraiser to defray funeral costs for the family was able to raise €7,554 ($8,182.76 USD).
The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgment-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386.
If you or anyone you love is experiencing mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help. You can call or text the number 988, which will direct you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
It is free and available 24 hours a day.
Irish government pledges to ban conversion therapy in 2023
Openly gay minister described practice as ‘cruel process’
DUBLIN, Ireland — The Irish government has committed to banning so-called conversion therapy in the country this year.
The Irish Mirror newspaper reported Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Minister Roderic O’Gorman, who is openly gay, last month described conversion therapy as a”cruel process rooted in the promotion of shame.” O’Gorman also stressed “a process that seeks for somebody to change their sexual orientation or gender identity is extremely exploitative, particularly if undertaken on someone under 18.
“I’d hope to bring the legislation into the Dáil (the lower house of the Irish Parliament) next year,” he told the Irish Mirror. “Obviously, legislation takes time but I think it’s possible we could have it passed by the end of the year. That’s certainly what I’d be working towards, but it could drift into 2024.”
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is also openly gay.
Malta, Brazil and Canada are among the countries that ban the widely discredited practice.
Then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision last year to exclude Transgender people from a bill to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales sparked outrage among LGBTQ+ and intersex activists. The British government subsequently cancelled an LGBTQ+ and intersex rights conference after advocacy groups announced they would boycott it.
Belgian Parliament approves a ban on conversion therapy
“Belgium is a pioneer in the field of LGBTQ rights- but a ban [on conversion practices] was sadly missing from our legislative arsenal”
BRUSSELS – The Federal bicameral Parliament of Belgium approved a ban on the practise of conversion therapy according to the State Secretary for Gender Equality, Equal Opportunity and Diversity Sarah Schlitz.
The Brussels Times, an English-language Belgian news website and magazine, reported that in a press statement Schlitz said: “Belgium is a pioneer in the field of LGBTQ rights. Numerous legislative reforms and social efforts bear witness to this, but a ban [on conversion practices] was sadly missing from our legislative arsenal,” Schlitz said in a press release.
The Belgian Cabinet has approved a new law to ban LGBT+ conversion practices, with practitioners facing a maximum punishment of two years imprisonment if found liable. The law will come into effect once approved by the Chamber of Representatives 🇧🇪🏳️🌈 https://t.co/TGf8egxi4h— Global Equality Caucus (@Equality_Caucus) November 18, 2022
The Brussels based non-profit educational think tank association, Centre Permanent pour la Citoyenneté et la Participation, noted in a May 2022 report that the practices, which are aimed at changing or removing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, can take many forms ranging from the discussion table to drug treatments or exorcism sessions.
The Centre found that overall the affect of conversion therapy had long term damaging affects. The report went on to note that conversion therapy practices are “deceptive, ineffective and dangerous” practices that aim to change, suppress or eliminate the sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression of LGBTQ people.
Methods range from psychotherapy and electroshock therapy to beatings and even “corrective rape.” They can take place in religious, medical or sectarian environments, can be carried out by relatives or pseudo-professionals and have terrible consequences for the people who undergo them, The Brussels Times reported quoting the findings.
“The opportunity to be yourself and the freedom to live the way you want is a fundamental principle of our society that must not be compromised under any circumstances,” Schlitz said. “This prohibition is a powerful act to protect the victims from this symbolic, psychological and sometimes physical violence.”
The Times went on to report that anyone caught practising and violating the ban may be facing imprisonment of one month to two years and/or a fine of €100 to €300.
The language of the law also specifies that [the court] will also take into account whether the offence was committed by a person in a recognised position of trust, authority or influence over the victim and whether the offence was committed against a minor or a person in a vulnerable situation.
Suggesting or inciting conversion practices, directly or indirectly, will also be penalised. The court will be able to prohibit people convicted of conversion practices from carrying out a professional or social activity related to the commission of these offences for a maximum period of five years, the Times noted.
Lithuanian filmmaker uses work to advance LGBTQ+, intersex rights
Romas Zabarauskas came out in 2011 at Vilnius Film Festival
WASHINGTON — A gay filmmaker from Lithuania who describes himself as the “Baltic enfant terrible” uses his work to promote LGBTQ+ and intersex rights.
Romas Zabarauskas, 32, grew up in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital.
He told the Washington Blade during an interview in D.C. in August that he initially wanted to be an actor, but soon realized he wanted to direct films.
Zabarauskas said the classic films — including John Waters’ “Pink Flamingos” and Douglas Sirk’s “All that Heaven Allows” —he watched in a local library exposed him to “the diversity of the world.” He also said Todd Haynes, Derek Jarman, Gregg Araki and other LGBTQ+ and intersex filmmakers “inspired” him.
“I enjoyed the diversity of the world,” he said. “It wasn’t just in terms of sexuality and gender identity, but also in terms of diversity of styles and ways of expression. It was amazing because it made me feel accepted.”
“It all sounds kind of trivial, but it’s true,” added Zabarauskas. “Cinema captures stories from all across the world in such different ways. That’s kind of amazing. I was definitely inspired by that.”
Zabarauskas studied at Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis University from 2009-2011 and at City College of New York: Hunter College from 2011-2012.
Zabarauskas’ first film, “Porno Melodrama,” which details a gay man’s decision to make a pornographic movie with his ex-girlfriend in order to make enough money for him and his boyfriend to leave Lithuania, premiered at Berlin Film Festival in 2011.
“There are many other films that have this kind of paranoia about gay villains, queer villains. I almost wanted to do something opposite,” Zabarauskas told the Blade while discussing the film. “It’s as though heterosexuality becomes this villain through the character of this villain, this ex-girlfriend. I wanted to play with that, allow myself that freedom to go very far. The title really hints more so, not to the erotic aspect of the film, because it’s not as explicit reality, but it’s more about the style of the film because it’s so out there.”
Zabarauskas came out as gay during “Porno Melodrama”‘s premiere at the Vilnius Film Festival.
“Very few people were out (in Lithuania) then in 2011,” he noted. “I got a lot of media attention … I talked about what it means to be gay on TV, print and all kinds of media.”
“It was a double-edged sword,” added Zabarauskas. “I was happy to contribute with my openness and I continue to do so today. On the other hand, I got so much pressure … the direct homophobia is understandable and easy to dissect. You know what it is, but then there was a lot of gray zone. I feel like I was trapped. I went under this huge scrutiny.”
The Berlin Film Festival then screened “Porno Melodrama.”
“I traveled the world, but then because I got so much media attention in Lithuania I was scrutinized by the critics and by film lovers and a lot of people (said) that I’m more of an activist,” said Zabarauskas. “I’m more of a public speaker than a filmmaker. The way I see it: Artists should be engaged or can be engaged, and it doesn’t contradict the art.”
The Lithuanian Film Center funded Zabarauskas’ third feature film, “The Lawyer,” which debuted in 2020.
“The Lawyer” highlights Marius, a gay corporate lawyer who forms what Zabarauskas describes as “an unexpected, human relationship” with Ali, Syrian refugee who is unable to leave Belgrade, Serbia, after his estranged father dies. Zabarauskas noted to the Blade that “The Lawyer” is the first Lithuanian film that portrays a male same-sex relationships and is one of the few made in Eastern Europe that shows LGBTQ+ and intersex refugees.
“I’m always interested in delving into very complicated political situations, but rather than to educate or send a direct message, I’m looking to find nuance and I’m looking to find interesting human drama,” he said. “I also don’t shy away from the kind of dialogue that they [Marius and Ali] have, in which they criticize [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad. It’s so important not to forget that that was still ongoing and actually its fueled by Russia and by Putin.”
Lithuanian television showed “The Lawyer” for the first time on Nov. 11.
Lithuanian Shorts, in 2021 screened “Porno Melodrama,” which coincided with the film’s revival. Zabarauskas’ films have also been screened at the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival and at New York City Pride’s human rights conference.
Zabarauskas spoke with the Blade nearly six months after Russia began its war against Ukraine.
Lithuania borders the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, whose president, Alexander Lukashenko, is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, a year before it dissolved.
Zabarauskas noted then-Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė in 2014 labeled Russia a “terrorist state” after it annexed Crimea. Lithuanian MPs in May unanimously approved a resolution that described Russia’s war against Ukraine as an “act of genocide.”
“It’s the first time that I can be so proud of my country,” Zabarauskas told the Blade, referring to Lithuania’s posture towards Russia. “I’m actually very proud that Lithuania is right in terms of its foreign policy towards Russia and has been for a while.”
Zabarauskas acknowledged there is “fear” among Lithuanians about whether Russia will target their country, but he said, “that primal fear isn’t there anymore.” Zabarauskas also noted Lithuanians have welcomed Ukrainians into their homes.
“That’s been inspiring,” he said.
Gay U.S. ambassador ‘setting a personal example’
Lithuania bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and has lifted restrictions for male blood donors who have sex with men. Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for LGBTQ+ and intersex rights, is among the more than 15,000 people who attended Baltic Pride 2022 in Vilnius in June.
Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, the country’s second openly gay MP, is running to become Vilnius’ next mayor in 2023. Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.S. Audra Plepytė met with Zabarauskas when he was in D.C.
“Us artists, we have this opportunity to build bridges, to make pressure,” said Zabarauskas. “We sometimes have more freedom than politicians in what we can say and what we can do. I always try to use that in meeting diplomats and politicians and reminding them that the Lithuania LGBT+ is a part of Lithuanian society and we should celebrate our rights and our lives and that’s important.”
The Harvey Milk Foundation in 2021 honored Zabarauskas for his work. Zabarauskas noted this recognition to the Blade and applauded openly gay U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Bob Gilchrist’s “personal leadership” on LGBTQ+ and intersex rights.
“I appreciate his leadership and I appreciate that he’s setting a personal example,” said Zabarauskas. “He’s making some impactful speeches at different events.”
Lithuania is one of only six European Union member states that do not legally recognize same-sex couples.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky in August announced his support for a civil partnership law for same-sex couples. Zabarauskas told the Blade he hopes Lithuanian lawmakers will follow the Ukrainian president’s lead and back an identical measure that has been introduced in Parliament.
“It’s so huge and a lot of people are inspired by those words, including in Lithuania,” said Zabarauskas. “I think it will be impactful in terms of our chances to get the civil unions law passed because it’s going to be very difficult to twist those words.”
Zabarauskas also said he and his fiancé want to get married in Lithuania.
“We got engaged earlier this year and we don’t want to get married abroad because it wouldn’t change anything in Lithuania,” he said.
Poland’s highest court rules same-sex marriages aren’t forbidden
Poland has drawn condemnations from the European Union for its discriminatory laws surrounding LGBTQ+ people
WARSAW, Poland – The Supreme Administrative Court of the Republic of Poland (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny, NSA) issued a ruling this week on Thursday that same-sex marriages of Polish citizens legally married in other countries were not expressly forbidden under the country’s constitution.
Article 18 of the constitution states: “marriage as a union of a man and a woman, family, motherhood and parenthood are under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland.”
“Article 18 of the constitution cannot in itself constitute an obstacle to transcribing a foreign marriage certificate if the institution of marriage as a union of persons of the same sex was provided for in the domestic [legal] order,” the court ruled.
“The provision of the constitution in question does not prohibit the statutory regulation of same-sex unions,” said the court, adding that it was simply the case that “at present the Polish legislature has not decided to introduce such solutions” into Polish law.
The suit had been brought by Jakub Kwieciński and Dawid Mycek, a gay couple who are popular vloggers and social media celebrities who had legally married in Portugal. The case was litigated in the lower courts after the governor of the Polish province of Mazovia refused to acknowledge that their nuptials were legal.
Ordo Iuris, a Polish ultraconservative legal group that has campaigned against what it labels “LGBT ideology,” tweeted that the decision was “fake news.”
LGBTQ rights have become a hotly contested issue in Poland in recent years that has been met by a conservative backlash in this heavily Catholic nation.
The majority of Polish people support LGBTQ+ rights surrounding marriage and family, according to research by Miłość Nie Wyklucza (Love Does Not Exclude).
The survey found 56% of respondents believe same-sex marriage should be legal to ensure the safety of their children. Even more, 65%, said they felt “a biological parent raising a child with a same-sex partner” fits the definition of family. And 58% of people said a same-sex couple is a family even without children.
According to Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland is one of only six European Union member states where same-sex couples cannot marry or register a civil partnership.
The survey reveals a stark difference between the Polish government and public opinion on LGBTQ+ rights.
As a result of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, and the continued limits on LGBTQ rights in Poland, the country has for the last three years been ranked as the worst in the European Union for LBGTQ people by ILGA-Europe, a Brussels-based NGO.
Poland has also drawn condemnations from the EU for its discriminatory laws surrounding LGBTQ+ people.
In September, the European Commission threatened to withhold pandemic relief funds, totaling over 126 million euros ($150 million), in Polish jurisdictions that passed measures forming “LGBTQ Free Zones.”
Some regions have since repealed the anti-LGBTQ+ resolution.
In 2020, Poland narrowly re-elected President Andrzej Duda, who ran a campaign that regularly attacked the LGBTQ+ community, according to Pink News.
Polish LGBTQ+ advocates are also pushing back against a proposed law that would ban the so-called “promotion” of LGBTQ+ lifestyles. It would also make Pride parades illegal.
Giorgia Meloni: Italy’s far-right anti-LGBTQ party leader wins
After years of activism she carved a space for herself in the Italian political arena & is now set to be Italy’s first female prime minister
ROME – Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, head of the Brothers of Italy party, appeared to have won in Sunday’s snap general elections according to exit polling. In a coalition with other right wing parties, Meloni’s right-wing alliance now looks to have control of both houses, with a projected 42.2% of the Senate vote.
This will lead to her forming Italy’s most right-wing government since World War Two and Meloni is now set to be Italy’s first female prime minister. However, the final say will rest with Sergio Mattarella the President of Italy, a decision that is expected to take some time according to political observers in Rome familiar with the inner workings of the Italian government.
Turnout for Sunday’s elections was dramatically low – 63.82% by the time polls closed – said Italy’s interior ministry, almost 10 points down on 2018. Voting levels were especially poor in southern regions including Sicily.
Meloni’s Facebook post made after the results had been announced translates to:
History we made today.
This victory is dedicated to all the militants, managers, supporters and every single person who – in these years – has contributed to the realization of our dream, offering soul and heart spontaneously and selflessly.
To those who, despite the difficulties and the most complex moments, have remained in their place, with conviction and generosity. But, above all, it’s dedicated to those who believe and have always believed in us.
We won’t betray your trust. We are ready to lift Italy up.
THANK YOU !
Meloni is seen as polarizing figure with some of her political stances and rhetoric on the European Union aligning her close to Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban. However, Professor Gianluca Passarrelli of Rome’s Sapienza University told the BBC he thought she would avoid rocking the boat on Europe and focus on other policies: “I think we will see more restrictions on civil rights and policies on LGBT and immigrants.”
Meloni has long displayed antagonism and intolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community. She has stated that she perceives sees LGBTQ as menacing and threatening Western civilization.
The BBC noted that earlier this year she outlined her priorities in a raucous speech to Spain’s far-right Vox party: “Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology… no to Islamist violence, yes to secure borders, no to mass migration… no to big international finance… no to the bureaucrats of Brussels!”
As LGBTQ+ equity and equality rights are foundational to the European Union and its governing commission, some see Meloni as combatting the EU over LGBTQ+ issues in the same vein as Hungary’s Orban.
On other issues Meloni doesn’t claim to “oppose” Europe, but rather she outlines a model of integration that may or may not go down well in Brussels euronews reported.
“If we had an EU more like the one we imagine, we would have developed a more effective defence policy, invested in energy security and maintained short value chains to avoid reliance on third – often untrustworthy – countries for gas, raw materials, commodities, chips and other goods,” she stated.
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