Showing posts with label Gay Bashing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Bashing. Show all posts

January 13, 2020

Kenya Locals Continue to Attack Gay Refugees

By Tim Fitzsimons
For years, Ugandan refugee Mbazira Moses has been typing out emails to dozens of international humanitarian organizations and United Nations officials with a message: LGBTQ refugees at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya need your help.
The Kakuma camp and nearby Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, both operated by the U.N. Refugee Agency, or UNHCR, are together home to nearly 200,000 refugees from dozens of countries. Many, if not most, have fled overland from Kenya’s conflict-stricken neighbors: Uganda, South Sudan and Somalia.
Image: A protected section of Kakuma refugee camp in northwest
A protected section of the Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya, which is home to LGBT refugees in Turkana County on Oct. 14, 2018.Sally Hayden / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images file
But according to Moses and experts on refugees and migration, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer refugees in Kakuma — many of whom fled homophobic and transphobic violence in nearby Uganda — continue to face threats and violence from locals and other refugees for the simple reason that they are LGBTQ. While the situation for sexual and gender minorities may generally be direr in neighboring countries, Kenya is still among the nearly 70 nations that criminalize homosexuality.
On Tuesday night, Moses sent out another such email: Over 50 queer refugees camped outside the UNHCR reception center at Kakuma for safety reasons were again attacked, this time by Turkana-speaking locals and other Kakuma refugees.
“They were kicked out by the UNHCR and forced into the homophobic community with other refugees," and then local residents from the area, the Turkana, "attacked them some time ago,” Moses wrote in the email sent to human rights officials and journalists.
“They fled to the reception center where they were denied entry," he wrote. "The two groups hate them badly.”  
Moses alleged that the refugees were attacked with “knife stabs, stones, and clubs,” and included images of people with head injuries. Police hesitated, the ambulance was slow, and the refugees fled through holes and over fences, Moses said. The Turkana locals allegedly blamed the gay refugees for a local drought. Seven refugees were injured.
Kakuma camp is “very hard to administer,” said Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations office, who has for decades worked in refugee advocacy and relief — including a visit to Kakuma years ago.
“You have got a handful of UNHCR officials, so bad things can happen, and bad things do happen in refugee camps — not only to LGBT people but women and other people as well, so it’s unfortunately not surprising,” Knotts said.
In June 2018, Moses and Refugee Flag Kakuma, an LGBTQ rights group he leads at the camp, hosted its first gay pride event. The march attracted hundreds of Kakuma onlookers, but soon after it finished, a series of murderous threats were posted around the camp: Leave or be killed “one by one.”
Image: Participants hold rainbow flags during an LGBTQ pride event at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya
Participants hold rainbow flags during an LGBTQ pride event at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya on June 16, 2018.Refugee Flag Kakuma
The dire situation at the camp worsened in December 2018, when an attack on LGBTQ refugees at Kakuma injured 20 and was so brutal that UNHCR officials relocated hundreds of refugees to a gated school compound 450 miles south in Nairobi, where some remain today. And yet, according to Moses, new lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer refugees continue to arrive for registration at UNHCR offices in Kakuma and Nairobi.
In a WhatsApp message sent to NBC News on Friday, Moses said he and other members of Refugee Flag Kakuma question “the logic of returning and housing LGBT refugees in a place where others had been withdrawn because of insecurity.”
“Some of the 200 LGBT refugees who were relocated from Kakuma camp last year were arrested and returned to camp,” Moses said. “At the same time, some new ones have been reporting both in Nairobi and Kakuma. Those who report in Nairobi are always sent to the Kakuma refugee camp.” 
The staffers in UNHCR’s offices in Nairobi and Kakuma have been widely accused of soliciting and accepting bribes to speed the processing of refugee status applications, including by interviewees in an NBC News investigation last year about corruption at Kakuma and other Kenyan camps. The UNHCR strongly denied the allegations in that article.
LGBTQ refugees also routinely accuse the camp’s administrators of turning a blind eye — due to homophobia and transphobia — to their plight and to the continued violence they face.
UNHCR did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment on reports of repeated violence against LGBTQ refugees at the Kakuma camp. However, in an interview with NBC News after the attack on the camp’s June 2018 pride event, Yvonne Ndege, a UNHCR Kenya spokesperson, said, “The community can sometimes feel isolated.”
"UNHCR and the government of Kenya with other relevant stakeholders are striving to promote the rights of all asylum-seekers and refugees and are ensuring partners are trained on how to work with LGBTI in a displacement context,” Ndege said. “Their rights as human beings shall be considered as such."
 While the process of getting a refugee application approved by UNHCR can take years in Kenya and other countries, including the United States, the average stay for a resident of Kakuma camp is 17 years, according to the UNHCR.
More than 25 million people worldwide are currently refugees, according to Amnesty International, and a third are living in the world’s lowest-income countries. The Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya was recently the world’s largest refugee camp — outstripped in late 2019 by Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Knotts said UNHCR is “overwhelmed by Syrian refugees, by Rohingya refugees; there are massive refugee situations around the world, and when you are talking about LGBTQ refugees, you’re talking about a small number and nobody wants to talk about that.”
Even so, “the UNHCR has an obligation to do better than this,” Knotts said.

June 7, 2019

Gay Couple Bloodied in Attack on a London Bus

Melania Geymonat said the men made sexual gestures and demanded that the two women kiss before they attacked.

By Emily Mee, news reporter, Sky News
Friday 7 June 2019 11:43, UK

Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris were left bloodied after the attack. Pic: Melania Geymonat
Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris were left bloodied after the attack. Pic: Melania Geymonat
Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris were left bloodied after the attack. Pic: Melania Geymonat

A woman who was left bloodied on a London bus while heading home from a date with her girlfriend has spoken out against "chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence". 

Melania Geymonat, 28, and her girlfriend Chris were on a night bus heading to Camden, north London, on 30 May when a group of four men started to make lewd comments and asked them to kiss. 
The women were then attacked and punched several times before the assailants ran off the bus.

In a Facebook post, Miss Geymonat said the pair had been sitting on the top deck of a double-decker bus and there appeared to be no one else around when the incident happened.

"We must have kissed or something because these guys came after us," she said. 

"They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us 'lesbians' and describing sexual positions.

"In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes. I thought this might make them go away.

"Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing us coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it."

Miss Geymonat said her girlfriend confronted the men and three of them began "beating her up".

After trying to intervene, Miss Geymonat said she was also punched.

She said, "I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don't remember whether or not I lost consciousness.

"Suddenly the bus had stopped, the police were there and I was bleeding all over."

Both women suffered facial injuries and were taken to hospital, while Miss Geymonat added she may have broken her nose during the ordeal.

The attackers also stole a phone and bag from the women.

Miss Geymonat said one of the men spoke Spanish and the others had British accents.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the incident as a "disgusting, misogynistic attack" and said hate crimes against the LGBT+ community "will not be tolerated in London".

In her social media post, Miss Geymonat said she was tired of hearing about gay friends being beaten up "just because".

"We have to endure verbal harassment and chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence," she said.

Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward with information.

April 14, 2019

In Germany, Someone Believes If You are German You Can’t Be Gay and If You Are You Should Die

On April 18, 2016, Max walked down the hall at his high school in Bremen, a midsize city in Northern Germany. He opened the glass door of a small office and saw a white cardboard box on the table addressed to him. The school’s director, a teacher, and a police officer were standing next to the box, Max remembered. Contained within it was a funeral wreath with black and dark red roses, as well as a white angel made of faux marble. Attached was a printed card: “We mourn the loss of Max O.”
The men in the room said things like “evidence” and “death threat,” but by that point, Max had already tuned out. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Max recalled the thoughts that were racing through his mind: What is all this? What does it mean? What’s going on? What am I supposed to do? Back in class, he didn’t tell anyone what had just happened. He was 17 years old. Max — whose last name we are not publishing to avoid jeopardizing the ongoing proceedings and to prevent others from targeting him — is one of at least 10 people the District Attorney’s Office in Bremen presumes to have been stalked and harassed by the same perpetrator. The office is actively investigating at least four of the cases. All the victims are young gay men like Max.
The German Federal Ministry of the Interior registered 313 violent hate crimes against LGBT people in Germany in 2018. This actual figure is exponentially higher, however, because experts say these crimes are vastly underreported. For comparison, in England and Wales alone, more than 11,000 crimes based on sexual orientation were reported in 2017. Hatred toward LGBT people is also a part of everyday life in Germany, but it receives little attention in German politics and media.
This is one of the reasons why Max decided to make his case public. Last December, while at a village disco in the Allgäu, he again faced abuse because of his sexuality; it was one of the reasons he decided to come forward, using his own name and face, about everything that has happened to him. “I don’t want to hide anymore,” he said.

to cope with what Max said he experienced is difficult to determine. A 14-page report obtained by BuzzFeed News documents only a fraction of the attacks. Over a period spanning half a year, while he was still a minor, he received hundreds and hundreds of messages and threats, both online and offline. Dozens of fake profiles sprang up on Facebook featuring stolen pictures of Max, claiming to be him. He endured harassing phone calls, fraudulent sales made in his name, and death threats. Over several months, more and more people were swept up in the hateful ordeal, including Max’s family and friends, confidants, and even strangers.

The s

It took Max a while to understand that there was likely a single individual responsible, whose ultimate goal was to destroy his life. For weeks, no one — including the authorities — seemed to understand how dangerous the situation had become.
For months, the alleged perpetrator overwhelmed all of Max’s communication channels to the extent that they became unusable. And what at first seemed like a bad joke ended up poisoning Max’s social life. He became distrustful and suspected his harasser was waiting behind every corner.
Max in front of the police station where he said he did not receive help.
For three years, Max has been waiting for the suspect to appear before a court. By now, he said, he’s positive he knows who it is: a man from his hometown who had intentionally targeted him for a harassment campaign. Even though the alleged perpetrator was always close by, no one was able to stop him. Now, it still isn’t clear when the man will stand trial. Max’s case exemplifies how difficult it is to escape an aggressive stalker, especially on the internet, how powerful anti-gay persecution in Germany still is, and how long it takes for its victims to finally see justice.  
Before all this happened, Max was just another student, someone who didn’t really stand out. He’s a polite and cheerful person, he’s popular, he likes theater. “The biggest difference between me and the majority is that I’m gay,” he said.
Then, in January 2016, an acquaintance sent Max a message about an account on Facebook pretending to be him. Over the course of weeks and months, Max discovered more and more of these profiles — some of them pretending to be him, others pretending to be his friends or acquaintances. The suspect used these profiles to send Max countless messages threatening and insulting Max and his family, contacting teachers, and spreading rumors accusing Max of stealing. Strangers received death threats from Max’s phone number. The harasser also sold phony soccer tickets, cellphones, and festival tickets in Max’s name on eBay. Eventually, strangers would show up at Max’s house and school, demanding the goods Max had allegedly sold them.
At the time, Max wasn’t out to everyone in his life as gay. But the alleged perpetrator was flagrantly outing Max to his friends and family members, including his father and grandfather. He used a photo of Max photoshopped with text saying he was gay and posted it underneath family photos on Facebook.
“I am still angry that he outed me to my dad,” he said. “I never had the chance to tell him about it myself.“
Courtesy Max O., Obtained by BuzzFeed News
The posters of Max that were distributed in Bremen. 
The alleged perpetrator also warned Max that he would print those photos and pin them up on Bremen’s streets. He was true to his word: In March, posters with Max’s photo showed up near his school in the city center with the caption, in all caps, “Ja ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so” (“Yes I am gay and that is a good thing”). Max found out about the posters before going to a party and asked a friend for help. Soon afterward, his friends joined forces and walked through the city together to take them down, some of them searching for the alleged perpetrator around the block. Dozens of classmates and friends showed up to help him, Max recalled. “It was an empowering moment.”
But that particular incident also led to a more sinister realization. “When we found the posters, I realized I was in more danger than I'd thought,” he said. “Before, it was just a man behind his computer.” But now the harassment had spilled into the physical world.
“You think you are immune because you have your friends who support you,” he said. “But then you realize that certain thoughts that you have toward strangers or acquaintances have been influenced by insecurity. Because during those months I was told, ‘You are worth nothing. You should die.’” At one point, the local newspaper received a request to print Max’s obituary
A Facebook screenshot of the obituary notice: “But now there is faith, love, hope — these three, but love is the greatest among them (1 Corinthians 13:13). Student Max. In love and gratitude.”
 Many of the experiences have blurred together in Max’s memory. He can’t remember exactly how often he went to the police. BuzzFeed News has therefore compared the information he shared with his family members and friends, looked at dozens of screenshots, and contacted the relevant authorities. Since this is an ongoing case, we didn’t receive any answers to our multiple phones and email requests for comment. Not even Max’s lawyer is willing to answer any questions.
In response to a request we made to the school, a secretary wrote, “Unfortunately, I can only tell you that no one is willing or able to say anything about the case involving Max O.”
Several people involved in the case have told BuzzFeed News that the alleged perpetrator threatened to set off a bomb in a supermarket. He was apparently then caught and identified as Max’s alleged harasser. However, after a few hours in custody, he was reportedly released. But the details of the various statements differ, and no official authority is able or willing to confirm them.
BuzzFeed News has obtained the lengthy list of accusations on the charge sheet of the Bremen Municipal Court against the suspect. The charges include breach of public peace, abuse of emergency calls, defamation/libel, threats, robbery, extortion, and fraud.
“In retrospect, I’m amazed that no one else in our family has suffered any major harm,” said Max’s mother, who asked that her name be withheld. She also became a target of the attacks. The alleged perpetrator used a fake Facebook profile to spread misinformation about her, saying she has breast cancer. According to Max, threats were also made against his sister. Over the phone, a distorted voice told him, “I want to fuck her.”
The calls, messages, and cases of fraud took a toll on the entire family. “I felt like I was always somewhere trying to plug up holes,” his mother told BuzzFeed News. Eventually, she stopped answering the phone at all. Even now she feels exhausted from that time; she has insomnia and avoids crowds. What really worries her is that the suspect is still free. “I want to forgive him. The hate is poisoning my life,” she said. But “we’re still in the middle of it all.”
Max, however, continued to be active on Facebook throughout 2016, in order to document what happened to him and those around him. He wanted to find a solution on his own, and he wanted to protect the people around him from being harassed. But who was protecting Max?
There were weeks during which the alleged perpetrator wasn’t very active. Other days, he sent dozens of messages. During a particularly difficult phase in the spring of 2016, Max had a breakdown at his best friend’s house. It’s one of the few times that Max actually cried. As Max and his best friend recalled, he then shook himself and said something to the effect of, “This won’t do any good either.”
At the end of the day, he said, he felt alone. 
In spring 2016, shortly after the incident with the posters, it all got to be too much for Max. He finally decided to report what was happening to him.
Max took several trips to a police station in downtown Bremen, an imposing building of large, sand-colored stone blocks. On multiple occasions, he tried to explain that his and other people’s cases were related, he told BuzzFeed News. (By this point, he had heard from friends and family members that he wasn’t the only one being harassed — one of his friends had also reported similar behavior to the police.) Max remembered having been to the station about three times. He said he was never contacted afterward. Instead, he remembered that the police told him to try going on Facebook less often or to not take what was happening to him too personally. Around May he received a phone call: The police were going to stop investigating his case — with no explanation why.
“He thought he would go there and get help, and he didn’t get any at all,” said his mother. In April 2016, Max’s father got involved and hired a private investigator.
Max described dealing with Facebook as similarly frustrating. He, his friends, and his family were reporting the fake accounts “nonstop,” he told BuzzFeed News. The company announced that it had deleted 1.3 billion fake profiles throughout 2018. But the alleged perpetrator was undeterred; he just kept creating new profiles over and over again.
According to criminal statistics, there were almost 20,000 stalking victims in Germany in 2017.

“When we found the posters, I realized I was in more danger than I'd thought.”
In Ge

In German, there are four specialized places that stalking victims and offenders can turn to, said Wolf Ortiz-Müller, a psychotherapist and head of the "Stop Stalking" counseling center in Berlin. “We lament this across the board. There are very few counseling centers, but [there are] a lot of people who need them, especially young people.”
 It’s possible that Max’s harasser found his contact info on the queer youth network Du Bist Nicht Allein (“You Are Not Alone”), where he was active. Max said that on multiple occasions, he gave his number to people whom he met there or was in touch with. “It was dumb of me to feel safe there just because I was among other gay people,” Max said.
The local LGBT and counseling experts BuzzFeed News spoke with were already familiar with the case, thanks to earlier media and police reports. Max’s particular experience is unique because he didn’t know the suspect before the attacks, unlike in most stalking cases.
According to five different sources, the alleged perpetrator is in his early thirties and lives near Max’s old school. To avoid jeopardizing the ongoing investigation and putting the victims in distress again, BuzzFeed News did not confront him.
It’s unclear what’s motivating the harasser, but there are multiple theories. “One person in a group is singled out to represent others to show their belief that it’s appalling to live that way,” said Ortiz-Müller, who said Max and the other young men were being targeted because of their sexual orientation. “The alleged perpetrator wants to make an example of him. This boils down to the desire to destroy them all.”
“These attacks — especially in the case of gay people — often take place in spaces that are actually thought of as safe,” Bastian Finke, head of the anti-gay violence project Maneo, wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News. “Perpetrators deliberately invade social spaces believed to be safe, such as dating sites, cruising areas, or bars to flirt with [potential victims] and then blackmail or attack them.” 
Max and his best friend in front of Max’s former school in Bremen.
Wolfram Franke looked out the window for a long time, fiddling with his ring, saying nothing. The police officer works in a small police station in the middle of Max’s school. Max went to see him dozens of times in his office at the end of the hall. The two trust each other. When Max visited the office for the first time in several months earlier this year, Franke hugged him.
After not seeing any progress at the large police station in the city center, where it seemed like no one was working on his case, Franke became Max’s contact. And just like Max, through his own research and reporting, he believes he knows who’s responsible. Sometimes he sees this man walk by the police office window with a smile on his face.
Not even Franke knows when the proceedings will finally begin. “These things can take an eternity and I think that’s extremely sad,” he said. “I admire Max. Others would have been broken by all of this.”
Franke said that no matter how personally affected he is by the case, in the end, his reports on Max will just be another part of a long paper trail. According to information obtained by BuzzFeed News, the alleged perpetrator was arrested by police in July 2016 after making a bomb threat. He was released, but afterward, the harassment campaign against Max mostly stopped.
Today, Max is 20 years old and applying to a university abroad. He still uses Facebook and WhatsApp to talk to his friends and family. But his social media channels also remind him of a past he wants to put behind him. “The places where it all happened are still there,” he said.
“Knowing that someone is out there potentially pushing young gay people to kill themselves and that this is still going on in the 21st century makes you question our society.”
On a winter day earlier this year, when it seemed it was about to snow at any moment, Max was taking a walk through downtown Bremen with his best friend. A message on the entrance of a fancy clothing store read, “If you are racist, sexist, homophobic, or an asshole … don’t come in.” In a café a few buildings down, Max told his story again.
Only now does Max realize how bad his experience actually was. In his conversations with BuzzFeed News, he kept naming the mistakes he feels he had made: He should have gone to the police earlier. He shouldn’t have thought he could handle it all by himself. He shouldn’t have isolated himself.
For a few weeks, he has been going to a stalking counseling center for emotional support and legal advice.
Every once in a while, he still gets messages on Instagram. Max thinks he recognizes the alleged perpetrator based on the way he writes. “You develop a sense for it,” he said. “I want him to stop. Knowing that someone is out there potentially pushing young gay people to kill themselves and that this is still going on in the 21st century makes you question our society.”
The spokesperson for the municipal court of Bremen was unable to comment on when there will be a trial, and if it will be public. Max himself has repeatedly said that not even he knows where things will go from here. So he is waiting. Waiting until he can finally put it all behind him.
Sometimes he imagines how he would behave in the courtroom: vulnerable or strong? “I want to show him what he did,” said Max. “But I also want to show him that he didn’t achieve his goal.” Max is still here — surviving.

October 3, 2017

There Goes Egypt Again Putting Gay Men on Trial For Being Gay

A rainbow flag was raised at a Cairo concert....17 men accused of debauchery (gay is not illegal even though it is so. Confusing? it has to be when a government knows is doing something wrong yet it does not want to make plainly clear. They instead use code words like debauchery, which could mean anything from having sex to rainsing a rainbow flag on a concert.

The trial of seventeen men accused of being homosexuals has begun in Cairo. The case is part of a wider crackdown on homosexuality in the conservative, Muslim country - where being gay is not expressly outlawed. 
The prosecution at the session held in the Azbakia Misdemeanour Court in Cairo on Sunday said the 17 had been arrested while engaging in homosexuality inside an apartment.
They have been accused of promoting homosexuality and inciting debauchery. All denied the charges.
The court adjourned until October 29, when it is expected to deliver a verdict.
While homosexuality is not expressly banned in Egypt, there is discrimination, and gay men are often arrested and charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.
Security forces rounded up at least eleven people after a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila in Cairo last week where some young concertgoers waved rainbow flags. Police reportedly used images shared on social media to identify the people later arrested. 
Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, called for the men to be released.
"Whether they were waving a rainbow flag, chatting on a dating app, or minding their own business in the streets, all these debauchery arrest victims should be immediately released," she said.
Forensic inspections
At the weekend, Amnesty International reported that the men on trial would be be subject to intimate examinations by the Forensic Medical Authority to determine whether they had had homosexual sex.
Amnesty said the examinations violated the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law, but a judicial source said they would be carried out by "a forensic doctor who swore to respect his profession and its ethics."
"The fact that Egypt's Public Prosecutor is prioritizing hunting down people based on their perceived sexual orientation is utterly deplorable," Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa campaigns director, said. "These men should be released immediately and unconditionally – not put on trial."
However, Egypt's Muslim religious establishment has expressed its support. A preacher at the Al Azhar seat of Sunni Muslim learning said it "will stand against calls for sexual perversion the same way it has stood against extremist groups."
(Reuters, dpa, AFP, adamfoxie)

September 11, 2017

A SURGE of Almost 80% in The UK on LGBT Attacks in The Last 4 Years

 Carl Johnson of Rochdale, in the Brain injury wing of the Hospital, after being left for dead last August was savagely beaten because he was suspected of being gay.

The number of attacks on lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the UK has soared by nearly 80 per cent in the past four years, new data shows.

More than one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation or gender identity in the last 12 months, compared with 16 per cent in 2013.

The findings, released by charity Stonewall and based on YouGov polling of more than 5,000 LGBT people in Britain, reveal verbal and physical attacks are taking place against the LGBT community in all spheres of public life – from bars and restaurants to while trying to find a house or access vital services.
As an LGBT rights lawyer, these are the strangest cases I’ve seen
Alarmingly, amid the soaring scale of hate crime, there has been widespread underreporting, with the study showing that four in five LGBT people who experienced a hate crime or incident in the past 12 months did not report it to the police.

The rise in crimes has created a pervading fear among the LGBT community as they go about their daily lives, with many avoiding certain streets and avoiding holding hands with their partners in public for fear of being attacked. 

For trans people, the findings are particularly alarming, showing that two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident based on their gender identity in the last 12 months.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people are also disproportionately affected, with a third had experienced a hate crime or incident in the last year, compared to one in five white LGBT people. 

The most common type of hate incident experienced by the LGBT community was being “insulted, pestered, intimidated or harassed” – with nearly nine in 10 people receiving such treatment, according to the study.

Unwanted sexual contact and threats of violence or use of force were also common – experienced by 26 per cent and 21 per cent of people respectively – while 13 per cent were physically assaulted by their abusers.

The report shows that fear of discrimination and harassment in public places pervades the LGBT community, with one in five LGBT people who have been a victim of hate crime in the last year not feeling safe where they live.

As a result of rampant abuse, three in 10 LGBT people said they avoid certain streets because they do not feel safe there, while more than a third (36 per cent) said they don’t feel comfortable walking in public while holding their partner’s hand.

One woman, who didn’t want to be named but described herself as a 25-year-old who works in the media in London, told The Independent she and her girlfriend experience harassment on a daily basis, to the point where she is forced to be “constantly aware” of addressing her safety when in public.

“I’ve been with my girlfriend for 18 months and we’ve experienced this daily harassment ever since our first dates. It’s still continuing now, whether we’re going for a walk in the park on a Sunday morning or catching the bus,” the woman said.

“We regularly get remarks in the street from creepy men approaching us, which often turns quickly sour and they shout things like ‘dyke’ at us. You have to be constantly aware of and assessing your safety, which obviously impacts your day-to-day life, and can affect your mental health and your relationship.

“So for heterosexual people to tell me ‘things are different now’ is highly ignorant and silences what’s really happening in LGBT people’s daily lives.”

Much of the hate crime takes place in public spaces, with one in six LGBT people (17 per cent) having been victims of hate crime in the last 12 months when they visited a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub, and one in seven experiencing discrimination when in a shop or department store. 

The discrimination also occurs when LGBT are interacting with landlords or public services. One in 10 said they had been discriminated against while looking for a house or flat to rent or buy in the last year, while 12 per cent said the same for when they had approached their local council. And a quarter of trans people were discriminated against when contacting emergency services.

The abuse also translates into the online world, with homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse being targeted towards one in 10 LGBT internet users in the last month – a figure that increases to one in four for trans people.

Non-binary LGBT people were found to be significantly more likely than LGBT men and women to experience personal online abuse, at 26 per cent compared to 10 per cent of men and eight per cent of women. 

Fear of hate crime among LGBT students up 95 per cent in a year
A geographic breakdown of LGBT hate crime shows that LGBT people in the North East experienced the most hate crime, at 35 per cent, while Yorkshire and the Humber, the North West and the South West experience the least, at 18 per cent. 

Amy, 52, from the North East of England, told researchers she felt unable to start her shift after she was harassed and abused by a group of teenagers on her way to work.

“I was walking to work and a group of young teens followed me and were making remarks about not having a man in my life and if I did have sex with them they would make me straight,” she said.

“They followed me up to my ward and they were still going at me. My work mates and manager were all there. My work mate told them to go. I didn’t feel good and cried. It took some time before I could start my shift.”

On the issue of the underreporting of LGBT hate crime, four in five LGBT people who experienced a hate crime or incident in the last 12 months did not report it to the police, while seven in ten did not report the incident to the police or to anyone else, such as their authority, social worker or charity.

Young people emerged as the least likely to report hate crime to the police, with only 12 per cent of people age 18 to 24 doing so.

LGBT people surveyed by YouGov said it was because they felt that they weren’t “taken seriously” by authorities they approached about hate crime they had experienced. 

Noah, 23, from the West Midlands, told researchers: “I and some friends were victims of a homophobic attack in town and after contacting the police, they basically blew it off and said that we need to be more resilient.”

In another case, Leo, age 53 from the North East of England, said: “I had occasion to report that I had been harassed and suffered an injury. I talked, they listened, but it was their attitude and I got the impression that it was not being taken seriously.”

In response to the rise in hate crimes and the scale of those going unreported, Stonewall has made a series of recommendations to authorities such as police forces, the Home Office and the Crime Prosecution Services (CPS) to adapt and improve their systems for reporting homophobic abuse.

The charity urged that while the figures demonstrate that the UK has taken “huge strides” in achieving equality for LGBT people in Britain, it is clear that much still needs to be done in order for them to feel safe, included and free to be themselves. 

Almost half of trans pupils have tried to take own lives, study finds
Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, said: “The study also finds that anti-LGBT abuse extends far beyond acts of hate and violence on our streets. Many LGBT people still endure poor treatment while using public services and going about their lives, whether in their local shop, gym, school or place of worship. 

“While we have come so far in the past 25 years, it is clear that much must still be done before all LGBT people can feel safe, included and free to be themselves in Britain today. 

“These findings warn against complacency and stand as a call to action. Building on the achievements of the past and working together as we look ahead, we can all play a role in bringing forward the day when every LGBT person, everywhere, is accepted without exception.”

The increase in LGBT hate crimes is in line with an overall increase in recorded hate crimes, with Home Office statistics showing that hate crime, in general, has risen by 48 per cent over the past three years. The number of recorded hate crimes and incidents based on sexual orientation has risen by 70 per cent over the same period.

Greater awareness of hate crime and efforts to improve recording of hate crime are thought to have played a role in the increase in recorded hate crimes in recent years, but the latest research also points to a genuine increase in incidents of the hate crime committed against lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Responding to the findings, the minister for countering extremism, Baroness Susan Williams, said: “All forms of hate crime are completely unacceptable and those who commit these awful crimes should be met with the full force of the law.  

“We are clear there can be absolutely no excuse for targeting someone because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We put victims at the heart of everything we do, which is why we work closely with partners to support victims of LGBT hate crime.

“Our Hate Crime Action Plan is improving the response of law enforcement and criminal justice system to these horrendous attacks, including ensuring more victims have the confidence to come forward and report such incidents.

“In the longer term, we will use the results from our national LGBT survey – launched this summer – to inform our plans to improve LGBT equality.”

September 2, 2017

The Bashing of Gays in Jordan

My.Kali May/June 2016 magazine cover. In July 2017, the Jordanian Media Commission opened an inquiry into the queer-inclusive online magazine and blocked access to its website for allegedly violating the Press and Publication Law.
My.Kali May/June 2016 magazine cover. In July 2017, the Jordanian Media Commission opened an inquiry into the queer-inclusive online magazine and blocked access to its website for allegedly violating the Press and Publication Law.
© 2016 My.Kali

High-level Jordanian officials have used a recent inquiry into the legality of a Jordanian online magazine to issue statements against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. By doing so, they are exploiting the inquiry to target the already-marginalized LGBT community in Jordan. 
It all began with a July request from an Islamist member of parliament, Dima Tahboub, to the Jordanian Media Commission to open an inquiry into the website My.Kali, a Jordanian queer-inclusive social affairs online magazine published since 2007. The commission concluded that same month that the magazine had violated the Press and Publication Law and issued instructions to block access to its website in Jordan.
Under the Press and Publication law, online publications have been required to register with and obtain a license from the Jordanian Media Commission since 2012. The law defines online publications subject to the licensing requirement as those that “engage in the publication of news, investigations, articles, or comments that have to do with the internal or external affairs of the kingdom.” These vague provisions allow authorities to arbitrarily use the law to limit free expression.
To make matters worse, authorities’ responses stoked the widespread animus against LGBT people in Jordan. In response to Tahboub’s inquiry, which remains private, the ministers of justice and interior wrote separate official letters to the minister of political and parliamentary affairs declaring their broad intolerance of LGBT people and making it clear that the government would not defend the rights of LGBT Jordanians.
In his letter, the interior minister, Ghaleb al-Zu’bi, wrote, “Jordan has not and will never endorse any charter or protocol acknowledging homosexuals—known as the LGBT community—or granting them any rights as it is considered a deviation from Islamic law and Jordanian Constitution.”
Although Jordan decriminalized same-sex behavior in 1951, the justice minister, Dr. Awad Al-Mashagbeh, offered similar remarks, contending that LGBT people’s “sexual deviance violates...the state’s general system and decency.”
What’s more, all of this—Tahboub’s inquiry, the commission’s review, the ministers’ letters—was completely unnecessary. The commission had blocked My.Kali since July 2016!  It was unclear why Tahboub sought to block access to a site that was already closed or why the commission issued a new order. Whatever their intentions were in reigniting an inquiry in July 2017, the result was a wave of negative attention toward My.Kali and the LGBT community generally.
It is for this exact reason that Khalid Abdel-Hadi, founder and creative director of My.Kali, had tried his best to keep the commission’s censorship of the magazine quiet back in 2016.
This was not the first time Jordanian authorities had stoked moral panic at the expense of LGBT people. In 2014, authorities arrested 10 LGBT people for holding a party in east Amman, all of whom were released soon after. In 2015, outrage spread in Jordan when the US ambassador attended an LGBT event organized by My.Kali and LGBT activists. And in both 2016 and 2017, Jordan banned Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly gay lead singer, from performing in Jordan.
This time around, not only have the vague provisions of the Press and Publication Law allowed Jordan to threaten free expression, they have also opened the door for authorities to limit the rights of LGBT people in Jordan. Rather than responding to Tahboub by unequivocally stating their support for the fundamental rights of all Jordanians, the ministers of justice and interior chose to exploit her public request for censorship of My.Kali as an opportunity to target Jordan’s LGBT community.
Rather than let such noxious statements go unchallenged, Jordan’s leaders should ensure that ministers and other authorities uphold their international human rights obligations for everyone, including LGBT people. 

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