Citizens in Diversity: A Four-Nation Study on Homophobia and Fundamental Rights


Luca Trappolin - University of Padua, Department of Sociology

Kutatásvezető (MTA SZKI)

Takács Judit


Giulia D'Odorico, University of Padua, Department of Sociology


  • City of Venice (Italy)
  • European Study Centre on Discrimination (CESD, Italy)
  • University of Nottingham – School of Sociology and Social Policy (UK)

  • Peace Institute (Slovenia)

Résztvevők (MTA SZKI)

P.Tóth Tamás

Takács Judit

A kutatás

Homophobia has different qualitative and quantitative features in different European countries and within member States. On the one hand, in countries with little (or no) legal protection of the rights of gay and lesbian people against hate crimes and speech (such as Italy and Hungary), homophobic public statements and negative attitudes towards homosexuality are widespread, and hate crimes are recurrent. In these contexts, individuals, support groups, NGOs, as well as institutions and the judiciary have limited resources to compare and contrast underreporting, social discrimination and violence. On the other hand, the achievement of some legal progress in protecting (such as Slovenia) and promoting equality of gay and lesbian citizens (such as UK) has a variable impact across different social groups. As an example, British researches are beginning to show that ethnic minorities perceive homosexuality as a “Western disease” that needs to be resisted. The need to better understand homophobic attitudes in a multi-faceted context such as that of EU Member States is clearly instrumental to addressing both the general and the specific objectives of the EU Programme on Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. This project’s general aim is, thus, to enhance the understanding of the European dimension of homophobia and discrimination of gays and lesbians in view of promoting their fundamental rights and citizenship. To this end, the project addresses the Programme’s objectives by focussing its attention on four key factors: a) the socio-cultural factors and institutional norms and practices that produce and sustain homophobia in everyday life; b) the legal discourses which, at both the national and EU level, support or hamper the development of new legislation or the application/enforcement of existing law; c) the strategies gays and lesbians deploy in different social contexts to achieve social and political transformation; d) the exchange of good practices between countries with different levels of legal protection for gays and lesbians. The project will analyse not only homophobia in society at large, but also within specific (ethnic and/or religious) communities. Furthermore, it chooses to tackle the lived-experience dimension of individuals as well. Finally, taking as a starting point the level of protection of lesbian and gay rights in the Member States involved (Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, and UK), the project will analyse both the rights which EU citizens are entitled to thanks to their EU citizenship, and the gaps which, at national level, can be deemed to be incompatible with EU fundamental rights standard. The Project’s innovative features are the following: a) it promotes a shift from the description of the manifestations of homophobia to its formulation and perpetuation; b) it foresees integrated teams of sociologists and lawyers, in order to achieve a stricter connection between the analysis of prejudice and that of fundamental rights and citizenship; c) by taking into account also homophobia within faith and ethnic communities, it promotes the paradigm of intersectionality of identities as a specific articulation of the fundamental rights principle; d) it develops comparison and mutual exchange of social and political practices between countries with different legal approaches to homosexuality.