Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homophobic Speech in Latvia: Monitoring the Politicians - Mozaīka Study – February 2007


Opening note:

After parliamentary elections in Autumn 2006, the Latvian Parliament appointed Jānis Šmits – one of the most homophobic members of Parliament during the period covered by this analysis – as Chairman of the Human Rights and Social Affairs Commission of the Latvian Parliament.  The appointment of Šmits to this position demonstrates fundamental misconceptions of “human rights” among Latvian politicians and calls into question the sincerity of supportive statements made by members of the ruling coalition (including the Prime Minister) after the anti-gay/lesbian attacks of July 2006.


Homophobic speech by some politicians in Latvia – and silence by others – has contributed to creating one of the most overtly homophobic societies in Europe. 

In an effort to improve the intolerant political environment in Latvia, Mozaīka has undertaken this study which identifies patterns of homophobic speech and presents a monitoring mechanism for politicians’ speech with regard to gays and lesbians.[1]  It is an important finding of this study that the speech of politicians falls into identifiable categories, it can be monitored, and political figures must be held responsible for their words inciting intolerance, hatred and even violence.  Next steps include a constructive and respectful discussion on how political speech is being used to marginalise and exclude one particular minority in Latvia and how to curtail homophobic speech and prevent hate speech through legal, political and social mechanisms. 

In this report, Mozaīka uses the term “homophobic speech” to cover a broad spectrum of speech acts: ranging from disrespectful or inappropriate public discourse to “hate speech”.   

“The term “hate speech” shall be understood to cover “all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin.”

Wheras the American understanding of “hate speech” tends to emphasise imminent and intentional harm as the criteria for identifying prosecutable speech, the above definition is broader in delineating what counts as hate speech, insofar as it includes expressions that spread hatred, but that do not necessarily engender imminent danger. 

At the same time, not all speech that falls outside the scope of “hate speech”, whatever its definition, is socially or politically acceptable.  Politicians should still be held accountable for speech that may not meet formal definitions of “hate speech”, yet which is injurious to various minority groups insofar as it is offensive and engenders possibilities (rather than imminent danger) of discrimination and even violence.  For example, a statement which renders gays and lesbians as less than human (see thematic category 14 below) creates conditions within which it becomes acceptable to exclude gays and lesbians from the political and social framework.  For the purposes of this study, this type of expression, as well as “hate speech”, is covered under the general term “homophobic speech”. 
Read complete study:

Anti-Homophobic Curricula - Silencing Effects of “ACTIVE IGNORANCE” - Threatening To The Sanctity Of The Family, accounts of sexuality that stand outside the narrow confines of heterosexual, reproductive sex - Maureen Ford, PhD., Lakehead University - Philosophy Of Education 1996
Related links:

“ACTIVE IGNORANCE” | What's the answer to privilege? By Alejandra Cuellar,
Staff Writer, February 19, 2010 – The Climax - Hampshire College
Related links:

 Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal? By Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr, University of Georgia – 1996
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, American Psychological Association, Inc.
1996, Vol. 105, No. 3,440—445
Related links:

Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition – by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway - Psychological Bulletin 2003, Vol. 129, No. 3, 339–375 - American Psychological Association, Inc.
Related links:

Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States, Part II – The Social Situation | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
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The Psychology of Hate Crimes – American Psychological Association – June 2009 | President Obama Signs Hate Crime Bill | Benedict XVI, Hierarchy & Accomplices Violations - Harming Children & Adults
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Benedict XVI's STAGED FIASCO to Blame DEAD PEOPLE For His COVERT OPERATIONS - Child Sexual Abuse Cover-ups | Vatican Letter to Irish Bishops on Sex Abuse: A 'Smoking Gun' in Conspiracy? – by David Gibson, January 19, 2011 – Politics Daily
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Assimilationist bias in equal protection: the visibility presumption and the case of "don't ask, don't tell" - by Kenji Yoshino – The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 108, 487 (1998)
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Groundbreaking Study Finds Family Acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Adolescents Protects Against Depression, Substance Abuse and Suicidal Behavior in Early Adulthood – by Caitlin Ryan, PhD, December 6, 2010 - FAMILY ACCEPTANCE PROJECT.
Related links:

"Covering: The Hidden Assault on our Civil Rights"
A conversation with author Kenji Yoshino about Yoshino's book.
April 20, 2006 – Charlie Rose
View video:

“Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.” Erik Erikson

Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6

Important note: No disrespect meant to Pope Benedict XVI or the hierarchy, the one and only concern is the safety and well-being of children.

Kids Are Being Hurt !!!

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