Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation,
or WHAT IS IT?
Discrimination means any unreasonably unequal treatment of people, either by state authorities, individuals or legal persons. A non-heterosexual orientation is a frequent (and often well covert) reason for discrimination.
Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals (or GLBT people), or simply anyone with a different sexual orientation than the majority population and, therefore, considered “queer” are often victims of intolerance, humiliation or even violence and open discrimination by a part of society.
In order to recognise an unfriendly behaviour or unequal treatment as discrimination a person who discriminates has to have the powers or rights over others, provide services or goods to others, or exist in an environment where people depend on each other.
Discrimination is not the same as intolerance. If students scribble humiliating inscriptions on the walls, it is intolerance that is improper and unlawful. However, if they bully their schoolmate for his/her minority sexual orientation (alleged or known) and school authorities do nothing to solve the situation or prevent them from doing so, it can be discrimination; both by the school which is unable to protect its student from humiliation or bullying, thus disadvantaging that student compared to the others, as well as by his/her bullying schoolmates.
If a gang of hooligans attack a gay or lesbian because he/she is “unacceptably different” (queer), they have probably committed a crime. However, nowhere in the Slovak legislation is defined the protection of non-heterosexual persons against such attacks. The attack would, therefore, be assessed without considering its reason, which is hatred towards homosexuals. This represents discrimination by that state which is unable to provide legal protection to a part of its population.
The state has an obligation to protect people from intolerance and violence, and ensure that people could enjoy their basic rights and freedoms without any unlawful restrictions by others. If the state fails its obligation towards a certain group of its population, we speak about discrimination.