More European politicians found using homophobic hate speech

Homophobic language and hate speech against transgender people are on the increase among European politicians, an advocacy group said on Tuesday as it sounded the alarm about a backlash against LGBT+ rights in the region. Politicians in 17 countries in Europe and Central Asia – including Estonia, Finland and Italy – have verbally attacked LGBT+ people over the past year, according to an annual report by ILGA-Europe. The findings come as the COVID-19 pandemic takes a heavy toll on LGBT+ people, from trapping the young at home with homophobic families during lockdowns to politicians targeting gay and trans people to shift attention from economic problems. “LGBTI communities are amongst the groups that get scapegoated in particular,” said Evelyne Paradis, ILGA-Europe’s executive director. “There’s growing hate speech specifically targeting trans people and that is being reported more and more across the region … We have grave concerns that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”