Hate crimes linked to sexual orientation are on the rise: “The current political context is not favorable to changing mentalities”

Hate crimes linked to sexual orientation are on the rise: “The current political context is not favorable to changing mentalities”
Hate crimes linked to sexual orientation are on the rise: “The current political context is not favorable to changing mentalities”

Concretely, assault and battery or intimidation are mentioned in more than half of the cases for homophobia, compared to less than a quarter for other types of cases, worries Patrick Charlier, director of Unia.

In Belgium, the gains made for LGBTQIA+ communities are still threatened by what is called “wokism”

Fear of not being believed or being made fun of

These figures are only the small visible part of the phenomenon. Most victims of acts of violence because of their belonging to the LGBTQI+ community refrain from filing a complaint. For fear of not being believed or being made fun of. Or because they have very little hope that justice will follow up on their actions.

Unia’s figures resonate with the results of a recent study by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights carried out among 100,000 LGBTQI+ people in 30 countries. In Belgium, more than half (53%) of those surveyed “always” or “often” prevent themselves from holding hands in public and more than a quarter (27%) avoid certain places for fear of being attacked. because they are gay, lesbian, trans… And 15% of respondents say they have been victims of violence over the last five years. Of these, only 14% then went to a Belgian police station.

Significant progress… on paper

Files concerning hate speech linked to the sexual orientation of the people targeted follow the same trend. In this regard, Unia welcomes the conviction on Monday of a man found guilty of harassment and homophobic remarks towards a transgender person. “The Brussels Criminal Court retained the aggravating circumstance of homophobia”underlines Patrick Charlier.

One year in prison for the man who harassed Samantha, transgender woman: “It’s a strong symbol”

Belgium is not remaining idle in the face of the problem. Significant progress has been made in recent months, Unia acknowledges. Amendments to anti-discrimination legislation, provisions provided for in the new Penal Code as well as a circular addressed to magistrates make it possible, on paper, to further protect LGBTQI + people.“But despite this, we see that they are still the main victims of violence, intimidation and harassment, whether on the streets or on social networks., notes Patrick Charlier again. Mentalities still need to evolve and the current political context is not favorable to this, adds Unia.

Unia calls for a new interfederal action plan

The Interfederal Center points out the polarization of social networks, where hostile, contemptuous, threatening or insulting comments towards LGBTQI + people obtain a disproportionate response which sometimes exceeds the limits of freedom of expression.

In its memorandum submitted for the elections, Unia calls on the country’s various entities to urgently develop, for the next legislature, a new interfederal action plan against discrimination and violence against LGBTQI+ people.

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