(Nicosia, 9/07/22) The inter-communal thematic discussion event “In It Together: Let’s Talk About Pride and Hate Speech” was held on the 5th of July 2022 at the Home For Cooperation in the buffer zone in collaboration with Bubble Out within the scope of the Rainbow Project which is funded by the European Union under the Cypriot Civil Society in Action VII Grant Scheme and implemented by the Queer Cyprus Association.
“In It Together: Let’s Talk About Pride and Hate Speech” thematic discussion event focused on the discrimination faced by LGBTI+s and their supporters during Pride marches, hate speech on social media, and their approach to hate speech, and the negative effects it has on mental health.
The event started with a short introductory activity and progressed under the moderation of Senior Psychologist Gözde Pehlivan and the facilitation of the Rainbow Project Coordinator Aycan Garip. Ideas were shared about what hate speech is, when it increases and how often it occurs. In addition, it was discussed that hate speech takes place more frequently on virtual platforms over social media. Afterwards, ideas were exchanged about how the mental health of LGBTI+s and their supporters were affected by hate speech followed by participants sharing their own negative experiences and how they overcame them. Participants belonging to various age groups and sexual identities talked about the difficulties of being an LGBTI+ child, especially in Cyprus during the 80s and 90s, about the difficulties of accessing accurate information due to the lack of resources we have today, and the prejudice, violence, and exclusion that they were trapped in due to ignorance.
Senior Psychologist Gözde Pehlivan emphasized that hate speech can deeply affect LGBTI+s and make people feel sad, depressed and stressed. In the discussion, important information was shared on how groups exposed to hate speech can protect themselves psychologically and the mechanisms of coping with hate speech. Participants also drew attention to the legal rights against hate speech in Cyprus. As the Queer Cyprus Association, we would like to remind everyone once again that in the Turkish Cypriot community “regulations” on hate speech were made in “Article 171 of the Penal Code” on March 9, 2020, that no one can be humiliated or exposed to a negative attitude because of their gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, otherwise, these hate speeches can lead to “penalization”.