Homophobic MEPs quizz Commission on equality funding

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Right-wing populist Member of the European Parliament Godfrey Bloom has asked several written questions to the European Commission, challenging the legitimacy of European funding to fight homophobia and transphobia.

Godfrey Bloom MEPMr Bloom, a member of the UK Independence Party, asked the Commission to justify the grants given to ILGA-Europe, the main European organisation working in favour of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The member asks the Commission whether it is aware of the origins of ILGA-Europe’s funding, inferring that it disqualifies the organisation from legitimately working on equality for LGBT people.

ILGA-Europe have explained their funding structure in details. As any other European equality network, ILGA-Europe’s funding is regularly overseen by the European Parliament. Its accounts are available publicly, are audited regularly, and appear to satisfy all relevant regulations.

Mr Bloom took his cue from three different articles on Turtle Bay and Beyond, an incendiary ultra-conservative blog constantly attacking women’s and LGBT rights around the world. The blog is maintained by C-FAM (the “Catholic and Human Rights Institute”), a notoriously conservative lobby based in the USA.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “After bullying a female colleague for being openly lesbian, and making Nazi remarks towards Martin Schulz who is now the President of the European Parliament, Mr Bloom starts harassing LGBT organisations. He is a true role model for bullies around Europe.”

Nikki Sinclaire, an openly lesbian MEP, has accused Mr Bloom of abusively calling her “queer”.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, reacted: “Mr Bloom’s attempt to undermine European funding is unworthy of exposure. He should focus on the substantial question, which is equality and non-discrimination. But I don’t expect this from a colleague who believes women’s rights are a waste of time. Thankfully, he doesn’t represent the majority of decent British people.”

Konrad Szymański, a Polish right-wing MEP had asked a similar question last month. The European Commission will answer these questions in the coming weeks.

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Updated at 17:10

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