Share article:
Share article:

LGBTI artistic freedom under threat worldwide, warns NGO

A new report released this week shows that artists are discriminated because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

The report by Freemuse, a human rights organisation that defends the right to freedom of artistic expression, documents cases and trends from January 2018 to June 2020 and shows that LGBTI artistic endeavours are marginalised globally.

“It’s alarming to witness this large scale of illegitimate restrictions of LGBTI artistic freedom including in Europe, said Dr Srirak Plipat, Freemuse Executive Director. ”Freedom of artistic expression of LGBTI artists is freedom of artistic expression of everyone.”

According to the report, at least 77 countries use criminalisation of homosexuality laws, criminal codes, and the newly popular ‘anti-LGBTI propaganda laws’ to silence LGBTI artists, while these legal instruments are inconsistent with international human rights standards in the first place.

The report was launched on Thursday (10 December) in Krakow, Poland. This was no coincidence considering the incitement against LGTBI-people in the country where a number of municipalities have declared themselves so-called LGTB-ideology free zones. In her state of union speech in September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that such zones have no place in the EU.

Krakow differs from other cities because of its special but also tragic history. ”Openness is an important feature of Krakow, whose rich heritage was created in a multicultural contact,” said Jacek Majchrowski, the major of Krakow, at an event co-organised with the City of Krakow and streamed live from ICE Krakow Congress Centre.

”Apart from outstanding and extraordinary people who came to Krakow due to various political or military situations, Krakow has always attracted ordinary immigrants who brought various cultural influences to the city’s tissue. At the same time, they contributed to the social and economic development of the city. Krakow has always been a safe haven for non-heteronormative people, including artists of all fields.”

Artists tackling LGBTI issues face disproportionate repercussions because of their work. The report shows that ggovernment authorities are overwhelmingly responsible for these violations of artistic freedom, with over half of the documented cases perpetrated by governments, especially in countries where homosexuality is criminalised.

Is there in general a negative perception of LGBTI people in Poland? “It’s a matter of stereotypes promulgated by some politicians and conservative elements in the Church,” replied Nina Gabrys, chair of the equal treatment council in Krakow. “About 70 % of the population are denouncing these stereotypes and demonstrations for the rights of LGBTI people gather surprisingly many people.”

Professor Andrzej Kulig, First Deputy Mayor of Krakow for Social and Municipal Policy, added that aggressive statements by politicians get publicity but do not necessarily reflect public opinion in the country. “There is a change today. Sexual identity isn’t stigmatized as it used to be in the past.”

Asked about the “LGBT free zones”, he replied that they are not legal and express the frustration of local politicians. There is no formal censorship of artistic freedom during the coronavirus crisis but there may be other forms of suppression of freedom.

“The report means a lot for Krakow. We wanted it to be published in our city to show that we are on the right side and that we respect the artistic freedom of all,” he summarized.

M. Apelblat
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Hire bikes and scooters: Brussels Parliament wants to restore order
Majority parties in the Brussels Parliament plan to enact new rules allowing communes to set specific and mandatory parking spaces for hire bikes and ...
‘Fourth wave’ has begun: These are the rules
The expected fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has begun, according to Belgium’s Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit). Belgium’s ...
Coronavirus: Ending the pandemic is ‘a choice,’ says WHO chief
The Covid-19 pandemic will end “when the world chooses to end it” because “all the tools” are now available to fight the virus, the World Health ...
‘Can’t keep count’: Instagram page for sexual assault testimonies overwhelmed
An Instagram account compiling testimonies in an effort to give a voice to victims of sexual violence in bars and nightclubs has been overwhelmed ...
Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...