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Homophobic remarks on Cyprus TV spark outrage

Accept LGBTI on Thursday slammed comments aired on Sigma TV calling same-sex adoption a form of dictatorship that was outside the scope of the “Lord’s wisdom.”

During a news bulletin earlier this week, Sigma TV presented the findings of an IMR survey revealing that one in three people in Cyprus support same-sex couples having children.

In a subsequent commentary hosted by television host Petra Argyrou to which the company’s CEO Chrysanthos Tsouroullis was invited, the latter said that nature had sent a clear message over who could have children naturally, and that should be respected.

He went on to say that although he recognised the suffering the gay community had endured for years, adding that he supported LGBTQ+ matters, “this is now going to the other extreme. This is a reverse dictatorship.

“This will not happen without a discussion,” he said in a clearly impassioned speech.

It was not clear why Tsouroullis suggested there would not be a discussion, as the bill submitted by the Green party seeking to allow adoption for people in civil partnerships – including homosexual couples – has been tabled to parliament for discussion.

Argyrou added “the Lord created all things in wisdom,” in an apparent nod to earlier comments from Tsouroullis that “nature must be respected.”

The Cyprus Mail has learned that two complaints have been filed to the journalism ethics committee over the matter so far. One concerning the survey itself, and another over Tsouroullis’ comments.

Independent MP Alexandra Attalides also criticized the coverage on social media, saying studies show having gay parents does not make a child gay, stressing that human rights do not belong to anyone to bestow.

Social media responses on Tsouroullis’ post sharing the interview which said “no to ‘reverse dictatorship’” was also met with a barrage of anger saying he should stop spewing hate and that human rights were not imposed by popular opinion.

The CEO argued the debate is not about gay rights but the rights of children.

In a subsequent television show on the same channel, Accept LGBTI chairman Nicolas Tryfon highlighted what he depicted as problematic coverage of the survey findings, with all focus being on the ‘negative’ aspects.

The survey also showed that just over 40 per cent of adults between the age of 18 – 24 were actually in favour of same-sex couples adopting.

Tryfon described the coverage of the findings and subsequent commentary as homophobic, as it depicted gay people as not normal.

Tsouroullis then phoned in seeking to deny the accusation saying he is not homophobic and his friends could attest to that. He specified he was opposed to a child having two mums or two dads but “that doesn’t make me respect Mr. Tryfon any less”.

Commenting on the CEO’s earlier statements that he supported a ‘traditional family’, Tryfon then sought to point out that Tsouroullis himself had not adhered to a traditional family, having a child out of wedlock and then separating.

Accept LGBTI also slammed a suggestion by the journalists that there was an “ulterior motive” behind community seeking to have the same rights as heteronormative couples, saying the terminology reflected the far-right, which Sigma journalists ardently denied.

“A healthy environment for a child is love, support and security. Heterosexual families do not automatically mean a healthy environment and this is proven by thousands of studies. It’s arrogant to think that just because someone is straight this automatically makes them a better parent to their child than a gay parent,” Accept LGBTI said.

The NGO called on Sigma not to become the Fox News of Cyprus urging them to use scientific language and invite experts to discuss sensitive matters.

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