EU report finds that 53% of LGBT+ people in Spain have suffered some level of harassment
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

EU report finds that 53% of LGBT+ people in Spain have suffered some level of harassment

LGBT+ associations in Andalucía condemn the high level of under-reporting and consider that measures to eradicate homophobia are seriously lacking

Víctor Rojas

Friday, 17 May 2024, 18:00


In the last two weeks several cases of LGBT-phobia have been reported. The most recent one happened just a couple of days ago, when a 14-year-old trans girl reported to the Guardia Civil a brutal beating by another girl of the same age who had already been bullying her prior to this escalation to actual assault.

A few days ago, the openly gay singer Miguel Garena publicly denounced a homophobic attack at his workplace.

Then last week a health worker was the victim of harassment and threats because of his sexual orientation: he received an intimidating letter in his letterbox at home, a threatening letter accompanied by a photograph of him and his partner in the crosshairs of a gun.

These are just some examples of the most recent hate attacks against LGBT+ people in Andalucía as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is commemorated (an annual event held on 17th May since 2005).

The hard data continue to flag up that LGBT+ people are victims of hate crimes: across Spain 53% of the community claim to have suffered harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the last year, a percentage that highlights the lack of measures to combat LGTBI-phobic hatred. That percentage is similar in all EU countries, according to the 3rd report by the LGBT Survey for the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency. In this regard, one of the countries among those with the highest percentages is Poland at 58%, while Portugal stands out at the other end of the scale - still high at 48%. Inbetween are Italy at 51%, Belgium with 53%, France at 56%, and 57% of LGBT Germans and Hungarians reported harassment, the EU average thus being 54%.

The same report reveals that 12% of LGBT in Spain have been assaulted in the last five years and 4% in the last year. That is one percentage point below the EU average for both periods. Portugal also stands out with 8% citing assaults in the last five years and 2% in the last year. German, French and Polish LGBT people are the ones who have been victims of these hate attacks the most: 16% and 6% respectively. "LGBT people are more visible, which is good because that gives freedom, but it also means that we are more susceptible to hate crimes," says Charo Alises, president of the LGBT association Ojalá and head of Human Rights at the Malaga Bar Association.

Spain is one of the countries where people feel that violence against LGBT people has increased the most, 75% feel this way, while 66% say that prejudice and intolerance towards LGBT people have increased in their country in the last five years. The EU average stands at 59% on the increase in violence and 53% on prejudice and intolerance. "One thing is the data coming in from the complaints and another thing is the real data from the people who know that there are many things that go unreported", explains Alises. For her part, Irene Navarro, president of Seville's LGBTI association DeFrente, blames this perception on the increase in hate crimes. Her words focus on the transgender community, the most affected according to recent reports. "The data produced indicate that there is a certain increase in hate crimes, especially against the transgender community. This is partly due to political hate speech and the transgender feminist sector," says Navarro.

According to Alises, complaints may have increased thanks to awareness-raising campaigns by LGBT groups, but they are still not representative of the total number of hate crimes against LGBT people. "There are several reasons: people are afraid of reprisals, there are people who think it won't do any good, and there are people who, as they say colloquially, are still in the closet and find it hard to go and report it", says Alises aligning with Navarro's previous words. "That's why I say that we need more awareness and training at all levels that have any dealings with hate crimes."

To fight LGBT-phobia, Alises calls for the LGBT law in Andalucía to be implemented in a "real and effective" way. "We need training and information at all levels. Education regarding sexual, gender and family diversity in Andalucía is still conspicuous by its absence", says the president of Ojalá. This is something that is also demanded at state level with the Trans Law. "It is necessary to prevent this happening. If you prevent, then bad things don't happen. And that means training, raising awareness and making sexual, gender and family diversity visible", she says. These requests are echoed by Navarro, who adds that the data must be "clearer" in order to take specific measures.

The president of DeFrente denounces the lack of data on the part of the ruling authorities, which is why she speaks of poor detection. "At the state level, data on the evolution of hate crimes are only available from 2022 via the Ministry of the Interior and, in Andalucía, the latest figures are only from 2021", comments Navarro, who remains concerned about not being able to act in a more effective way.

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