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A homophobic murder in Bratislava must not be ignored

Protestors in Bratislava. Credit: Getty

October 18, 2022 - 1:50pm

The murder of two men outside a gay bar in Bratislava has prompted soul-searching over Slovakia’s culture war around progressive values. The 19-year-old killer took his own life after the shooting, and a vigil for his victims was attended by 20,000 people this weekend. Slovak police say the attack was motivated by hatred for sexual minorities and on Monday they officially reclassified it as terrorism.  

The shooter published a now-deleted 65-page “manifesto” entitled “A Call to Arms” on social media hours before the murders. The document was filled with homophobia, racism, and calls for violence against LGBT people and Jews. The document reportedly rails against “brainwashing” by mainstream media and credits Jews with the “invention of homosexuality.”

In the days since the attack, public debate has moved beyond these unhinged theories into a wider discussion of the relationship between the killer’s ideology and Slovakia’s political war between conservatism and progressivism. Politicians and activist groups are calling for greater protection for the LGBT community, arguing that the tone of Slovakia’s political debate is partly responsible for the tragedy. A wave of fury has also been directed at MPs who tabled a motion — rejected by parliament just a few weeks ago — to ban the display of rainbow flags from public buildings. 

It would be unfair to suggest that these broader currents of social conservatism can be blamed for the acts of a madman. Yet while we should be wary of drawing too-simplistic conclusions, we must also be consistent when calling for an examination of the ideological context in which acts of hate and terror take place. 

There is an understandable tendency for those in any way ideologically or culturally related to a killer — no matter how distant or tenuous the connection — to turn a blind eye to all potential ideological similarities. It causes significant frustration among the British Right, for example, when leaders of the Muslim community refuse to engage with questions over the religious motivation of attacks such as that on Salman Rushdie in New York this summer. 

Clearly, anyone who carries out such atrocities is mentally deranged, and crackpot ideologies must not be used to score cheap political points. Yet, just as conservatives point out the responsibility of the Muslim community to reflect on all Islamic terror, Eastern European social conservatives must now reflect on events in Bratislava last week.  

The killer’s vengeful attitude towards LGBT people within a twisted anti-Semitic narrative was nothing like any mainstream political movement. Nonetheless, an othering of the LGBT community has become an ideological hallmark of eastern European social conservatism. There’s a strain of regional thought which sees modern LGBT culture as not only dangerous, but also as a fundamentally alien Western import. This is encouraged by mainstream politicians including the governments of Poland and Hungary, Slovakia’s neighbours to the north and south respectively, which portray LGBT culture as a vehicle for Western cultural imperialism. 

This othering can result in a political urge to scapegoat “LGBT ideology” at the expense of the individual claims to liberty of members of the LGBT community. As the Bratislava shooting shows the dark extremities to which an increasingly tribal divide over LGBT rights may lead, now is the time for Slovakia, and the wider region, to reflect.


William Nattrass is a British journalist based in Prague and news editor of Expats.cz

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
1 year ago

Not many years ago I would have been entirely sympathetic to the plight of gay people living in intolerant societies. I’m afraid I no longer feel that way.
in 1967 gay sex in private for adults was legalised in England and Wales.. In the decades following there was a generalised campaign to destigmatise homosexuality and in 2014 gay marriage was legalised. All fine. I think then we expected gay people to just quitely get on with the lives like the rest of us.
But the various pressure groups that had formed around LGBT weren’t content with co-existing. They turned their energies to attacking and subverting mainstream society.
It started with silly stunts such as antgonising Christian shopkeepers by demanding they make vulgar or pro-gay products for them. Then the interminable Pride marches, which have become progressively more lewd and sexually explicit depite the fact that children are present.
The seemingly never ending Pride events and rainbow flags constantly forced in our faces are oppressive. But when T was added to LGB, the movement became dangerous and sinister.
The LGBT movement is vicious and intolerant. It immediately launches frenzied attacks, and tries to destroy the lives and livlihoods of those who dare to object to its absurd beliefs. But far worse is how it is now pschologically, pharamacetically and surgically experimenting on confused children and young adults.
Having seen where the gay rights movement led our society, I am sympathetic to those who want to stop the same thing happening in their countries. Although, of course, I in no way would condone violence.
If disassociation is in order, I would suggest that it is the LBG people who just want to get on with their lives who should be disassociating themselves from the dangerous trans ideologues who have attached themselves to the gay community as a means to further thier own ends. They are doing the gay community tremendous harm.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcus Leach
Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

That’s already well underway with organisations like the LGB Alliance & a myriad social media ‘influencers’ pretty much echoing your sentiments. Groups like Stonewall & Mermaids are under scrutiny like never before. Indeed, in these columns, transwomen like Debbie Hayton have become leading figures in the resistance to trans ideology.

Paul S
Paul S
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Smith

Debbie gives me hope. We need more like her.

ralph bell
ralph bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Whilst I acknowledge your concerns in the western countries well down the LBGT road. I don’t think those politics have any bearing on the context to the crime committed in Slovakia, in which politicians and many older citizens are very politically conservative on these issues and others.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

oooh poor diddums…

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Gays Against Grooming have taken a stand and were persecuted for it by woke activists at PayPal, who cut off their funding.

Paul S
Paul S
1 year ago

As a gay man, I note the author refers to the ‘modern LGBT culture’. The current ‘community’ has become something quite different to when I came out in the 90’s – to the point of alienation of some 40 and above. Ideoligical rigidity and tribal thinking risks ripping the gay community apart along generational lines.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul S

I too am gay. And I agree entirely with what you say. But I’d add that the risk is not only of “ripping the gay community apart” but also of ripping the entire community apart.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

“There’s a strain of regional thought which sees modern LGBT culture as not only dangerous, but also as a fundamentally alien Western import.”

The writer seems to be unaware of the trans extremism taking place here in the West – where people have received threats of death, cancellation (or ‘accountability’ according to G Norton and B Bragg) and lost their jobs and careers; where the leading gay rights organisation (guess who!) actually holds seminars on how men can rape lesbians (it’s like the old days
”I know what she needs” wink wink); and where a major charity for children that encourages them to mutilate their bodies without their family knowing is endorsed by government depts, corporations and celebrities.

That’s not scary, is it?

Stephen Follows
Stephen Follows
1 year ago

Yet, just as conservatives point out the responsibility of the Muslim community to reflect on all Islamic terror, Eastern European social conservatives must now reflect on events in Bratislava last week. ‘

This is an odd sentence, given how much homophobia and anti-Semitism comes from Muslims themselves.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

and, as those who served in Afghanistan found out to their horror, that male sex with boys under 12 was an accepted norm? Amazing that there is no comment on this abomination?

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago

Yet, just as conservatives point out the responsibility of the Muslim community to reflect on all Islamic terror, Eastern European social conservatives must now reflect on events in Bratislava last week. 

What are you implying – that being conservative means that you encourage murder?

That is to demonise an entire group of people.

The very thing you are complaining of.

And you also say:

Clearly, anyone who carries out such atrocities is mentally deranged, and crackpot ideologies must not be used to score cheap political points.

Then you go on to score a political point (see above).

I find the leaps in your reasoning rather inconsistent, to put it politely.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

I honestly don’t give a stuff about this community any longer. LGB, and particularly the T is a “fundamentally alien Western import”. Instead of accomplishing this nutcase’s objective of weakening the increasing colonizing stranglehold of western cultural imperialism over Eastern Europe, he has likely promoted the cause of LGBT in Eastern Europe far more than its proponents could ever have hoped to do. All we will hear for the next six months is virtue signalling by Europeans over this bleak incident, which would be considered as nothing more than a standard ‘gay bashing’ weekend in the Middle East.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

While the constant assaulting of heretics by the “modern LGBT culture” is constantly excused.
I feel the problem, at least in the UK, is in the acronym itself and with the idea that there is an “LGBT culture”, modern or otherwise.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Yes, it’s the same with the word ‘community’ in America. It conjures up pictures of a group of people united in common cause. Complete bollocks of course.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
1 year ago

The author of this article would be on much firmer ground by abandoning his political double standard. It’s true, as he says, that even deranged people act within a larger context of cultural trends and can reflect its prejudices, no matter how distorted the reflections might be. Therefore, we should monitor these cultural trends with vigilance in mind. But he applies this insight to only one end (conservatism) of the political and cultural continuum. It seems to me that it applies equally to the other end (progressivism). If there’s any practical difference between them, as distinct from any moral difference, it would be that progressive derangement in our own society tends to find expression in the context of established governmental, professional, academic, journalistic and other institutions rather than in that of deranged individuals or politically marginal groups. In my opinion, that’s far more dangerous than conservatism.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

A potential solution to the Ukraine war would be to send in the LGBT, eco sandaloid zeros and racialist obsessimpletons and simply bore the Russians into submission….?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

no such word as ” homophobia”

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago

There is, but there shouldn’t be.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago

NS-T has a point, linguistically.

From the Greek, ‘homo’ means ‘same’.

From the Latin, ‘homo’ means a human, a person, humankind.

So, ‘homophobia’ ought to mean ‘fear of the same’ (whatever that might denote) or ‘fear of humans’ (awkward!), or something like that.

But, obviously, that’s not how it is actually used. Namely, failure to bow down to whatever vocal ‘right-thinking’ people currently demand in terms of respect for a particular ‘community’.

Although my guess is that the supposed ‘community’ in question is more likely to be people who just want to get on quietly with their lives as individuals.