So this week we take to the polls to elect the European Parliament, some MEPs will lose their positions no doubt, with some others taking their places but what is the outlook like? Who out there wants to support the LGBTI community and what’s this I’m reading about a far-right growth?
As you may have already read here on Gaelick there exists an online pledge that candidates for the EU elections can sign, by doing so they are saying that they will take a stand on human rights and LGBTI equality in Europe. I for one have emailed all of my candidates and asked them if they have signed it – I encourage you to do the same.
A cross-party LGBT Intergroup within the European Parliament have carried out a study on voting patterns and according to them, between 2009 and 2014, the political bloc voted in favour of gay rights more than 250 times. They also say, unsurprisingly, that Liberal, Left and Green MEPs were the ones most likely to support our rights. You can read more about the study here.
This is all good stuff, you read it and you start to think that perhaps the right wing groups are starting to lose ground, they are after all, more likely to vote against minority rights. However, this is not the case. I read recently in The Telegraph that the number of far right MEPs is expected to rise by almost 20% when the election is done and dusted. The Greek Golden Dawn party, for example, are expected to win two seats. Well you might think two isn’t a disaster until you read that they think of Hitler as “a great personality”! They will be joined by Hungry’s ultranationalist party who are projected to get four seats. There is a great map here explaining who’s who on the right, I’d encourage you to take a look.
So, if you think you don’t need to vote you should perhaps think again. You could be excused for thinking these kinds of things don’t matter when you live in a country with a respectable 36% rate of respecting LGBT rights (figure thanks to ILGA Europe Rainbow Map). However, we are a part of a bigger picture and with the EU elections we have a chance to make sure that those in favour of LGBTI rights, and all human rights, are represented and empowered by having as many in there as possible.
You can count on one thing, the right-wing people will vote, those who want to stop the progression on human rights will vote – so will you?
You can CHECK THE REGISTER here.