02/11/2012 | Writer: Kaos GL

We condemn in the strongest of terms those members of government, clergy and the media who use their positions to promulgate discrimination and hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Balkan LGBT NGOs Jointly Condemn Escalating Violence in Their Region Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

Cooperating LGBT Balkan-based NGOs express their serious concern over escalating homophobic manifestations (hate speech and hate crimes) in their respective countries and throughout the region. We condemn in the strongest of terms those members of government, clergy and the media who use their positions to promulgate discrimination and hatred of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Derogatory statements and incendiary imagery on television and in the press serve to incite and even legitimize acts of physical violence against LGBT persons by other members of the populace.    

Particularly worrying is the climate in Macedonia, the most homophobic country in Europe according to the ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map of Protections. On Sunday night, 21 October, the president of the rights group LGBT United Macedonia, Alen Shakiri, was violently attacked in the street by two men. This came on the heels of public statements that began on 12 October by the Minister for Labor and Social Policy Spiro Ristovski. Ristovski declared that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry and refused to discuss the matter of adoption. He repeated these statements on the TV channel SITEL, which compared homosexuality to incest, pedophilia and polygamy. The newspaper Vecer followed, publishing highly inflammatory imagery and articles against LGBT persons.

 
The situation in Macedonia, however, is not unique. Widespread homophobia and transphobia is a fact in all countries of the region. Recent cases of violence against LGBT people and activists have also been recorded in Greece. A few weeks ago, the Serbian government decided to ban the Belgrade Pride, thus violating the right of assembly and association of LGBT people. In light of these recent events, the Regional Network against Homophobia, comprising LGBT organizations from Croatia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia Herzegovina, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Palestine, Iran,  Lebanon, Israel, Armenia, Georgia and Turkey condemn the recent attack on its Macedonian colleague and ask the Macedonian authorities to investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to justice, to permit LGBT activists to freely express their concerns and advocate for their rights, and to stop the spread of hatred, homophobia, harassment, and derogatory propaganda against LGBT persons. First and foremost, the Macedonian government should amend its anti-discrimination law to include provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity, and should take positive steps for the advancement of such rights.
 
The Regional Network Against Homophobia expresses its solidarity with the Macedonian LGBT community, and will continue to support them in their fight against all manifestations societal and institutional homophobia and transphobia.
 
On behalf of “The Regional Network Against Homophobia”
Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association
 
24 October 2012 - Ankara

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