Leo Varadkar about homophobic abuse and right to offend


The Irish Taioseach (prime minister) has become a country leader but was born gay, so he knew what it meant to deal with homophobic abuse long before he was successful enough to tackle this problem not only in his own life but in the life of the whole country. He says that he was lucky enough not to be abused physically, but verbal hate and online trolling were the regular issue in his life. The PM is not 100% ethnically Irish (he had Indian ancestors), so he is also bothered about the problems of ethnic minority groups. And if a queer person is a member of racial/ethnic minority group, the risk of being abused doubles. “Sometimes, people need to be offended and people have the right to offend them. We have to get that balance right,” the PM added, “There is, of course, a huge difference between saying something nasty and unpleasant and something that incites violence or hatred. But writing that down in law is a tricky piece of work and I’m not sure anyone has got it perfectly right anywhere in the world. But we do need to try, because what’s happening now — particularly online when it comes to fomenting hate — is really wrong.”


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