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Pride still matters in Europe today

With this year’s Pride season coming to an end and EuroPride in Malta a few weeks back, it is
important to emphasize why Pride still matters in Europe today. LGBT+ Pride parades and marches in
many cities and towns across Europe play a key role in setting the agenda for emancipation and
equal rights and make the LGBT+ community visible.

Over the past decades the LGBT+ rights have increased tremendously, resulting in more protection
and acceptance across Europe. This progress is made possible through activism and political work by
many organisations and thousands of persons advocating that LGBT+ rights are human rights. This
year at Prides all over Europe the aspect of protest got more emphasis than previous years. This due
to the fact that in recent years we have seen signs of setbacks and even decline when it comes to
LGBT+ rights, acceptance and protection in several European countries and regions.

The rise of populist and extreme right political movements and politicians gives space to the
emergence of a politics of intolerance, with the LGBT+ community being one of the targeted groups.
The emphasis on traditional and nationalist values often excludes rather than includes marginalized
or minority groups in society, scapegoating them for all that is conceived to have gone wrong for
mainstream society. This tendency places the progress for human rights in Europe under pressure.

The recent move by the Italian government of Giorgia Meloni to remove non-biological parents from
the birth certificates of the children of same-sex couples is a stunning example of such excluding
politics. It’s the materialization of framing LGBT+ rights as an ideology, making it something
politicians can say they are against and act accordingly. It denies European LGBT+ citizens the
fundamental human right of recognition and protection of their sexual and gender identity and the
freedom to shape their lives the way they see fit. The European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance strongly
speaks out against these politics of exclusion and marginalization, stating that human rights are not a
menu from which one can freely choose what one likes and dislikes.

The European Union is a community of values with human rights being at the core of this. If needed,
EU member states like Italy, Hungary and others should be reminded of this both verbally and if
necessary, with corrective measures. It is the rise of this harsh political wind that is a major reason
Pride still matters in Europe today.

Pride season is coming to an end for this year. But that is and should not be the end of the work to
strengthen LGBT+ rights and to the political discussion on issues important to the LGBT+ community.
The work must continue. It is absolutely crucial that LGBT+ organisations don´t take a break from
their work until the next Pride-season. Building an inclusive society, preventing, prejudice and
fighting steps backward is ongoing work every single day in every single country.

Europe is also a diverse community of nations that have their own ways and history. Where some
move fast on improving LGBT+ rights and protection, for others this may take some more time and
effort. Like in many policy fields EU member states should be given the opportunity to choose their
own path and speed when improving LGBT+ rights and protection. For the European Centre-Right
LGBT+ Alliance the goal of an inclusive European society with equal rights for LGBT+ citizens in all
member states are non-negotiable. And countries choosing their own path and speed can never be
an excuse for stagnation or even decline of LGBT+ rights and protection. The European Centre-Right
LGBT+ Alliance would like to remind all of the words by former Polish prime minister and EPP
president Donald Tusk at the EPP summit in Helsinki 2018: ‘if you tolerate xenophobia, homophobia,
nationalism and antisemitism, you are not a Christian Democrat; If you place the state and the nation
against, or above, the freedom and dignity of the individual, you are not a Christian Democrat’.

We will always speak out for these fundamental values in and outside of our political family – of
Christian Democrats, Conservatives and Liberal-Conservatives – and wave the Pride flag. Pride
parades and marches serve to keep the much-needed pressure on the process of progressing LGBT+
rights and protection. This is also why Pride still matters in Europe today.

Fredrik Saweståhl
President European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance

Gerben Horst
Vice President European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance

Helge Ytterøy L’Orange
Vice President European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance

The European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance is an associated entity of the EPP, European Peoples
Party, and gathers centre-right LGBT+ organisations and networks from EPP parties.