In light of the municipal elections of October 28 and the Perussuomalaliset (PS) party’s poll standings, it’s no surprise that MPs of the right-wing populist party like James Hirvisaari are leading the charge against different minorities in Finland. In a comment on Hommaforum, the PS MP considered homosexuality to be “a disability in sexual development.”*
Hommaforum is an unofficial PS website used to spread intolerance of minorities in Finland.
“In my opinion there is a good reason to ask if homosexuality is some sort of disability in sexual development if a person cannot develop in the natural order [being able to reproduce] of things,” he is quoted as saying on Hommaforum. “It’s not [homosexuality] a sickness but only a disability.”
Hirvisaari, who got fined for hate speech in December, is a good example of the negative passions and political forces that social media has unleashed in this country.
The decision by the Kouvola Court of Appeal to fine Hirvisaari for hate speech was upheld in June by the Finnish Supreme Court.
The PS MP’s near-constant rants against different minorities are a wake-up call for us on how some politicians like Hirvisaari are breathing life back into intolerance and polarizing our society.
There is a clear connection between xenophobic and homophobic behavior. In order to promote tolerance in a society, we must challenge both of these social ills.
Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen expressed such concern recently on YLE. He said that the actions and comments of parties like the PS have hurt Finland’s international image.
”What is clearly causing harm [to our society these days] is the racist, near-fascist, xenophobic old way of thinking that is propagated by certain sectors…” he said.
*Taking into context what James Hirvisaari said, and trying to understand it, probably “disability in sexual development” is a better translation of kehitysvamma in this context than sexual disorder.