Saturday, May 16, 2015

Freedom of Speech - HAHABT 2015

Isn't it strange how people who speak out against the LGBT community tend to paint themselves as the victims? We see it happen all the time. A recent example from the USA is a small pizza place that said they'd refuse to serve at a same-sex wedding. They got nearly $840,000 from people who saw the owners of the pizza place as the true victims for the backlash they received. According to their supporters, they had a right to state their opinions, even if it showed massive bigotry. A recent example in Iceland is a musician spreading and advocating hate against LGBT people when a town decided to add education about homosexuality into their schools' curriculum. Sadly, he had supporters, about 400 of them the last time I knew. That may seem like a tiny number to the big world out there, but there are only about 320,000 people living in Iceland, so 400 is a lot. They set up a Facebook page and called it "Protect the Children" and hateful things were said. But the difference between the USA and Iceland is that ten of those people are now facing lawsuits for their words.

Image by Wilpersou via

Of course, the musician and his followers are now the "true" victims in all this, not being allowed freedom of speech and stating their "humble" opinions. What they failed to understand is that freedom of speech has its limit in Iceland. You're allowed to say whatever the hell you want as long as it doesn't ridicule, calumniate, insult, or assault a person or a group of people because of their nationality, color, race, religion, or sexual inclination (General Penal Code, article 233 a). In other words, they're not allowed to verbally attack what is already a vulnerable minority group. If these ten people people are found guilty, they'll get heavy fines or prison for up to two years (but most likely it'll only be fines). 

Image by ilco via

So, people over here are allowed to have their opinions, but they're not allowed to express them however they please in public. It sounds bad when you say it like that, but given the alternative of allowing hate speech without consequences, it isn't bad at all. Many countries forbid hate speech and are certainly not worse for it. Countries like Sweden, The Netherlands, France, and South Africa. Canada has banned the Westboro Baptist Church for entering their borders because of hate speech ("Church members enter Canada, aiming to picket bus victim's funeral", CBC News, 8 August 2008.).
You see, when Freedom of Speech was first introduced, it did have its limits. John Stuart Mill introduced the "Harm Principle" that would put limitation on freedom of speech. He said "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." ("Freedom of Speech". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 17 April 2008.).

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Prevent harm to others, he said. But what are anti-LGBT activists doing? They are spreading nasty messages about LGBT people to cause harm. "Harm" doesn't always mean that it's physical, it can be financial, libel, and injustice. It can be a mob yelling demeaning things at a single person, and no one can convince me that it wouldn't cause the person psychological harm. Hell, they're allowed to spread lies about minority groups without having to face any consequences. Really, outright lies!

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I think that officials in these countries - especially the USA that prides itself of free speech - are afraid of actually trying to put legal restriction on hate speech. They're afraid of backlash from the public and their fellow congressmen (because congressmen will use everything to attack one another in elections), of being accused of trying suppress opinions. Because that's what bullies do: they're loud, they act out, and they throw around big words and accusations to get their way. But these officials wouldn't be suppressing opinions, they'd only be limiting how these opinions are expressed in public, and the only reason they would do that would be to protect minority groups from harm. Freedom of speech is a human right, but how is it a human right not to be able to get justice for someone spreading lies about you and trying to get others to hate you because you're Hispanic/gay/Muslim/disabled/etc.?

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Now, most of my readers and fellow authors are United States citizens. I respect that you may have a different opinion about freedom of speech. This post is not about ridiculing Americans. It is simply about me being unhappy with acceptance - even protection - of hate speech when it does more harm than good (in my opinion ^.^). 

In relation to this, but also on a completely different note, a study was made in 1996 about homophobes. The result? "...students who had the greatest sexual identity conflict -- young men and women who reported a straight identity while scoring highest on homosexual tendencies -- also exhibited a number of behaviors consistent with homophobia. They tended to report more negative or fearful attitudes toward gays and lesbians, tended to be biased against homosexuals in hypothetical situations, and were more likely to endorse anti-gay policies." ( Meaning that those who protest the loudest are most likely to be homosexual. Here's a video that explains the study:

I should have started the post with the below introduction, but I wanted to dive right into the issue. Today is the International Day Against Homopohobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. For the last four years, I've been organizing the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia with friends. The hop starts today and ends on the 24th. Over 100 authors, publishers, reviewers, and cover designers of LGBT literature are taking part in the hop to spread the message about bi-, trans-, and homophobic discrimination, and stand together against discrimination of our books. It is tradition to offer a prize. I'm offering one of my ebooks to four people who comment. The winners will be chosen at random and may choose which ebook and in what format. I will draw the winners on the 25th and contact them, so please include your email or a way for me to contact you (e.g. a facebook link) in your comment. But everyone can get something: I have a number of free works that anyone can download.

If you're interested in more articles about the issue in Iceland, here are a couple of links:
Freedom Of Speech
Come On Kids, Let's All Join Hands And Be Gay!

Here are other links on free speech vs. hate speech:
Free Speech isn't Free
Here Is Why It's Time To Get Though On Hate Speech In America
Hate speech or free speech? What much of West bans is protected in U.S.

And below are the links to the rest of the people taking part.

Happy hopping :)

Edited: The winners are redtigerburninglust, Kassandra, MA Church, and Trix. Congrats :) You will receive email shortly. 


  1. Thank you for organizing the hop. I wish someday things will be more open here in my country, Indonesia. 💜

  2. Absolutely agree, Erica. There is a world of difference between free speech and hate speech.


  3. Thanks for this post and for organizing this blog hop although it is really sad that it is still necessary.

    1. Forgot me email :)


  4. I agree that free speech shouldn't include these sorts of hate speech against a group of people, just because of their sexual orientations. I wasn't aware of all the things you said above, so thanks for sharing!

    Looks like with this hop I'll learn a ton of things, as well as discover a ton of writers <3 Thanks for organizing the hop, and thanks for the link to your free works I'll definitely take a look at it! :)
    And I might as well try my chance for the ebooks, so here is my FB:

  5. Hear hear! Thanks for organizing the hop and this fantastic blog post. I was born and raised in the USA, but I totally agree with you that hate speech should not be free (protected).

  6. Definitely a thought-provoking post!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  7. I live in the USA and I am 100% in agreement with your assessment! ruralmom08 at

  8. My friend grew up in Canada and when she came to the US she couldn't believe the things that our country allowed people to spew. She said in Canada those people would have been punished. When I hear things on the news about hate crimes and hate speech, I often wish I lived in Canada!

  9. I think your efforts here are wonderful and I hope soon that things such as this will be unnecessary. annmarief115 at gmail dot com

  10. I'm from the USA and think a lot of conservative people are going completely batshit in this country. caddyauthor at gmail dot com

  11. Thanks organizing this blog hop once again! nomoretears00 at hotmail dot com

  12. Thank you for your post and participating in this blog hop.

  13. LOVE this hop! Your words ring so true.

  14. Erica, the turn out and participation look pretty impressive. Thank you for organizing the hop. Also, I liked learning a bit more about free speech in Iceland.

  15. Thank you for the great, thought provoking post. I didn't know about the limits on free speech in other countries. Thank you also for organizing the hop.

  16. I am from the U.S. and am dismayed at the willingness of people in power, people with privilege, to support "free" speech against those without power or privilege.

  17. Great post. I won't say much about it since just thinking about that pizza place and them being the victim pisses me off. Thank you for the post and for spreading awareness!

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  18. I too am from the U.S. and agree totally with the post. I cannot understand how "freedom of speech" allows people to attack one another and why do the attackers always think louder means stronger which means they are right?
    ree.dee.2014 at

  19. Erica it so wonderful of you to organise the Blog Hop! I think Freedom of Speech is important but no one has the right to make a speech of "Hate" about any groups of people.


  20. I've hopped along with the hop the last couple of years. I always look forward to learning more and hearing/reading peoples stories! Thanks so much for all the hard work you put into this hop!
    raynman1979 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  21. Thank you for informative post and hop.

  22. A great and thoughtful post Erica.

  23. Awesome post! Thanks :)


  24. Fantastic! We all have rights and no one else should infringe upon them.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  25. great post (and I'd say more but don't want to rant, lol). thanks


  26. Thanks once again Erica.
    A thought provoking post about what seems simple but actually can be a minefield

  27. Thank you for the wonderful post. It still makes me sad that there is not federal protection for LGBT people in the United States. If there were, there would be much more protection against hate speech and hate crime. I must say that when I first heard about this issue, I thought it was a bad joke. Surely, no one could argue this point in public and not commit political suicide. SUrely people remember how black people were discriminated against by businesses not selling to them. Surely, this couldn't be real.


    I was shocjked that it IS real. Especially being from Germany where Jewish people were refused business and given signs to wear, so everyone could see them as Jewish people and knew they could publically discriminate against them - it is shocking to see that people haven't learned from the past. I hope we won't see the day when LGBT people have to register and mark there different sexuality, like they and Jewish people had to in Nazi Germany. I really hope there will be firm and swift decision to stop this craziness. This has nothing to do with the Freedom of Speech. This is DISCRIMINATION.

    1. But that's just it, I think. The WWII was in Europe and Europeans learned from the mistake that made the holocaust possible (public hate speech and discrimination against Jews). Canadians seemed to have taken a lesson from it as well and they're often ahead of Europe in anti-discriminatory matters (like they're allowing gays to donate blood). You would think that the whole segregation and discrimination against Africans Americans in the USA would have been serious enough to make some sort of protective law to prevent something like that from happening again...but apparently not. The politicians feed on the discrimination, using it as a way to get ahead, and as long as that works, I'm afraid that they won't change a thing.

  28. There's a difference between personal and professional freedom of speech. As an individual, I can share whatever personal opinion I want. It may not be wise to do so and I may alienate all of my friends, but I can.

    When someone is a representative of a well-known organization, however, the responsibility is much greater. That's why, rightly, most organizations are reluctant to jump into controversial and political issues. They should be. Does the president of a company have the right to believe LGBT marriage is wrong? Sure! Should that be part of the publicity promoting that company? Maybe not the best idea.

    Anastasia Vitsky

  29. Hi Erica, thank you for organising this event and for this enlightening post. I was not to sure what to feel about the study initially, that most homophobic people do have homosexual tendencies and are often advocates against the LGBTQ community, as well as their allies. But at the heart of it, it does make sense as it often relates to their social/cultural upbringing as well as fear. I am interested to read more about this study as there must be more to it than was discussed. slholland22 {at} hotmail {dot} com

  30. Thanks for the wonderful post and the hop.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  31. great post!
    thanks for being part of the hop