In the past ten years, LGBTQ+ people have rarely been confronted with as much violence as in 2022. This is the conclusion of the European LGBTQ+ organization ILGA-Europe in its twelfth annual report. The organization makes a direct connection to hate speech against LGBTQ+ people from opinion makers, religious leaders and politicians.
As an example of violence, ILGA-Europe cites the attacks on LGBTQ+ bars in Norway and Slovakia, in which a total of four people died and 22 were injured. The organization also cites numerous examples of violence and suicide.
In its twelfth annual report, ILGA-Europe outlines an increase in hate speech against LGBTQ+ people across Europe. In doing so, antipathy towards the rainbow community is exploited for political gain. According to ILGA, these are widespread hate speech by politicians, religious leaders, far-right organizations and opinion formers.
ILGA sees a connection with the many cases of violence against the European LGBTQ+ community in the past year. In addition to the attacks in Norway and Slovakia, the organization reports on other murders, suicides and violence. The organization sees this trend not only in countries that are considered conservative when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues.
HATE SPEECH LEADS TO VIOLENCE
ILGA-Europe director Evelyne Paradis: “We have been saying for years that hate speech ultimately translates into physical violence. In recent years, we have seen that violence become increasingly deadly, making LGBTQ+ people feel unsafe in many European countries. We see that hate speech is not limited to the words of fringe politicians and autocratic leaders, but leads to real problems for our community. We see this phenomenon not only in countries where hatred of LGBTQ+ people is widespread, but also in countries where LGBTQ+ people are increasingly accepted.”
Fortunately, according to the annual report, there has been an increase in the prosecution of perpetrators of hate speech and violence against the LGBTQ+ community in several European countries. However, according to ILGA director Paradis, that is not enough.
“The focus must be on preventing hate speech,” said Paradis. “It is good that politicians across Europe are expressing their horror at the violence against the LGBTQ+ community. But we expect our leaders to fight hate speech and not just react to the consequences.”
According to ILGA-Europe, there is also good news. Progress is being made in several European countries. According to ILGA, it is always activists and LGBTQ+ organizations that succeed in bringing about positive social developments and achieving legal protection.
Katrin Hugendubel, head of advocacy at ILGA-Europe: “LHBTQ+ activists play a central role in countries where progress is being made. We see this, for example, in Spain and Finland, where the movement – despite enormous opposition – successfully argued for gender registration to be based on self-determination. The same goes for other topics: LGBTQ+ activists and organizations are driving change across Europe.”