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Why Anti-LGBTQ Attacks Matter for Democracy

Ari Shaw notes the lack of meaningful discussion during the Summit for Democracy about how democratic backslide has been accompanied by an increase in attacks on LGBTQIA+ people and the strategic use of anti-LGBT rhetoric by authoritarian forces. Mr Shaw and his colleagues with the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law published a study finding strong evidence that increasing attacks on LGBTQIA+ people indicates broader democratic backsliding, as the associated efforts to curtail their rights can contribute to the erosion of more fundamental democratic rights, such as the rule of law or media freedom. The rhetoric is often used to create a wedge issue that frames LGBTQIA+ individuals as a threat to "the nation", justifying antidemocratic actions on that basis. Moreover, countries with high levels of acceptance for LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to uphold key democratic values such as free and fair elections, the rule of law, and fundamental rights. Mr Shaw argues that LGBTQIA+ inclusion should be prioritised in the fight against authoritarianism, not only because it is important for fundamental rights, but because it can strengthen the foundations of democracy more broadly.

Read the full piece here on the Council on Foreign Relations website.