Gay Swedish MP in homophobic attack
An openly gay Swedish politician was attacked on Saturday night in central Stockholm by a group of homophobic skinheads.
After leaving a nightclub, Centre Party MP Fredrick Federley was approached by a group of about six young men who began insulting him and the two men who were with him.
“Then they screamed that we were disgusting and a threat to Sweden and that they were going to beat us up,” said Federley.
He reported that, while he was trying to reason with them one of the attackers suddenly punched him on the face.
“I calmly told them that I wasn’t going to fight, as that would make me no better than them,” said Federley, according to thelocal.se
But he received three more punches before the group decided to leave.
The Swedish MP was so shaken that he feared to take the bus alone and went to sleep over a friend’s house.
Mr Federley, 29, said he had never been assaulted before because of his sexual orientation, but added that the event would not prevent him from going out in future.
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Sweden is considered one of the most liberal countries in the world for its anti-homophobic legislation, although cases of discrimination are still reported.
In 2003 two women were thrown out of a restaurant in Stockholm after they kissed each other, but two years later a Swedish court ordered the restaurant’s owner to pay 50,000 kronor (£ 3,800).
Last year Sweden’s gay community expressed concern after the election of a Green Party member affiliated to the country’s Muslim Council, whose chairman Helena Benaouda had announced a desire to restrict marriage to man and woman.
The Swedish Constitution bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and a special government agency, the Swedish Ombudsman against Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation (also called HomO) addresses complains from individual citizens.
HomO also takes initiatives of its own and submits parliamentary proposals.
In March 2007 it presented a report concerning the possibility of making marriage available to same-sex couples, by amending the Swedish Marriage Code and making it gender neutral.