‘Political backlash’ blamed for halting LGBT+ rights gains in Europe

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05/17/2021

Progress on laws to boost LGBT+ rights has come to a virtual standstill in Europe amid a rise in homophobic and anti-transgender rhetoric by politicians in countries including Poland and Hungary, an advocacy group said on Monday. Britain, Italy and Ukraine were among the nations that scored lower rankings in this year’s “Rainbow Europe” index compiled by ILGA-Europe, which said legislative reforms had stalled due to increasing polarisation over LGBT+ rights. “There’s been a clear political backlash in many countries, and not just ones grabbing headlines like Poland and Hungary,” Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s executive director, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. Under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary has excluded same-sex marriage from the constitution, effectively banned gay adoptions and legal recognition of trans people, and often depicts homosexuality as an aberration. In Poland, LGBT+ rights have become a flashpoint in a wider culture war unfolding between religious conservatives and liberals, highlighting what Paradis described as “growing political polarisation” in various countries. “It’s becoming harder to mobilise across the political spectrum to get the issues done. There’s mounting opposition. There’s also frankly a lack sometimes of political will to see it through,” she said.

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