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IDAHOT: We all Play a Part in Defeating Hate

In advance of the 17th of May, International day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), PES Candidate for President of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, adds his voice to the millions of people globally calling for a world of tolerance, respect and freedom regardless of people’s sexual orientations or gender identities. 

“I have often spoken about how Europe was almost destroyed when it’s people turned on “the other”, when intolerance and hatred brought us to ruin. Hatred is a powerful force and millions died because if it. There are however forces more powerful, the forces of understanding and respect which have helped us build a Union of nations that protects human dignity. On this day it is important to remember how far we have come but it is equally important to look ahead and see how far we must still go.”

Martin Schulz also has an important message for other candidates running for election at the moment: “Around the world, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people are being killed because of who they are and how other people see them. No one is born hateful, it comes from the opinions of those around us such as family and friends and even politicians. We have a responsibility to ensure that Homophobia and Transphobia are not encouraged by the words we speak, but are in fact defeated. If I am elected President of the European Commission, I will work towards a European Union of equality for all, including bringing forward a strategy to fight discrimination against LGBT people as requested by the European Parliament and several Member States."

PES Women President Zita Gurmai, who has always been a strong voice for the LGBT community, reinforces this message: “In my experience of fighting against both gender and LGBT discrimination, I have learned how important and powerful freedom of speech and giving everyone a voice is. Sexism, homophobia and transphobia will only be defeated when those who shape public opinion, such as teachers, journalists, judges and politicians, are willing to use their voices to defend those who have none.”

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is an opportunity for us all to stand together for sexual diversity and gender freedom. The PES, Rainbow Rose (LGBT observer member of the PES) and YES (Young European Socialists) will be present at Brussels Pride on Saturday to show solidarity with our Belgian member parties and organisations for the leading role they have taken to make Belgium one of the best countries in the world in which to be an LGBT citizen. “By voting for PES candidates you are making sure that LGBT issues will remain high on the agenda at European level, with MEP's and Commissioners working together to improve life for all LGBT people” said Rainbow Rose President Aurélien Mauzy.

The PES hopes that wherever you are marking this day you have the right to do so in safety and in freedom.  

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