Violence against LGBT people
Outside the West, many countries are deemed potentially dangerous to their LGBT population due to both discriminatory legislation and threats of violence.
These include countries where the dominant religion is Islam, most African countries except South Africa, most Asian countries other than Israel, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines, and some former-Communist countries such as Russia, Poland (LGBT-free zone), Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Such violence is often associated with religious condemnation of homosexuality or conservative social attitudes that portray homosexuality as an illness or a character flaw.
During the medieval and early modern period, the penalty for sodomy was usually death.
During the modern period (from the 19th century to the mid-20th century) in the Western world, the penalty was usually a fine or imprisonment.
There was a drop in locations where homosexual acts remained illegal from 2009 when there were 80 countries worldwide (notably throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and in most of Africa, but also in some of the Caribbean and Oceania) with five carrying the death penalty to 2016 when 72 countries criminalized consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex.
Brazil, a country with LGBT rights protections and legal same-sex marriage, is reported to have the world's highest LGBT murder rate, with more than 380 murders in 2017 alone, an increase of 30% compared to 2016.
This is usually not considered a hate crime in Brazil but a misinterpretation of skewed data resulting from relatively higher crime rates in the country in general when compared to world averages, rather than the LGBT population being a specific target.
In some countries, 85% of LGBT students experience homophobic and transphobic violence in school, and 45% of transgender students drop out of school.
The Middle East
A violent law regarding homosexual intercourse is prescribed in the Middle Assyrian Law Codes (1075 BCE), stating: "If a man lay with his neighbor, when they have prosecuted him (and) convicted him, they shall lie with him (and) turn him into a eunuch".
In the account given in Tacitus' Germania, the death penalty was reserved for two kinds of capital offenses: military treason or desertion was punished by hanging, and so was moral infamy (cowardice and homosexuality: ignavos et imbelles at corpore infames); Gordon translates corpore infames as "unnatural prostitutes"; Tacitus refers to male homosexuality, see David F. Greenberg, The construction of homosexuality, p. 242 f. Scholarship compares the later Germanic concept of Old Norse argr, Langobardic arga, which combines the meanings "effeminate, cowardly, homosexual", see Jaan Puhvel, 'Who were the Hittite hurkilas pesnes?'
in: A. Etter (eds.), O-o-pe-ro-si (FS Risch), Walter de Gruyter, 1986, p. 154.
Laws and codes prohibiting homosexual practice were in force in Europe from the fourth to the twentieth centuries, and Muslim countries have had similar laws from the beginnings of Islam in the seventh century up to and including the present day.
It is unclear whether the penalty was death or a fine.
The law may also have been used to prosecute adult male citizens who willingly took a pathic role in same-sex acts, but prosecutions are rarely recorded and the provisions of the law are vague; as John Boswell has noted, "if there was a law against homosexual relations, no one in Cicero's day knew anything about it."
France and Florence
In Florence, a young boy named Giovanni di Giovanni (1350–1365?)
was castrated and burned between the thighs with a red-hot iron by court order under this law.
Knight Richard von Hohenberg (died 1482) was burned at the stake together with his lover, his young squire, during this time.
In seventeenth century Malta, English voyager and author William Lithgow, writing in his diary in March 1616, says a Spanish soldier and a Maltese teenage boy were publicly burnt to ashes for confessing to have practiced sodomy together.
To escape this fate, about a hundred bardassoes, boy prostitutes, sailed for Sicily the following day.
This act was superseded in 1828, but sodomy remained punishable by death under the new act until 1861, although the last executions were in 1835.
Main article: LGBT rights by country or territory
As of August 2020, 69 countries criminalize consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex.
They are punishable by death in nine countries:
- Iran (fourth conviction)
- Saudi Arabia: Although the maximum punishment for homosexuality is execution, the government tends to use other punishments (fines, prison sentence, and whipping), unless it feels that homosexuals have challenged state authority by engaging in LGBT social movements.
- Parts of Nigeria and Somalia
Countries where homosexual acts are criminalized but not punished by death, by region, include:
- Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria (death penalty in some states), Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia (death penalty in some states), South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Kuwait, Malaysia, Aceh, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Gaza Strip under Palestinian Authority
- Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Afghanistan, where such acts remain punishable with fines and a prison sentence, dropped the death penalty after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, who had mandated it from 1996.
Jamaica has some of the toughest sodomy laws in the world, with homosexual activity carrying a 10-year jail sentence.
Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
See also: Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni
Even in countries where homosexuality is legal (most countries outside of Africa and the Middle East), there are reports of homosexual people being targeted with bullying or physical assault or even homicide.
Further information: Homophobic violence in Brazil
According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia, Brazil's oldest gay rights NGO, the rate of murders of homosexuals in Brazil is particularly high, with a reported 3,196 cases over the 30-year period of 1980 to 2009 (or about 0.7 cases per 100,000 population per annum).
At least 387 LGBT Brazilians were murdered in 2017.
Brazilian gay group Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) reported 190 documented alleged homophobic murders in Brazil in 2008, accounting for about 0.5% of intentional homicides in Brazil (homicide rate 22 per 100,000 population as of 2008).
64% of the victims were gay men, 32% were trans women or transvestites, and 4% were lesbians.
By comparison, the FBI reported five homophobic murders in the United States during 2008, corresponding to 0.03% of intentional homicides (homicide rate 5.4 per 100,000 population as of 2008).
The numbers produced by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) have occasionally been contested on the grounds that they include all murders of LGBT people reported in the media — that is, not only those motivated by bias against homosexuals.
Reinaldo de Azevedo, columnist of the right-wing Veja magazine, Brazil's most read weekly publication, called the GGB's methodology "unscientific" based on the above objection: that they make no distinction between murders motivated by bias and those that were not.
On the high level of murders of transsexuals, he suggested transsexuals' allegedly high involvement with the drug trade may expose them to higher levels of violence as compared to non-transgender homosexuals and heterosexuals.
In some countries, this form of legislation extends to verbal abuse as well as physical violence.
Violent hate crimes against LGBT people tend to be especially brutal, even compared to other hate crimes: "an intense rage is present in nearly all homicide cases involving gay male victims".
It is rare for a victim to just be shot; he is more likely to be stabbed multiple times, mutilated, and strangled.
"They frequently involved torture, cutting, mutilation... showing the absolute intent to rub out the human being because of his (sexual) preference".
His body had been dumped on a dark, rural road less than 2 miles from his home.
His two alleged attackers, William David Brown, Jr., 20, and Joseph Eli Bearden, 21, were indicted for robbery and first-degree murder.
Highlighting their malice and contempt for the victim, the accused killers allegedly drove around in Skipper's blood-soaked car and bragged of killing him.
According to a sheriff's department affidavit, one of the men stated that Skipper was targeted because "he was a faggot."
In Canada in 2008, police-reported data found that approximately 10% of all hate crimes in the country were motivated by sexual orientation.
Of these, 56% were of a violent nature.
In comparison, 38% of all racially motivated offenses were of a violent nature.
In the same year in the United States, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data, though 4,704 crimes were committed due to racial bias and 1,617 were committed due to sexual orientation, only one murder and one forcible rape were committed due to racial bias, whereas five murders and six rapes were committed based on sexual orientation.
Of those incidents, 68.4% were violent crimes; significantly higher than for any other bias category.
By contrast, 37.4% of racially motivated crimes were of a violent nature.
People's ignorance of and prejudice against LGBT people can contribute to the spreading of misinformation about them and subsequently to violence.
In 2018, a transgender woman was killed by a mob in Hyderabad, India, following false rumors that transgender women were sex trafficking children.
Three other transgender women were injured in the attack.
Recent research on university-level students indicated the importance of queer visibility and its impact in creating a positive experience for LGBTIQ+ members of a campus community, this can reduce the impact and effect of incidents on youth attending university.
When there is a poor climate - students are much less likely to report incidents or seek help.
Violence at universities
In the United States during the past few years, colleges and universities have taken major steps to prevent sexual harassment from taking place on campus, but students have reported violence due to their sexual orientation.
Sexual harassment can include "non-contact forms" such as making jokes or comments and "contact forms" like forcing students to commit sexual acts.
Even though little information exists with LGBT violence taking place at higher learning institutions, different communities are taking a stand against the violence.
Many LGBT rape survivors said they experienced their first assault before the age of 25, and that many arrive on campus with this experience.
Almost half of bi-sexual women experience their first assault between the ages of 18-24, and most of these take place unreported on college campuses.
Though the Federal Bureau of Investigation changed what the "federal" definition of what rape means (for reporting purposes) in 2012, local state governments still determine how campus violence cases are treated.
Catherine Hill and Elana Silva said in Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus,"Students who admit to harassing other students generally don't see themselves as rejected suitors, rather misunderstood comedians."
Most students who commit sexual violence towards other students do it to boost their own ego, believing that their actions are humorous.
More than 46% of sexual harassment towards LGBT people still goes unreported.
National resources have been created to deal with the issue of sexual violence and various organizations such as The American Association of University Women and the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence are established to provide information and resources for those who have been sexually harassed.
Legislation against homophobic hate crimes
Members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe began describing hate crimes based on sexual orientation (as opposed to generic anti-discrimination legislation) to be counted as aggravating circumstance in the commission of a crime in 2003.
The United States does not have federal legislation marking sexual orientation as criteria for hate crimes, but several states, including the District of Columbia, enforce harsher penalties for crimes where real or perceived sexual orientation may have been a motivator.
Among these 12 countries as well, only the United States has criminal law that specifically mentions gender identity, and even then only in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
In November 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted 79-70 to remove "sexual orientation" from the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, a list of unjustified reasons for executions, replacing it with "discriminatory reasons on any basis".
Legal and police response to these types of hate crimes is hard to gauge, however.
Lack of reporting by authorities on the statistics of these crimes and under-reporting by the victims themselves are factors for this difficulty.
Often a victim will not report a crime as it will shed unwelcome light on their orientation and invite more victimization.
Alleged judicative bias
Legal defenses like the gay panic defense allow for more lenient punishments for people accused of beating, torturing, or killing homosexuals because of their orientation.
These arguments posit that the attacker was so enraged by their victim's advances as to cause temporary insanity, leaving them unable to stop themselves or tell right from wrong.
In these cases, if the loss of faculties is proven, or sympathized to the jury, an initially severe sentence may be significantly reduced.
In several common law countries, the mitigatory defense of provocation has been used in violent attacks against LGBT persons, which has led several Australian states and territories to modify their legislation, in order to prevent or reduce the using of this legal defense in cases of violent responses to non-violent homosexual advances.
There have been several highly publicized cases where people convicted of violence against LGBT people have received shorter sentences.
One such case is that of Kenneth Brewer.
On 30 September 1997, he met Stephen Bright at a local gay bar.
He bought the younger man drinks and they later went back to Brewer's apartment.
While there, Brewer made a sexual advance toward Bright, and Bright beat him to death.
Cases like Bright's are not isolated.
Ryan Cran was convicted of manslaughter in the case in 2004 and released on parole in 2009 after serving only 4 years of his six-year sentence.
Two youths were tried under Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act and sentenced to three years after pleading guilty.
A fourth assailant was acquitted.
Judges are not immune to letting their own prejudices affect their judgment either.
In 1988, Texas Judge Jack Hampton gave a man 30 years for killing two gay men, instead of the life sentence requested by the prosecutor.
After handing down his judgment, he said: "I don't much care for queers cruising the streets picking up teenage boys ...[I] put prostitutes and gays at about the same level ... and I'd be hard put to give somebody life for killing a prostitute."
In 1987, a Florida judge trying a case concerning the beating to death of a gay man asked the prosecutor, "That's a crime now, to beat up a homosexual?"
The prosecutor responded, "Yes, sir.
And it's also a crime to kill them."
"Times have really changed," the judge replied.
The judge, Daniel Futch, maintained that he was joking, but was removed from the case.
Attacks on gay pride parades
LGBT Pride Parades in East European, Asian and South American countries often attract violence because of their public nature.
Though many countries where such events take place attempt to provide police protection to participants, some would prefer that the parades not happen, and police either ignore or encourage violent protesters.
The country of Moldova has shown particular contempt to marchers, shutting down official requests to hold parades and allowing protesters to intimidate and harm any who try to march anyway.
In 2007, after being denied a request to hold a parade, a small group of LGBT people tried to hold a small gathering.
They were surrounded by a group twice their size who shouted derogatory things at them and pelted them with eggs.
The gathering proceeded even so, and they tried to lay flowers at the Monument to the Victims of Repression.
They were denied the opportunity, however, by a large group of police claiming they needed permission from city hall.
The following year, a parade was again attempted.
A bus carried approximately 60 participants to the capital, but before they could disembark, an angry crowd surrounded the bus.
They shouted things like "let's get them out and beat them up", and "beat them to death, don't let them escape" at the frightened passengers.
The mob told the activists that if they wanted to leave the bus unharmed, they would have to destroy all of their pride materials.
The passengers complied and the march was called off.
All the while, police stood passively about 100 meters away, taking no action even though passengers claimed at least nine emergency calls were made to police while on the bus.
They were met by skinheads and other protesters, and police who had closed off the square and immediately arrested activists as they entered.
As some were being arrested, other participants were attacked by protesters.
Police did nothing.
Around eleven women and two men were arrested and left in the heat, denied medical attention, and verbally abused by police officers.
The officers told the women, "No one needs lesbians, no one will ever get you out of here."
When participants were released from custody hours later, they were pelted by eggs and shouted at by protesters who had been waiting.
Hungary, on the other hand, has tried to afford the best protection they can to marchers, but cannot stem the flow of violence.
In 2008, hundreds of people participated in the Budapest Dignity March.
Police, on alert due to attacks on two LGBT-affiliated businesses earlier in the week, erected high metal barriers on either side of the street the march was to take place on.
Hundreds of angry protesters threw petrol bombs and rocks at police in retaliation.
A police van was set on fire and two police officers were injured in the attacks.
During the parade itself, protesters threw Molotov cocktails, eggs and firecrackers at marchers.
At least eight participants were injured.
Forty-five people were detained in connection with the attacks, and observers called the spectacle "the worst violence during the dozen years the Gay Pride Parade has taken place in Budapest".
Shlisel claimed he had acted "in the name of God".
It was three weeks after he was released from jail.
One of the victims, 16-year-old Shira Banki, died of her wounds at the Hadassah Medical Center three days later, on 2 August 2015.
Shortly after, Prime Minister Netanyahu offered his condolences, adding "We will deal with the murderer to the fullest extent of the law."
In 2019, the gay pride parade in Detroit was infiltrated by armed neo-nazis who reportedly claimed they wanted to spark "Charlottesville 2.0" referring to the United the Right demonstration in 2017 which resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer, and many others injured.
Wojda also asserted that the march was "foreign" and thanked those who "defend Christian values".
Approximately a thousand pride marchers were opposed by thousands of members of far-right groups, ultra football fans, and others.
Firecrackers were tossed at the marchers, homophobic slogans were chanted, and the marchers were pelted with rocks and bottles.
Dozens of marchers were injured.
Amnesty International criticized the police response, saying they had failed to protect marchers and "failed to respond to instances of violence".
According to the New York Times, similar to the manner in which the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville shocked Americans, the violence in Białystok raised public concern in Poland over anti-LGBT propaganda.
Advocacy in song lyrics
As a result of the strong anti-homosexual culture in Jamaica, many reggae and dancehall artists, such as Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Sizzla, have published song lyrics advocating violence against homosexuals.
Similarly, hip-hop music occasionally includes aggressively homophobic lyrics, but has since appeared to reform.
Banton wrote a song when he was 15 years old that became a hit when he released it years later in 1992 called "Boom Bye Bye".
The song is about murdering homosexuals and "advocated the shooting of gay men, pouring acid on them and burning them alive."
A song by Elephant Man proclaims: "When you hear a lesbian getting raped/It's not our fault ... Two women in bed/That's two sodomites who should be dead."
Canadian activists have sought to deport reggae artists from the country due to homophobic content in some of their songs, which they say promote anti-gay violence.
Gay rights advocates have started the group Stop Murder Music to combat what they say is the promotion of hate and violence by artists.
The group organized protests, causing some venues to refuse to allow the targeted artists to perform, and the loss of sponsors.
In 2007, the group asked reggae artists to promise "not to produce music or make public statements inciting hatred against gay people.
Neither can they authorise the re-release of previous homophobic songs."
Several artists signed that agreement, including Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton, but some later denied signing it.
During the 1980s, skinheads in North America who promoted emerging neo-Nazi pop culture and racist rock songs increasingly went to punk rock concerts with anti-gay music advocating violence.
See also: Christianity and homosexuality
These denominations include the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox church, the Methodist Church, and many other mainline denominations, such as the Reformed Church in America and the American Baptist Church, as well as Conservative Evangelical organizations and churches, such as the Evangelical Alliance, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Likewise, Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God, as well as Restorationist churches, like Jehovah's Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also take the position that homosexual activity is immoral.
One such group, Exodus International, argued that conversion therapy may be a useful tool for decreasing same-sex desires, and, while former affiliates of Exodus continue with such views, Exodus has since repudiated the organization's mission and apologised for the pain and hurt and promoting "sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents."
The medical and scientific consensus in the United States is that conversion therapy is likely harmful and should be avoided because it may exploit guilt and anxiety, thereby damaging self-esteem and leading to depression and even suicide.
There is a broad concern in the mental health community that the advancement of conversion therapy itself causes social harm by disseminating inaccurate views about sexual orientation and the ability of gay, lesbian and bisexual people to lead happy, healthy lives.
This promotion of the idea that homosexuality is immoral and can be corrected may make would-be attackers of homosexuals feel justified in that they are "doing God's work" by ridding the world of LGBT people.
The Catholic Church teaches that a homosexual orientation is not sinful and that LGBT people are to be treated with compassion and respect, as all others are.
It also teaches that sex is meant to be had between opposite sex spouses.
It said that LGBT people "have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity."
It adds that
However, in the same letter Ratzinger suggested that an increase in anti-gay violence is unsurprising if laws are introduced to protect homosexual behavior:
Pope Benedict XVI, then the leader of the Roman Catholic Church stated that "protecting" humanity from homosexuality was just as important as saving the world from climate change and that all relationships beyond traditional heterosexual ones are a "destruction of God's work."
God loves you like this.
The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say."
See also: Islam and homosexuality
These, on the other hand, are perfectly clear and particularly harsh.
Ibn al-Jawzi records Muhammad as cursing sodomites in several hadith, and recommending the death penalty for both the active and passive partners in same-sex acts.
Sunan al-Tirmidhi again reports Muhammad as having prescribed the death penalty for both the active and the passive partner: "Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lot, kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done."
The overall moral or theological principle is that a person who performs such actions challenges the harmony of God's creation, and is therefore a revolt against God.
These views vary depending upon sect.
It is noteworthy to point out that Quranists (those who do not integrate the aforementioned Hadiths into their belief system) do not advocate capital punishment.
Some imams still preach their views, stating that homosexuals and "women who act like men" should be executed under the Islamic law.
Abu Usamah at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham defended his words to followers by saying "If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be executed, that's my freedom of speech, isn't it?"
Other contemporary Islamic views are that the "crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest of crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds".
See also: Judaism and homosexuality
While there is disagreement about which acts come under core prohibitions, all of Orthodox Judaism puts certain core homosexual acts, including sodomy in the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor—"die rather than transgress"—the small category of Biblically-prohibited acts (also including murder, idolatry, adultery, and incest) which an Orthodox Jew is obligated under the laws of self-sacrifice under Jewish Law to die rather than do.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence against LGBT people.