Position on combating homophobic and transphobic speech and prohibiting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence

ILGA-Europe’s position is based on international human rights standards. It respects the principle of indivisibility of human rights and establishes no hierarchy between rights and freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It can by no means be understood as an attempt to limit the expression of different opinions in the frame of legitimate political debates relating to the rights of LGBTI people.

General principles

  • ILGA-Europe calls on public authorities to adopt comprehensive strategies to combat prejudice and to promote dialogue, education and mutual respect to achieve full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people in a society free from intolerance.
  • ILGA-Europe believes that public authorities must guarantee LGBTI people’s freedom of expression, a necessary condition to combat intolerance, prejudice and incitement.

Comprehensive action against prejudice

  • ILGA-Europe calls on governments, legislatures, independent equality bodies and other public authorities to implement sound anti-discrimination and awareness raising policies in their respective remit. This includes mechanisms to tackle and react to manifestations of intolerance and prejudice in all relevant sectors.
  • The area of education is a priority in that respect. Another priority is the professional training of all relevant public sector professionals. Public information campaigns are equally necessary, particularly in areas such as intolerance on-line or in sports.
  • The media and their professional organisations should be encouraged to develop and respect codes of conduct reflecting equality principles and to provide specific training to their staff, including on issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
  • All relevant stakeholders should cooperate with civil society organisations, including community-based organisations, in order to build on their expertise.

Prohibition of incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence

  • ILGA-Europe calls on legislators to prohibit incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence on all grounds, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, in the respect of international human rights standards (UDHR, ICCPR, ECHR). Victims should be provided with a range of appropriate remedies, including civil law redress mechanisms and the right to reply.
  • Prohibition of incitement must always be provided by law, be necessary and proportional to its objective. Relevant prohibiting provisions should be consistent with anti-discrimination and criminal legislation. They should not create penalties that would be more severe than the sanctions applicable to cases of actual discrimination, hostility and violence.
  • Legislation should define clear guidelines for Courts to assess all incitement cases in a coherent way, on the basis of well-defined criteria.

See also

Blog

#TDoR2022: Two more European countries added to annual report on trans murders

This year, for the first time, Estonia and Switzerland reported the murders of trans people. In total, 2022 saw 327 reported murders of trans and gender-diverse people in the world as a result of anti-trans violence, according to TGEU’s Trans Murder Monitoring. Although TGEU has been collecting information since 2008, most trans murders still go under-reported.
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New funding program for data-collection on violence in Europe and Central Asia

ILGA-Europe invites organisations and initiative groups from the region of Europe and Central Asia to join our program aimed to support the LGBTI movement in […]
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The timeline leading from anti-LGBTI Instagram posts to the “honour killing” of an LGBTI activist in Azerbaijan

The cousin of LGBTI activist Avaz Hafizli has been jailed for his horrific murder, which came on foot of protests against hateful Instagram posts by the Instagram star, Sevinj Huseynova, who called for the physical ‘removal’ of sexual minorities and trans people from Azerbaijan. The trial was a travesty of justice, according to activists.
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European Court Rules Against Armenia Inaction in Anti-LGBTI Hate Crime Case

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that authorities in Armenia failed to protect an LGBT bar owner and activist from homophobic physical and verbal […]
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The 5 trending attacks on the fundamental rights of LGBTI people in the EU

Right now, as the war on Ukraine escalates, democracy, human rights and equality matter more than ever in Europe. In our submission to the European Commission’s annual Rule of Law report, we’ve identified key trends in the systematic attacks on the rights of LGBTI people across EU member states.
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Commission includes LGBTI people in initiative to tackle hate crime and hate speech across the European Union

The European Commission has put forward a legal initiative to extend the list of EU crimes to include hate speech, both online and offline, and hate crime, with clear understanding that LGBTI people must be protected.
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Open letter to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen

ILGA-Europe,  OII Europe, and TGEU urge the European Commission to acknowledge the existing prevalence of the violence and incitement to discrimination against LGBTI people, through naming SOGIGESC explicitly as protected grounds in the upcoming EU-level hate crime and hate speech legal initiative.
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Say Their Names: The trans and gender diverse people whose murders were reported in Europe and Central Asia last year

The murders of 375 trans and gender-diverse people were reported between October 2020 and September 2021, according to the latest Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) update, and 2021 is set to be the deadliest year for trans communities since TGEU began collecting data. We say the names of those whose lives were cut short in our region, with a view towards a world where all trans people can live in equality, freedom and peace.
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Poland Anti-LGBTI Hate Timeline

Over the past number of years, LGBTI people have come under increasing attack from ruling politicians, religious leaders and other public figures in Poland. This […]
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How LGBTI rights are being used for political manipulation in Europe, and why that’s something everyone should be worried about

Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic has issued a powerful comment, clarifying that LGBTI people are being used as a political pawns by ultra-conservative leaders in more and more European countries, and that in turn the human rights and freedom of everyone are being undermined. Here’s what she had to say.
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LBTI women in sport: violence, discrimination, and lived experiences

In March 2021, a coalition of European networks working on LGBTI rights and including ILGA-Europe, EL*C, TGEU, OII Europe and EGLSF submitted to the Parliamentary […]
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The European Court of Human Rights finds Croatian response to violent homophobic attack fosters impunity for hate crime

A judgement issued today by the European Court of Human Rights finds that the response of Croatian authorities to a hate crime against a lesbian woman was “particularly destructive of fundamental human rights”.
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“It feels as if we’re trapped with our abusers.” Ukrainian activist Anna Sharyhina tells the story of unhindered anti-LGBTI abuse in Kharkiv

Throughout 2020, LGBTI activists have been harassed, intimidated and threatened by well-known far right groups in Ukraine, while police and local authorities turn a blind eye. Here is activist Anna Sharyhina’s alarming story, and how you can lend her and other LGBTI Ukrainian activists your support.
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Trans Day of Remembrance 2020: Honoring the 350 lives cut short this year

Every November 20, on Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), we remember those whose lives have been taken away through transphobic violence. This year’s Trans Murder Monitoring report from Transgender Europe shows the highest number of annual killings since the report was first published 12 years ago.
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Podcast: What’s it like being LGBTI in Poland in 2020?

Poland has reached a dangerous boiling point in its state-driven discrimination against LGBTI people. The first episode of ILGA-Europe’s podcast, The Frontline, goes behind the scenes to talk about a way forward for LGBTI activism in the country. Here’s what it’s all about…
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Poland’s Anti-LGBT Hate Timeline

We have created and will be updating this abbreviated timeline of what’s been happening over the past two years with the rise of official homophobia and transphobia.
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Joint Statement: End hate speech and targeted attacks against LGBTI people in Turkey

We call on Turkey to respect, guarantee, protect and fulfil the fundamental rights of the LGBTI community without discrimination as enshrined by its Constitution and equality article therein (article 10), and ratified by human rights treaty bodies.
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How you can support the Polish LGBTI community against the “LGBT-free zones”

What can be done to support the LGBTI community in Poland regarding the hate stirred through the “LGBT-free zones” and the threat to bring the authors of the Atlas of Hate to trial? 
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How official anti-LGBTI hate speech is directly translating into hate crime across Europe

ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review identifies a sharp rise in anti-LGBTI hate-speech across the European region, often carried out by public figures. To mark European Day for Victims of Crime (February 22), we report on the ways in which such rhetoric is in turn violently affecting the lives LGBTI people.
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Charting a sharp rise in anti-LGBTI hate speech across Europe

While this week Switzerland made hate speech illegal against people based on their sexual orientation, in 2019 one of the trends observed in ILGA-Europe’s Annual Review is a sharp rise in on-and-offline anti-LGBTI hate speech, often from political leaders, across Europe. As our Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis, recently shared at the Google Online Safety Summit, “LGBTI communities need to know that perpetrators of violent speech will be held responsible”.
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ILGA-Europe welcomes a landmark European Court of Human Rights judgment on online hate speech

Today, the European Court of Human Rights found Lithuania’s failure to investigate online hateful comments against a gay couple to violate their rights to private and family life as well as being discriminatory on the ground of sexual orientation.
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ILGA-Europe Welcome European Parliament Resolution Tackling the Rise in Hate against the LGBTI Community

A resolution adopted by the European Parliament today makes a strong call for an EU LGBTI strategy to counter the rise of official hate-speech and […]
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Case Law

Armine Oganezova against Armenia

Hate speech and violence against LGBTI people.
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In what is seen as a first legal victory for LGBTIQ rights in Kazakhstan, the Central Asian country’s Supreme Court has overturned a decision by […]
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Swiss Senate votes to improve protection on grounds of sexual orientation but not gender identity

On 28 November 2018, the swiss Senate of voted to criminalise hate speech and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, but refused to do the […]
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Armenia’s government must protect LGBTI citizens

In recent days, Armenia’s LGBTI community has been seriously failed on multiple occasions by national authorities after concerted attacks by conservative groups. This is a grievous […]
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Iachimovschi v. the Republic of Moldova and 5 other applications

Violence against LGBTI people
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Violent attack on LGBTQ community in Armenia

Nine members of the LGBTQ community in Armenia were attacked late last night by a group of over 30 people. According to reports received by […]
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Minasyan and others v. Armenia

Incitement to discrimination/Hate speech
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