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European Parliament declares EU an LGBTIQ freedom zone

Photo from Pierre Karleskind

The European Parliament declared the EU an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone” on Wednesday, mostly in response to increasingly visible homophobia in Eastern Europe.

Polish municipalities recently announced themselves as being “free from LGBTIQ ideology,” and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban complained last week about “LGTBIQ madness.”

With the passing of the LGBTIQ Freedom Zone measure, members of the European Parliament are hoping to make clear that discrimination on the basis of sexuality is contrary to fundamental human rights, according to De Standaard.

“In 2021, there should be no more hatred and discrimination, whether in Poland or Belgium, where a shocking murder that was perhaps motivated by extreme homophobia shook us awake,” said Tom Vandenkendelaere, referring to the recent murder of a gay man in a park outside of Antwerp.

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“The EU is a place in the world where everyone enjoys the same freedoms and rights, regardless of how we are born,” Vandenkendelaere said.

“Being yourself is not an ideology. It is your identity. No one can ever take it away,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

There has already been backlash against the measure.

“Do we want this ideology to be introduced into our schools, against the wishes of the parents? Western Europe is engaged in ideological propaganda from kindergarten,” said Ryszard Legutko, a polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists.

Legutko denied that Poland is creating LGBTIQ-free zones and said that his colleagues should declare the EU a zone of freedom of common sense.

In Belgium, the famous Manneken Pis statue was dressed in the costume French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier created for it back in 2015 on the anniversary of the 20th Belgian Pride Day, a gesture of support for the European Parliament’s measure.

MEP Pierre Karleskind, who introduced the new resolution, visited the statue with fellow MEPs Terry Reintke and Marc Angel with facemasks and flags bearing the Pride rainbow.

“Seeing the symbol of Belgium in its finest Pride costume on the day we vote on my resolution defending LGBTIQ rights in Europe is a strong and symbolic message,” Karleskind told Bruzz.

“As recent events show us, homophobia still exists in Europe, even outside of Poland. It’s there in every country, every capital, every city and every village.”

Karleskind emphasised the importance of responding to tensions surrounding LGBTIQ issues among European member states, saying that such discrimination goes against basic European values.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times

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