Council of Europe confirms report denouncing ‘virulent’ LGBTQ attacks
STRASBOURG, France — The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday voted in favor of a scathing report that denounces “virulent attacks” against LGBTQ people in several countries, including the United Kingdom.
The report – titled ‘Combating growing hatred against LGBTI people in Europe’ – by the council, an international human rights organization from 47 countries founded after World War II, took aim at European countries allowing the ‘backsliding’ LGBTQ rights on the continent.
“The growing hatred against LGBTI people that we are witnessing in Europe today is the result of sustained and often well-organized attacks on their human rights,” the report reads, adding that “States must take all emergency” to “prevent further regression”.
The parliamentary branch of the council voted 48 to 6 to adopt the report.
Although the resolution recognizes that Europe has made “significant progress in making equal rights a reality”, it notes an “increase in hate speech and hate crime”. He added that many attacks “come from political and religious leaders.”
Specifically, the report criticized Hungary, Poland, the Russian Federation, Turkey and the United Kingdom for launching “virulent attacks” against LGBTQ people “for years”.
“These attacks deliberately misrepresent the struggle for LGBTI equality as a so-called ‘gender ideology’ and seek to stifle the identities and realities of all those who challenge the social constructs that perpetuate gender inequalities. gender and gender-based violence in our societies,” it read.
The report adds that believing in “gendered” views denies “the very existence of LGBTI people”. [and] dehumanize[s] them.”
The vote comes at a time when some European nations are attacking LGBTQ rights.
Poland has made headlines around the world for its “LGBTQ free zones” and a proposed law that would ban the so-called “promotion” of LGBTQ+ lifestyles.
In September, the European Commission threatened to withhold pandemic relief funds, totaling more than 126 million euros ($150 million), from Polish jurisdictions that have passed measures forming “LGBTQ free zones.” . Some regions have since repealed the anti-LGBTQ+ resolution.
Last year, Hungary passed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality and gender affirmation surgery to minors.
In response, the European Union (EU) has launched legal action against Hungary, claiming the legislation violates the “fundamental rights of LGBTIQ people” under EU law. Hungary has since announced that it will hold a referendum on the law in April.
David Blencathra – a member of the House of Lords, the second chamber of the British Parliament – condemned the UK’s inclusion in the resolution to fellow parliamentarians.
‘I have never before seen a work of fiction as biased, distorted and utterly false as his commentary on the UK,’ he said, adding: ‘we don’t need lectures on how to protect the rights of homosexuals”.
Blencathra also agreed with Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s statement, “erase gender and you erase same-sex attraction”. Many people denounced Rowling’s comment, among others, as being transphobic.
“It’s not trans people who are being attacked in the UK, it’s women,” he said.
However, the report notes that “these attacks are harmful to women as well as to LGBTI people”.
In the end, Blencathra was one of six to vote against the resolution.
In conclusion, the report states that governments and parliaments “must redouble their efforts to dismantle the heteronormative structures and anti-gender movements in our societies, which perpetuate gender inequality and prevent the acceptance of LGBTI people in as equals – and who, in doing so, rob LGBTI people (and all women) of their dignity and respect.
“LGBTI equality is not a zero-sum game, nor a battle for revolutionary ideas,” he said. “It’s a matter of dignity and fundamental rights.”
Editor’s note: The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is the oldest organization working for European integration with a particular focus on legal standards and the protection of human rights, democratic development and the rule of law in Europe. It is an international organization with recognized legal personality under public international law serving 800 million Europeans in 47 Member States.
The work of the Council of Europe has resulted in standards, charters and conventions aimed at facilitating co-operation between European countries and further integration.