LGBTQI discrimination up 40% in 2019 with 160 attacks registered

Barcelona is the area with the most cases, in the city in particular

Press conference held by the Observatory Against Homophobia in June, 2020 (by Blanca Blay)
Press conference held by the Observatory Against Homophobia in June, 2020 (by Blanca Blay) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 25, 2020 01:57 PM

The Observatory Against Homophobia (OCH) recorded 160 incidents in 2019, 41.6% more than the previous year, when 113 were recorded. 

These are communications made to the entity for people verbally or physically assaulted in different territories of Catalonia. 

According to the report, Barcelona is the province with the most cases, and in particular, Barcelona city. 

The group with the highest number of incidents is gay or bisexual men (almost 60%) and the most common age group is from 26 to 35 years old.

According to the president of the entity, Eugeni Rodríguez, the attacks have increased in part because there is a "toxic air" caused by the rise of the far-right that "emboldens" the aggressors.

An example of this, Rodríguez explains, is that during 2019 that more group attacks began to be seen. On the other hand, he also attributes the 41.6% increase in registered cases to the fact that there is more and more awareness and tools to report incidents.

With 160 cases, this is the highest number of incidents ever recorded by the entity since the reports of the state of LGTBQI-phobia in Catalonia are released.

Only 16.3% initiate criminal proceedings

Many of the reported incidents do not continue with any legal consequences. In fact, only 16.3% of cases in 2019 saw criminal proceedings being initiated and the OCH has acted as a private prosecutor in four cases. 

Cristian Carrer, another member of the organization, explained that the main objective of the OCH is to "repair" and preserve dignity. “There are a lot of people who come because they need to be heard, we saw it with the confinement,” Rodriguez added.

For this reason, Carrer clarified that it is not just a matter of filing a complaint or accompanying people in the process, but also offering psychological support.

Calls to institutions

Eugeni Rodríguez reiterated the need for specific regulation to deal with cases of attacks and discrimination against the LGBTQI community, and lamented the fact that the Catalan government is not leading such an initiative. 

On the other hand, he stressed the importance of the Catalan police and other security forces to travel to the scene of the attack to prevent aggressors from fleeing quickly and establishing some mechanism so that there is no "impunity."

He also demanded that city councils have initiatives designed for the LGTBI community and called for a specific protocol for trans people and how they should be treated appropriately by the administrations in areas such as health or prisons.