- 20 Feb 23
People from the community feel unsafe in countries across Europe - even nations widely believed to utilise progressive LGBTQ+ policies.
This is reflected in the sharp increase in anti-LGBTQ+ speech, violent attacks, murders, and suicide rate. As a result, people in the queer community often feel unsafe in countries across Europe.
ILGA Europe is a leading LGBTQ+ equality organisation. In the report, the organisation said that pervasive hate speech in the region has deadly consequences. Further it warns that violence has become "increasingly planned and deadly" in a year with terror attacks outside queer bars in both Norway and Slovakia.
Aside from an increase in transphobic speech in countries such as Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK, the report also mentions Ireland as a country where hatred towards LGBTQ+ people is on the rise. It also shows the "hostile media reporting" on the topic.
Five hundred and one hostile articles about trans people in British media - in just ONE month. That's 16 a day. @ILGAEurope 🤷♀️. From people who claim to be ‘silenced’ and ‘gagged’ I’ll remind you. pic.twitter.com/9ulLvySiCH
— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) February 15, 2023
The report says that a number of far-right groups in Ireland repeatedly target people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. It also highlights the violent attacks on Mark Sheehan on his way home on a bus with friends, as well as on Even Somers, who was assaulted last April in Dublin's Dame Street. As a result, hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community in Dublin have become a serious problem.
ILGA-Europe‘s executive director, Evelyne Paradis reacted to the latest data in a statement:
"Many politicians have reacted with horror to the killings of LGBTI people this year and, while clear expressions of solidarity are always needed, it does not address the foundation of the problem"
Ms Paradis also called on leaders to proactively fight the rise of hate speech "rather than finding themselves in the position of reacting to its consequences"
Policy and Research Manager with LGBT Ireland, Pádraig Rice called the last year a "year of hate“ for the community in Ireland.
"Every month for the last 12, there has been coverage in GCN, a monthly LGBTQ community magazine, of a serious attack on an LGBTQ+ person," Mr Rice said.
The truth is homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are an everyday reality for many LGBTQ+ people in Ireland,“ Mr Rice continued. "It spans from the slurs that go unchallenged in the schoolyard and the workplace to LGBTQ+ people being attacked on the streets and murdered in their homes.“
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According to a report by LGBT Ireland, many people do not report hate-related incidents. More than 75% of people have been verbally abused because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and one in five have been punched, kicked or otherwise physically assaulted in public.
A new hate crime legislation is being considered in order to reduce the number of such crimes. With it, hate-related offences will be strengthened, and any form of communication that is likely to incite violence or hatred against a person will be prosecuted as a crime. Those who violate the law can expect a prison sentence of up to five years.
However, there are some concerns that certain groups will use the laws to target people of colour, for example, by arguing racism against white people and risking further criminalisation and incarceration of the Black community.
Referring to the legislation, Minister Helen McEntee said:
“We are all horrified when we hear of homophobic, racist, and other hateful incidents in our country. While these repulsive acts of violence and abuse against innocent people have been extensively reported on, we know that some people go about their lives constantly in fear of abuse simply because of who they are.“
2022 was the most violent year for #LGBT+ people of Europe & Central Asia in the past decade, shows @ILGAEurope review out today.
I call on every politician, journalist, ally and fellow human to speak up and commit to ending the violence.https://t.co/ljUt1up4Np pic.twitter.com/jsruSchsoj
— Annika Ojala (@ojala_annika) February 20, 2023
Mr Rice sees the legislation as a step in the right direction, but only a step. For him, real change will require sustained and continuous action in the years to come.
"We need to ban conversion therapy, provide legal gender recognition to transgender young people and non-binary people and fund transgender healthcare service," Mr Rice said.
Spain recently outlawed conversion therapy and passed legislation making it easier for people to change their gender identity on official documents. With further feminist legislation, such as the passing of a law allowing people with painful periods to get paid medical leave, Spain is becoming one of the leading European countries in LGBTQ+ rights.
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