Rights and Safety of LGBTQ People at Risk if Far-Right Wins French Parliamentary Elections

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In the period since French President Emmanuel Macron lost the European elections to the far-right National Rally on June 9th and then announced snap parliamentary elections, there has been an increase in deliberate political attacks against LGBTQ people.

Rights groups are now sounding a warning that, if the far-right comes to power in less than two weeks, protective laws for LGBTQ individuals may end up being dismantled while violent attacks become legalized.

As the European elections’ results came through on the night of 9th June, it became plain that the far-right Rassemblement National would be victorious. The far-right party achieved 31.5 percent of the vote, while President Macron’s coalition received less than half of that.

The three, plus a fourth individual who was a member of the GUD, described as “a militant rightwing student group notorious for violence and intimidation,” went off to drink to celebrate the defeat of Le Pen’s rival, Jacques Chirac, in Paris’s sixth arrondissement. They came across a young man who was walking home alone when they broke into homophobic and transphobic insults, calling him “filthy f**got.” This attack has been reported by papers like the French daily Libération.

The young man took refuge in a nearby woman who saw what happened and called the police. A few minutes later, the four aggressors were arrested. While being interrogated, they made explicit mentions of Jordan Bardella, president of the National Rally. According to reports, one said, “You’ll see when Bardella is in power and Hitler comes back!” Another said, “In three weeks, we will be able to smash up f*gs as much as we like. I can’t wait.”.

This Monday morning, following defeat at the European elections, Emmanuel Macron called snap parliamentary elections and dissolved the current National Assembly. Through this bet at high risk, forcing Prime Minister Macron to name a far-right prime minister might restore “choice of our parliamentary future” to the French.

Only two weeks before the definitive vote on July 7th, LGBTQ people in France are scared for their future rights and safety. Many of them are afraid that if the far right won, this will give way to more homophobic and transphobic attacks, as happened in Paris.

A gay Franco-Hungarian couple, Ben and Szabi, opened the wine bar in 2023 and have been together for ten years. After asking her to drink the water from her glass rather than from the jug, in as civil a way as possible, they received homophobic and racist insults in reply. Being asked to leave politely with her friends, she came back and threatened them. “We don’t want this to happen to other people,” he told Ben in the Instagram post. “We are still very shocked.”

Homophobic and transphobic attacks are on the rise in France. LGBTQ groups sounded the alarm on May 16 when the Ministry of the Interior released a report showing that anti-LGBTQ offenses surged by 13 percent in 2023 over the previous year. Violent incidents—assaults, threats, and harassment—increased alone by 19 percent, with 2,870 cases last year.

Many in the LGBTQ community are worried that these incidents will only continue to spread, with the possibility of a far-right leader as prime minister. “These two cases [in Paris and Montpellier] were … particularly striking because there were direct references to the National Rally. The motivation was extremely clear”, said Julia Torlet, president and spokesperson for SOS Homophobie, a French NGO which supports victims of anti-LGBTQ attacks.

Blaming a “liberation of homophobic and transphobic speech” inspired by the far-right, Torlet noted her organization had seen an increase in cases of offensive graffiti since Macron announced the snap elections on 9th June.

As parliamentary elections get underway, LGBTQ rights in France hang in the balance. Activists and sympathizers watch with bated breath as hostility measures surge, hoping that anything less than stepped-up security for all will not be allowed to pass.


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