France will be creating an “Ambassador for LGBT+ rights” by the end of the year, as well as funding for ten new “LGBT+ centres”, French prime minister Elisabeth Borne announced on Thursday.
Speaking from an LGBT+ centre in Orleans on the 40th anniversary of the repeal of Second World War era restrictions on homosexual activities, Prime Minister Borne committed to spending €3 million on the creation of ten more such centres, in addition to the existing 35 LGBT+ centres.
The commitment will mean that there will be at least two in every region of France, and at least one in the nation’s overseas territories.
Borne, a leftist bureaucrat tapped by President Emmanuel Macron to serve as Prime Minister following his re-election in April, also announced the creation of an “Ambassador for LGBT+ rights,” the Le Figaro newspaper reported.
The ambassador “will coordinate the action of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs for the protection against discrimination and the promotion of LGBT+ rights and will carry the voice of France,” Borne said, saying the primary function will be to advocate for “the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and trans-identity”.
“The battle of mentalities is not yet won,” she said, noting that “anti-LGBT+ hatred continues to exclude, hurt and sometimes even kill.”
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Macron’s prime minister hailed the “exemplary work of LGBT+ associations and centres,” which she said are “identifiable and accessible entry points for many people who do not know who to turn to,” claiming they have helped nearly 6,000 people in France.
While France has traditionally been a tolerant society towards homosexuality, the number of anti-LGBT+ attacks in the increasingly diverse country has doubled since 2016 when such records began, according to Le Monde.
Last year, the Ministry of Interior recorded 3,790 offences committed “because of sexual orientation or gender identity,” compared to 2,970 in 2020, representing an increase of 27.6 per cent.
There has been some indications that this shift in attitude may be linked in part to mass migration during the same time period, with French sociologist Salima Amari claiming in 2018 that lesbians are increasingly hiding their sexual preferences in areas with large numbers of migrants.
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