Corona and LGBT: What two fights for freedom tell us about the EU

There were an unusually large number of demonstrations in EUropa last weekend – sometimes for the rights of gays, lesbians and other LGBT people, sometimes against new Corona measures. All of them are about freedom – but otherwise the demonstrators don’t have much in common.

In Budapest and Berlin, the LGBT movement brought many thousands of people onto the streets. It was the highest number of participants since the first march 26 years ago, it was said in the Hungarian capital, where the participants oppose a homophobic law by Prime Minister Orban, which is also denounced by the EU.

At the same time, tens of thousands protested in France, Italy and Greece against new Corona measures that curtail the rights of non-vaccinated people. In France, it was the largest protest since the Yellow Vests movement; it is also directed against President Macron and his autocratic style of government.

All participants were concerned with justice and freedom. But apart from that, the demonstrators do not have much in common. The LGBT movement fights for the rights of a group, it makes identity politics. It is fighting against reactionary politicians and can even refer to the EU Commission, which has initiated proceedings against Hungary.

The opponents of the new Corona measures, on the other hand, come from all population groups; they see themselves as a bourgeois-liberal freedom movement. They are fighting against “the government” or “the system” – and are therefore often denounced as contrarians or conspiracy theorists. They don’t get any help from Brussels.

Here I see a problem. Why does the EU Commission take sides with a sexual minority, but not with the defenders of fundamental rights in the pandemic? Why do they take on Orban but not Macron and other leaders who are restrictive or even repressive in their use of the EU vaccination passport?

Is this the freedom they mean? Wouldn’t it be better to take care of everyone’s rights in a pandemic – and not mainly of minorities? Does Brussels want to fight against the exclusion of LGBT people – and at the same time stand idly by while a wedge is driven between the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated?

I would feel much better if the EU stood up for the rights of all citizens. The free constitutional state is not only in danger in Hungary or Poland, but also in France, Italy or Spain. Judging by the latest statements from the Chancellor’s Office, Germany could soon follow suit…

Translated with (free version) The original post (in German) is here