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LGBTQ+ community in Europe under siege as France faces far-right takeover

Metz FRANCE June 2024 LGBTQ march for freedom parade and demonstration in the streets over 9000 participants
Jean-Marc RICHARD/Shutterstock

Far-right parties gain ground in Europe as LGBTQ+ rights are under threat. Learn how anti-LGBTIQ+ movements are reshaping politics across the continent.

While the world watches the U.S. presidential race, something dark is happening across the Atlantic.

Far-right parties won about 40% of seats in the recent European Parliament elections. This is a dramatic increase in comparison to the last five years, when only 25% of members of the European Parliament voted against the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

Shortly following these events, President Emanuel Macron called for the snap of the national parliamentary elections in France. With this move, he hopes to consolidate his parliamentary power. Sadly, his hopes are increasingly diminishing.

After the first round of elections on June 30th, the far-right party, Rassemblement National (R.N.), received 33% of the popular vote, the best result in the French far-right's history. And it looks like, after next Sunday's second and final round, the far-right party of Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen will have a majority in the French Parliament.

For the first time since the Vichy Regime during World War II, there's a chance that France will be run by a far-right government.

In the European Parliament, the French far-right has consistently voted against equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals. The party has publicly called for taking away the rights of transgender people, including restricting hormone treatments for trans minors. Historically, the party has always been against marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

Until just a year ago, many activists thought that any opposition to LGBTQ+ rights was a thing of the past or, at least, a rising issue in Eastern Europe. But they couldn't be more wrong.

France has always had a conservative underbelly. For the last two decades, the French countryside—sometimes referred to as La France Profonde—has been unhappy about how things are run from Paris. Farmers and workers accuse the 'globalist liberal left' of taking away their securities, leading to large protests. The far-right has used social unrest to gain popularity, finding scapegoats in immigrants and the so-called 'woke' of Paris.

In May 2013, as France was introducing legislation for same-sex marriage and equality, the ultraconservative organization 'Manif Pour Tous' mobilized more than 300,000 French citizens to take the streets to protest in protest. It became, by far, the largest anti-LGBTQ+ protest in Europe's history. More than 10 years later, the organization is still very active regarding anti-LGBTQ+ topics in French politics, developed in closecooperation with the French far-right and Russia.

Manif Pour Tous is just one of many anti-LGBTIQ+ groups that have set their minds on changing politics within and beyond Europe. The US-based International Organization for the Family has organized five of seven World Congresses of Families in Europe over the last ten years. The conference, led by Brian S. Brown, the leader of the USA's National Organization for Marriage, brings together thousands of anti-LGBTQ+ leaders from across the world. In 2013, the European organizations within the World Congress of Families foundedAgenda Europe. It's a plan to make anti-LGBTIQ+ and anti-democracy narratives mainstream.

Ultraconservative civil society and policymakers from all corners of the European continent became part of it. It's Europe's version of Project 2025 and is already in action.

The international anti-LGBTIQ+ movement is more organized than ever before. Through infiltration and disinformation, these anti-LGBTQ+ associations and accomplices seek to not only withhold our rights but topple our democratically elected governments. What we see happening today in Europe will occur in the USA if Trump wins the presidency.

Our rights are attacked everywhere. That's why we need to work collectively at the international level, exposing the anti-democratic forces that are scapegoating LGBTQ+ communities across the world. We need to work together to prevent them from taking away our human rights and democracy in France, the U.S., and all across the globe.

Rémy Bonny is a human rights defender and expert in international relations. He serves as the executive director ofForbidden Colours – a Europe-wide non-profit delivering human rights and democracy for LGBTQ+ people in Europe. Bonny's work has been featured in many international media like Time, Politico, The Guardian, Sky News, Le Monde, Libération, El Paìs, and many more.

Voices is dedicated to featuring a wide range of inspiring personal stories and impactful opinions from the LGBTQ+ and Allied community. Visit to learn more about submission guidelines. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on any of our stories. Email us at Views expressed in Voices stories are those of the guest writers, columnists and editors, and do not directly represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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