IGLYO launch ‘Expression Abridged: Legal Analysis of Anti-LGBT Propaganda Laws’

TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono service and IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Queer & Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth & Student Organisation launch, ‘Expression Abridged: Legal Analysis of Anti-LGBT Propaganda Laws’ today.

The report discusses in detail the various legislations aimed at banning LGBT ‘propaganda’ to minors which have been enacted or proposed in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. It aims to provide a thorough analysis of legal arguments in support of passing such laws and whether they come into conflict with other national legislation and international treaties and conventions to which these countries are party. The report clearly describes why many of these arguments cannot and should not be used in the context of passing legislation that restricts the rights of all citizens, including children, to access correct and relevant information and to freedom of expression, among others. In this way and in many others, the report will help support human rights NGOs in Europe, Central Asia, and beyond to fight against these propaganda laws and to challenge the growing discourse around traditional gender and family roles.

Tudor Kovacs, IGLYO’s Capacity Building Officer, states that, “the research is invaluable, not only because it clearly shows the legal contradictions between the anti-LGBT propaganda laws and national and international legislation, but also because it points out the possible loopholes or weaknesses in the laws that proponents might use to argue in favour of their drafts. We hope this research will play a vital role in supporting civil society organisations to challenge proposed and enforced laws of this kind.”

Eglė Kuktoraitė, Communications Coordinator of the National LGBT* rights organization LGL, reports that, “the application of [such laws] has caused a chilling effect among the online media outlets, as they have started branding news items pertaining to LGBT issues as suitable only for adults. It can be concluded that the limited positive information about LGBT issues in the public sphere further reinforces a socially hostile atmosphere for LGBT people in Lithuania.”

In 2016, TrustLaw connected IGLYO with a pro bono legal team to create a new advocacy resource for LGBTQI, children’s and human rights organisations on proposed and enforced anti-LGBT propaganda laws. The launch event will be co-hosted by Linnea Engstrom MEP, Heidi Hautala Vice President of the European Parliament, IGLYO, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the European Parliament in Brussels.