Press release: MEPs join forces to tackle hate crime and speech against LGBTI persons

Strasbourg, 13 September 2021

On 13 August 2021, MEPs belonging to the LGBTI Intergroup got together for a photo action to call for far-reaching legislation on tackling hate crime and hate speech against LGBTIQ persons.

Hate crime and speech remain pervasive. FRA reports that, “in some areas and some Member States, LGBTIQ people’s experiences of discrimination and hate crime are increasing.”[1] ILGA-Europe corroborates these findings and identifies “a stark rise in abuse and hate speech against LGBTI people”, both from official sources, in the media and online. In particular, it reports that “the trend of politicians verbally attacking LGBTI people has grown sizeably and spread“ in Europe.[2]

Terry Reintke MEP (Greens-EFA), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, comments:

Hate speech causes stigma, misunderstanding and exclusion of LGBTI persons to continue. The numerous attacks on the homo-lesbo-trans community of 2021 illustrate how present LGBTIQ-phobia is in media and politics. A European response is long overdue. The upcoming legislation of the Commission is a needed proposal, but for it to be effective, it must cover all grounds: sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. If we want to protect the community, this protection must be comprehensive.

Marc Angel MEP (S&D), Co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup, concludes:

Hate crimes remain largely under-reported. Fear of reprisal by authorities, re-traumatisation or re-victimisation are only three reasons. But all these can be addressed at European level by adopting legislation explicitly naming grounds which constitute aggravating circumstances. In addition, Member States must commit to training its law enforcement appropriately. Our approach to hate crime must be victim-centred and uncompromising. Notably, data shows that intersex and trans persons are the most affected by violence. This is why today we stand with them in their fight to feel safe wherever they are in our Union.

Background:

On 12 November 2020, the European Commission launched the “LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025”,[3] in which it committed to “present an initiative in 2021 to extend the list of ‘EU crimes’ (Article 83 TFEU) to cover hate crime and hate speech, including when targeted at LGBTIQ people.”


[1] Fundamental Right Agency – FRA (2021), “Fundamental Rights Report – 2021: FRA Opinions”, available at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2014_2019/plmrep/COMMITTEES/LIBE/DV/2021/09-01/fra-2021-fundamental-rights-report-2021-opinions_EN.pdf.

[2] ILGA-Europe (2021), “Annual Review: Highlights, Key Developments and Trends”, available at https://ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/Highlights%2C%20Key%20Developments%20and%20Trends.pdf.

[3] European Commission (2020), “LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020-2025”, available at https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/lgbtiq_strategy_2020-2025_en.pdf.

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