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ALDE Party Vice President: gay rights are human rights

19/11/2013

 

Addressing the press conference to launch the 28th edition of the Ljubljana Gay and Lesbian Film festival, ALDE Party Vice President Lousewies van der Laan underlined that non-discrimination is a fundamental human right. “All people should be treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This applies to the law, but also to acceptance in society. I was pleased to see that the President of Slovenia attended the Ljubljana Pride for the first time this year, but Slovenia still has a long way to go. A LGBT film festival is a crucial part of that process and also a wonderful stimulating event in the cultural life of any vibrant city”.
 
Referring to the current economic crisis in Slovenia and the brain drain following the departure of many young professionals, she added: “Research shows that a creative class is essential to a strong economy and these are attracted to cities that are safe and entertaining and inspire innovation by allowing people room to be themselves and to breathe. Acceptance and integration of the LGBTI community is a good indicator of whether a country can foster a creative class and festivals like these should be cherished and supported for that reason.”
 
Originally launched in 1984, the film festival holds the distinction of being the oldest gay and lesbian film festival in all of Europe. It's held annually the first week of December, and films are screened from all over the world.
 
In 2002, while member of the European Parliament, Lousewies van der Laan addressed the controversy surrounding the Slovenian candidates for the Eurovision songfestival, the transvestite group “Sestre”. Following reports that the public broadcaster had come under pressure from church and conservative groups to disqualify the group from representing Slovenia in the finals, she was outspoken on the problems this posed: “Neither homophobia, nor interference with the public broadcaster, nor a lack of separation between church and state can be deemed acceptable in a candidate to join the European Union. The situation will be monitored closely during the accession process”, she commented back then.

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