#LoveWhereILive: progressives back LGBTIQ freedom cities and regions

28 June 2021
#LoveWhereILive: progressives back LGBTIQ freedom cities and regions

LGBTIQ persons everywhere in Europe should enjoy the freedom to live and publicly express their sexual orientation and gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics without fear of intolerance, discrimination or persecution.

This was the message on Pride Day (28 June) as the Party of European Socialists, its LGBTIQ organisation Rainbow Rose, and the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions prepare to host an online event tomorrow as part of their #LoveWhereILive campaign. The event will be livestreamed on the Facebook pages of PES, Rainbow Rose and PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions.

Iratxe García Pérez, Vice-President of the PES and President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, said:

"For our political movement, the European Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU provide for protection of human rights and are the legal basis for the fight against discrimination. LGBTIQ rights are human rights.

"It is a priority for the S&D Group in the European Parliament to advance on these principles. LGBTIQ people should effectively benefit from the same rights and opportunities, as well as the same level of protection, as any other person within the EU in all aspects of life. Everywhere in the EU, from the biggest capital to the smallest village."

Camila Garfias, President of Rainbow Rose, said:

“All of us share a duty to protect and strengthen equality and respect for diversity in our societies. This should be guaranteed for all. But in reality conservatives in Poland, Hungary and elsewhere are attacking the LGBTIQ community at every turn, using discriminatory legislation to roll back their rights and freedoms. Progressives are committed to fighting back, and I am proud that it is a social democrat, European Commissioner Helena Dalli, who is doing just that through the EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy.

“We call our progressive family to proudly fly the rainbow flag and declare LGBTIQ freedom cities and regions during this Pride season. As socialists, our commitment to freedom and equality of LGBTIQ people will never wane.”

Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions and Mayor of Coulaines (France), said:

“Thanks to our #LoveWhereILive campaign, the cities of Las Palmas, Chiaravalle, Farciennes and cities across Luxembourg have declared themselves LGBTIQ Freedom Zones. Motions have been presented at the regional level in Brussels and Marche, and we expect more signs of support in the upcoming weeks from many other local and regional governments.

“We are proud that progressives in our towns, cities and regions are taking the fight for equality to local communities, showing clearly that we stand for diverse and vibrant societies where the rights of all are respected.”

At the beginning of Pride Month, the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions together with Rainbow Rose launched a campaign for “LGBTIQ Freedom Cities and Regions”. Together with the PES, the progressive family is paving the way for a Union of Equality.

Last week in Berlin, the PES Presidency adopted the declaration: European progressives together for LGBTIQ freedom cities and regions. It sets out the progressive political family’s shared commitment to LGBTIQ equality in Europe.

Tomorrow, progressives will be gathering online to share best practices and experiences of cities and regions that declared themselves LGBTIQ Freedom Zones.

Those taking part include Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, Iratxe García Pérez, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Sara Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö (Sweden), Maxi Ines Carl, local councillor of Hannover (Germany), Umberto Costantini, Mayor of Spilamberto (Italy), Jack Lewis, Massachusetts State Representative (United States), Ivan Vuković, Mayor of Podgorica (Montenegro), and many more. The event will be moderated by Rainbow Rose President, Camila Garfias, and the State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region and PES Group member Pascal Smet.