Hate speech and attacks against LGBTQ+ Europeans are on the rise – here’s where it’s the worst

Hate speech and attacks against LGBTQ+ Europeans are on the rise – here’s where it’s the worst
ILGA Europe

There has been a “sharp increase in online hate-speech and physical attacks” on LGBTQ+ people across Europe, according to a new report.

Released by the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe), the report stated:

This is a pan-European phenomenon. This review identifies growing official hate speech from political and religious leaders in countries including Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.

The report pointed to the banning of LGBTQ+ events in countries like Armenia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and Turkey.

It also said that there was a “growing presence” of neo-Nazi protesters in public spaces during events such as Pride parades and film screenings.

The UK didn’t escape unscathed either, with the report citing that the “populist narrative” surrounding Brexit can be linked to an increase in anti-LGBTQI+ hate crimes and incidents in England and Wales.

Alongside the report, ILGA-Europe publishes a map of the best and worst countries in Europe when it comes to the rights of sexual and gender minorities:

This year, although Malta topped the list and Azerbaijan came out at the bottom, again – a phenomenon that’s happened several years in a row – their overall percentages decreased.

For example, Malta achieved 90.35% last year but dropped down to 89.10%. Similarly, Azerbaijan received a score of only 3.33 per cent in 2019 but 2.33 per cent this year.

The trend for the UK is also a worrying one – having come in ninth place this year, bumped from eighth last year and fourth from the year before. This is despite achieving 65.34% last year and 66.15% this year.

The report found that there has been no positive change for LGBTQ+ people in the past year in 49 per cent of the countries analysed.

It’s not all bad news though, with the report stating:

Measures to tackle hate speech or strengthen already existing legislation have been announced or adopted in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. But given the current context, and the repercussions for wider society, it is surprising that more governments are not proactively adopting measures such as effective legislation, action plans and trainings of public authorities.

The report recommended more “political commitment to ensure effective implementation” of pro-LGBTQ+ laws and initiatives.

Key areas of concern are trans people's access to healthcare, bullying in schools and LGBTQ+ people being denied services.

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