“Freedom of expression is a pre-condition for dialogue and mutual understanding, and is instrumental to fighting homophobia and transphobia,” said Robert Biedroń (Poland, SOC), general rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), speaking on the eve of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), which has been celebrated on 17 May each year since 2004.
“This year, the International Day puts a special emphasis on freedom of expression for sexual and gender minorities. It is a timely choice, as this is currently under threat in Europe, not least because of the bans on so-called ‘homosexual propaganda’ enacted or proposed in several Council of Europe member states.
The right to conduct peaceful demonstrations is also a core human right which is not always guaranteed for LGBT people, either because the authorities refuse to authorise Pride marches or because they fail to adequately protect demonstrators against acts of violence and harassment.
Allowing everybody to express themselves, to live their lives in the open and to enjoy basic freedoms without discrimination is not only a matter of respecting individual rights but also of promoting a more inclusive society, one which stands firm against intolerance.”