Permitted but persecuted: victims of LGBTQIA+ hate4 min read
The LGBTQIA+ community has long since fallen victim to many trials and tribulations globally, constantly needing to fight to be themselves and live on their own norms. All across the world, the month of June is celebrated as ‘Pride Month’, where individuals within the community are encouraged to be themselves and take pride in their true identities.
Over the last few decades, there has been an increased spread of awareness about the idea that gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum, rather segregated into clear-cut categories. Despite there being more acceptance and better treatment towards the community, there still continue to be several governments that consider belonging to the community unlawful, with 14 countries having death penalties for the same. While the crimes against people of the community in these countries garner attention on a global scale, hate crimes continue to subsist in countries, even where homosexuality is legally recognised.
As this year’s Pride Month draws to a close, The Manipal Journal highlights incidents of crime against theLGBTQIA+ community; crimes that occurred despite homosexuality and transgenderism being legal and having support from allies.
Crimes committed against people based on their gender identity or sexuality have increased by 144% from 2013-14 to 2017-18, with every one in five people facing crime due to their sexual orientation or gender identity and two in five people experiencing a hate crime due to their gender identity. An average of four out of five hate crimes faced by the LGBTQIA+ community goes unreported, with younger members being especially reluctant to report a hate crime.
On May 30, two women were attacked on a bus by four teenage boys because of their sexuality. One of the women, Melania Geymonat, spoke out about the incident. She told BBC News that she and her partner, Chris, were out on a date when the four teenagers began harassing them and demanding that they kiss, while making obscene sexual gestures. The boys then began to throw coins at them before physically attacking the women, leading to a requirement of medical attention for their injuries.
United States of America
In March, Pentagon, the US’s primary Department of Defense made the decision that those serving in the military will be assigned genders based on their biological sex. Additionally, in May, the Trump administration decided to strip trans patients of all access to Obama-era health care and give financial incentives to homeless shelters that refuse transgendered people.
According to ABC News, two gay men and one transgendered woman in Detroit and one gay man outside Atlanta were all killed during the first week of June alone. Activists believe that all of these crimes are considered to be hate crimes towards the LGBTQIA+ community. The Human Rights Campaign has recorded at least 10 killings of trans people so far in 2019 and 28 killings being recorded in 2018, with the majority in both years being black women. Two trans women were also found dead in Dallas, Texas, in May.
With less than a year since the historical striking down of Section 377, the Indian LGBTQIA+ community is a step closer to winning their rights. While engaging in sexual activities between two people of the same gender is no longer illegal, they do not have the rights to get married or adopt children.
Kiran Bobby, a transwoman from the Naz Foundation in Delhi, opened up to BBC News about her life as a transwoman. She explained how she does not feel safe in the capital city of Delhi, as most people tend to think that she is a sex worker. “Five boys tried to pull me into a car on New Year’s Eve. I think they were trying to rape me but I pushed the door open and ran away. It really scared me,” she told BBC News.
This Pride Month is especially important to the people of Brazil after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of making homophobia and transphobia a crime as serious as racism, on May 24. The ruling was put into motion after over 141 killings of LGBTQ people were committed this year, according to rights group Groupo Gay Da Bahia.
Despite this ruling, many people feel that the violence targeted at the LGBTQIA+ community will continue under the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a self-proclaimed homophobe. He has on many accounts shown his outright animosity towards the LGBTQIA+ community, women and secularism.
Featured Image Courtesy: Aparna Shankar
Edited by: Karthika Venugopal