Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Malta Today: LGBT Labour calls for legislation to protect gay people

Negative attitude towards gay community can change only when state legislation recognises same-sex couples says Cyrus Engerer.

Monday 6 February 2012 - 18:13 by Miriam Dalli.

LGBT Labour's spokesperson Cyrus Engerer said negative attitude towards homosexual people can only be changed if the state recognised their status.

"It's not possible for a mentality of a country to change if the laws of that same country remain unchanged," Engerer said.

Engerer was reacting to local news that two girls were attacked on a public bus because of their sexual orientation. Last month, two sixteen-year-olds were attacked in Hamrun because of their sexual orientation.

Engerer said LGBT believed in diversity. "In a democratic country everyone has the fundamental right of living their life in freedom," Engerer said.

He added that increased use of social media and advancements in technology are leading to violent attacks on minority groups to be exposed. "Such attacks have long been taking place. Immediate and concrete action needs to be taken," Engerer said.

Engerer called for the introduction of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech legislation, as currently there's nothing which covers homophobic acts.

In its statement, LGBT Labour said that the only way that these attacks are addressed is by introducing laws which recognised homosexual couples and families, "who are invisible to the law and inexistent to the state".

Engerer said that recongition brings visibility which help changes the mentality of individuals. He said that the attacks were not only on the two girls but on the whole LGBT community.

Engerer said that four years ago, one of the Nationalist Party's electoral promises was to include sexual orientation as part of the NCPE's porfolio. "This promise has not yet been implemented with the result that no national entity has as its goal the education and promotion of diversity of sexual orientation," he said.

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