Religiously motivated hate speech targeting queer persons: An International Human Rights Analysis

ESR13 Tegan Snyman, PhD Candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam
I analyse, through international human rights standards, religiously motivated hate speech which targets queer people.

Project Synopsis

Title: Religiously motivated hate speech targeting queer persons: An International Human Rights Analysis

Within international human rights law, the right to freedom of speech is fundamental. However, it is not absolute. Varied prohibitions on “speech which incites” are contained in treaties and legislation worldwide. But what about speech which is hateful, but which doesn’t necessarily incite? This research aims to assess this in combination with the right to freedom of religion, and more specifically, the right to manifest said religion. This is done on the conviction that whilst these rights are paramount; exercising them at expense of other’s rights is not. Accordingly, this assessment is in light of the “culture wars” between religious freedom rights and the rights of queer persons. In considering the debate, often the rights and the people to whom the rights are bestowed to (or deprived of) are thought of as separate. Thus, when religiously motivated hate speech targets queer persons, proponents argue that they are simply exercising their right to free speech and to manifest their religion against the queer ideological movement and not against any individuals per se. This, they believe, protects them in their interpretation of their exercised rights – no matter how hateful or harmful. It is within this chasm the entire research is to be undertaken.

host institution

Prof. Jeroen Temperman, Erasmus University Rotterdam, international law and religion

Prof. Wibren van der Burg, Erasmus University Rotterdam, legal philosophy, legal theory, legal research methods


Religiously motivated hate speech against LGBTIQ+ people from the perspective of international human rights law (“IHRL”). A blogpost by Tegan Snyman (2022, March, 10) for International Gay/Lesbian Information Center and Archive (IHLIA), weblink