EU urged to address homophobia

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background. Exclusive

Homophobia must be targeted by members of the European Union (EU) or “anarchy” will prevail, the president of the EU’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights warned today.

European politicians are currently debating a joint draft resolution addressing an increase in racist and homophobic violence on the continent, to be voted on tomorrow.

Former EastEnder turned Labour MEP told “It’s vital that this resolution is adopted by the Parliament tomorrow because unless we defend the principles and the treaties that every member state signed up to we will have anarchy which has no regard for the rights and freedoms of individuals or minorities.

Homophobic rhetoric has increased amongst politicians in Poland recently, last month deputy minister of education Miroslaw Orzechowskiego, accused the Campaign against Homophobia, a Polish gay group, of “depraving young people.” Pointing to an international seminar on gender stereotypes that the group co-sponsored in 2005, he said the ministry would work to “prevent such organisations from getting money in the future.”

In recent weeks, another Polish minister, Wojciech Wierzejski, blamed “homos” for conspiring against him.

President Lech Kaczynski, the former leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party, has long opposed lesbian and gay people’s rights to expression and assembly. When serving as mayor of Warsaw, he attempted to ban Gay Pride marches in 2004 and 2005. He refused to meet with the parade organisers, saying, “I am not willing to meet perverts.” During his presidential campaign, Mr Kaczynski said that he would continue to ban gay demonstrations, as “public promotion of homosexuality will not be allowed.”

More recently gay bars have been closed and organisations banned in Warsaw.

Mr Cashman said: “Importantly we must tell the Polish government that homophobic hate speech and attacks on the gay community are unacceptable and in direct contradiction to the obligations that they’ve signed up to.

“I was in Warsaw for the Gay Pride march and what I will always remember are those men and women. young and old, who waved at us and applauded us, as we walked through the streets.

“This confirmed to me that this extremist right wing coalition government is not representative of the decent majority of Polish citizens.”