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Bias against LGBT people

Hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are motivated by a bias based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. In some instances, LGBT people have been portrayed by the media and politicians as a threatening and inferior group, posing a danger to public health and "traditional" structures, such as marriage and the family. LGBT people continue to experience stigmatization and lack of legal protection from discrimination and hate crime. Successive ODIHR annual hate crime reports have included reports of physical assaults and murders, with transgender people being particularly at risk. Serious physical assaults carried out by groups, especially around pride parades, are also common features of hate crimes against LGBT people.

Recording practices vary, with some states recording hate crimes against transgender persons as a separate category and/or including crimes against intersex people within this category. The number of NGOs reporting on hate crimes against LGBT has grown markedly in recent years. Reports from NGOs to ODIHR suggest that mistrust of authorities, as well as an unwillingness or fear to reveal one's own sexual orientation or gender identity contributes to significant under-reporting of hate crimes targeting this group.



SELECT YEAR

Reports

Overview of incidents reported by civil society

Attacks Against People Attacks Against Property Total
Violent Attacks Threats
478 101 22 601

Albania

PINK Embassy, LGBT Pro Albania and ILGA-Europe reported a physical assault against a lesbian and a series of threats against a lesbian.

Armenia

Amnesty International reported, via the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a case of threats. Pink Armenia and the Open Society Foundations – Armenia reported a physical assault against a transgender woman and that one gay man was kidnapped on three separate occasions, during the course of which he was threatened with knives and guns, and was the victim of attempted blackmail.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo Open Centre reported an incident in which three women were physically assaulted, with one of them suffering serious injury; a physical assault against a male LGBT activist; and 13 incidents of threats against gay people and LGBT activists. The Sarajevo Open Centre and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina reported physical assaults against three LGBT activists at an LGBT-related discussion in a cinema, carried out by a group and resulting in the hospitalization of two of the victims.

Croatia

Official figures recorded two cases of homophobic threats. 

Czech Republic

In IUSTITIA reported one homophobic physical assault during Prague Pride and an incident of threats against a transgender person.

Estonia

The Estonian LGBT Association reported two physical assaults, including one against two gay men carried out by a group, and one incident of damage to property.

Finland

Official law-enforcement figures recorded 40 hate crimes based on bias against LGBT, including 21 physical assaults, one case of disturbance of the peace, four cases of damage to property, nine cases of threats and five other crimes.

ILGA-Europe and Seta reported two incidents of threats and harassment. One incident involved a gay student who was repeatedly harassed physically and sexually, leading him to attempt to take his own life. In the other incident, two gay men were threatened with a gun.

Georgia

The civil society group Article 42 of the Constitution reported, via the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF), two incidents of physical assaults: including one against a gay man and two transgender people that caused serious physical injuries to the man; and one separate assault against a transgender woman.

Transgender Europe, the Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG) via the HBF, Identoba and the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association (GYLA) reported the murder of a transgender woman in her home, which was later set on fire; and a physical assault against a transgender woman.

WISG, via the HBF, reported a further physical assault against a transgender woman, which rendered her unconscious. Identoba reported a further six physical assaults, including five carried out by a group, one of which resulted in serious injury, and all of which were against men; one arson attack against the home of a lesbian woman; one attempted physical assault; and four threats.

Germany

Official figures record 129 crimes based on bias against sexual orientation.

Transgender Europe reported six incidents of physical assaults, including one in which the victim was repeatedly kicked in the face by a group and one also involving a robbery.

The East German Hate Crime Counselling Projects 2014 reported 31 incidents against LGBT people, including an unspecified number of attempted murders, physical assaults, harassment and threatening behaviour, damage to property and arson attacks.

The Lesbian and Gay Federation Cologne reported six physical assaults, including two that caused serious injuries, one of which was carried out by a group.

MANEO reported one murder, 47 physical assaults, 14 sexual assaults, 44 robberies, 30 threats and 3 burglaries.

Greece

The Racist Violence Recording Network reported seven physical assaults, including an incident in which the victim needed stitches and another in which the victim suffered broken bones; and 11 threats, including one incident involving a death threat and property damage, and one threat against a child. The vast majority of victims were gay men. The Network reported a further eight physical assaults against transgender women, including a Pakistani transgender woman.

Hungary

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and the Háttér Society reported a threat against a gay man in connection with the Budapest Pride event. The Háttér Society reported a further five physical assaults, four of which were against gay men, including one against a gay couple and one of which involved an attack by a group against several people who were participating in the Budapest Pride event.

Ireland

Official figures recorded eight homophobic hate crimes.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland reported one physical assault against a gay refugee. Transgender Europe and the Transgender Equality Network, Ireland reported two sexual assaults and four physical assaults.

Italy

Official figures recorded 27 crimes against LGBT people, including one homicide, one assault, five cases of threats, five vandalism cases and 27 other crimes.

World Without Nazism reported one homophobic physical assault.

Kyrgyzstan

Labrys Kyrgyzstan, Transgender Europe and Kyrgyz Indigo reported a physical assault against a transgender woman carried out by a group, which was filmed and posted on the Internet. Kyrgyz Indigo reported a further five physical assaults, four of which were carried out by groups, one of which was also filmed and posted on the Internet. In one incident, a gay man was taken hostage for over a week, during which he was severely beaten, stabbed, burned with cigarettes and left in a park. He fell into a coma as a result. Victims included a transgender woman and several gay men.

Kyrgyz Indigo reported a further series of threats against LGBT people, including threats of extortion and blackmail. Transgender Europe reported two physical assaults, including one causing serious injuries, and six incidents of harassment and threats against transgender people, as well as a sexual assault against a transgender woman.

Lithuania

The Lithuanian Gay League and ILGA-Europe reported four physical assaults, including one carried out by a group against a transgender woman and her sister, and one against an openly gay singer during a concert.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

ILGA-Europe, the LGBTI Support Centre and the Macedonian Helsinki Committee reported eight physical assaults, including three carried out by groups, one of which was against four people and one also involving damage to a café that was hosting an event marking the second anniversary of the LGBTI support centre, and several stone-throwing attacks. Victims were mainly gay men, as well as two children. ILGA-Europe, the LGBTI Support Centre and the Macedonian Helsinki Committee reported a further series of threats against three gay men in a shopping centre.

Moldova

The Information Center "GenderDoc-M" reported a series of at least seven attacks involving physical and sexual assaults against gay and bisexual men, some of which were filmed and posted on the Internet: an incident of damage to the Gender-Doc-M office in which members of staff were also pelted with eggs: one incident of property damage and threats during a pride event: and five threats.

Mongolia

ILGA-Europe and LGBT Centre (Mongolia) reported the murder of a gay man and two physical assaults causing serious injuries, one of which was carried out by a group.

Netherlands

ILGA-Europe reported four physical assaults causing serious injuries, including one carried out by a group and one involving a threat with a knife. In one case, the victim's earrings were ripped out and he was beaten, and in the other the victim was stabbed multiple times. IGLA-Europe reported an additional physical assault against the owner of a café.

Norway

ILGA-Europe and the Norwegian LGBT Organization (LLH) reported a physical assault against a gay man, carried out by a group, in which a bottle was used.

Poland

The Ministry of the Interior recorded seven hate crimes and hate incidents motivated by bias on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender identity.

ILGA-Europe, the Never Again Association and the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) reported the murder of a gay man, who was beaten and drowned. ILGA-Europe and the KPH additionally reported four physical assaults, including one carried out by a group against a gay boy in which his dog was also attacked, and attacks against a man and his partner, a transgender woman and a gay man; and one incident of damage to a mural promoting diversity and equal treatment.

The Never Again Association reported one incident in which a brick was thrown at the residence of a transgender actress, injuring her niece; one physical assault on a parliamentarian, who also received threats; five incidents of threats; three arson attacks, one attempted arson attack and vandalism on a permanent outdoor art installation in Warsaw; and four incidents of graffiti.

Portugal

ILGA-Portugal reported six physical assaults, including three incidents of physical assaults against lesbians and two against gay men, one of which was carried out by a group; a series of physical assaults against eight people by a group outside a lesbian nightclub; and a further attempted physical assault against a gay man.

Romania

ACCEPT Association and ILGA-Europe reported a case of ongoing threats and harassment against a lesbian couple.

Russian Federation

The Russian LGBT Network and the LGBT Initiative Group "Coming Out" reported the murder of a man perceived by his attackers as gay, and three physical assaults causing serious injuries and involving robberies, one of which was carried out by a group. In addition, the Russian LGBT Network and "Coming Out" reported four physical assaults causing serious injuries, one of which involved the kidnapping and rape of a gay man, seven incidents of physical assaults, and five incidents of physical assaults carried out by groups. The Russian LGBT Network and "Coming Out" reported a further 15 physical assaults causing serious injuries carried out by groups specifically targeting members of the LGBT community.

The Russian LGBT Network,  "Coming Out" and the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis also reported a physical assault on the metro causing serious injury to two women perceived to be lesbians. The Russian LGBT Network, "Coming Out," SOVA and Human Rights Watch reported an attack by a group forcibly attempting to enter an LGBT event during which a security guard was pelted with eggs. The Russian LGBT Network, "Coming Out" and Human Rights Watch reported a group seriously disrupting an LGBT event by attempting to enter forcibly, physically assaulting participants and spraying disinfectant on them.

The Russian LGBT Network and "Coming Out" also reported two incidents of damage to property, one arson attack, one incident of theft, in which a man was locked out of his flat and denied access to his belongings after his sexual orientation was discovered, and four incidents of threats.

SOVA reported five more physical assaults causing injuries by groups, including an attack on a school group dressed in kilts in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, who were perceived to be from the LGBT community, and one incident in which a group attempted to forcibly remove a flag from an LGBT activist.

Human Rights Watch reported a series of incidents in which gay men were physically and sexually assaulted by a group. In one case, urine was poured over the victim’s head. The incidents were filmed and posted online. Human Rights Watch reported a further physical assault carried out by a group against a gay man, four incidents of threats, one of which was a bomb threat and the other three against LGBT activists.

World Without Nazism reported three murders; ten physical assaults, including one causing serious injuries and one carried out by a group; and three incidents of attacks carried out by groups against LGBT rallies.

Serbia

Gayten-LGBT and Transgender Europe reported two physical assaults, one causing serious injury carried out by a group against a transgender woman, and one against a lesbian on a bus, as well as a threat against a transgender woman. The OSCE Mission to Serbia reported a physical assault against a gay man from Germany.

Spain

Official figures recorded 513 hate crimes motivated by bias against sexual orientation.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported a threat and two physical assaults, including one against two gay men that caused serious injury. The Cabinet of Social Studies, the State Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual People (FELGBT) and ILGA-Europe reported a physical assault against a boy carried out by a group in school. The FELGBT and ILGA-Europe reported a further four threats, including one against a lesbian woman; and six physical assaults, including one carried out by a group against a gay man, a further three against gay men and two against transgender women.

Pro Igual reported a physical assault causing serious injury against a transgender woman, in which a car dragged the victim over several metres. Pro Igual and the Movement Against Intolerance reported an additional physical assault against a gay couple. The Movement Against Intolerance reported an additional physical assault causing serious injuries to a gay man and an arson attack on the home of an LGBT activist.

Sweden

Official figures recorded 493 crimes motivated by bias based on sexual orientation.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) and ILGA-Europe reported seven physical assaults, including one in which a gay man was stabbed with a knife and threatened with a gun, a series of at least two physical assaults and harassment against LGBT people living in refugee camps, and five incidents of threats and harassment, three of which were against gay couples.

Turkey

Transgender Europe, the Red Umbrella Sexual Health Human Rights Association and the Human Rights Association reported the murders of three transgender women. The Human Rights Association reported the additional murder of a transgender woman. Transgender Europe and the Red Umbrella Sexual Health Human Rights Association reported an additional five attempted murders. Methods included shooting, strangulation, beating with sticks and petrol bombings. ​  

Transgender Europe and the Red Umbrella Sexual Health Human Rights Association reported two rapes, including the gang rape of a transgender woman, one kidnapping and knife attack, a further 18 physical assaults, including five involving knives, one which involved 25 victims and one in which the victim was shot at. Transgender Europe and the Red Umbrella Sexual Health Human Rights Association reported a further threat and a kidnapping.

The London Legal Group reported an incident of repeated physical assault and harassment against a transgender woman, driving her to suicide.

The Human Rights Association reported two additional incidents of physical assault targeting transgender people, one of which included the use of firearms, and one incident of threats towards a transgender person that led to the victim's suicide.

Ukraine

Fulcrum, the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine (CNCU) and Nash Mir reported an arson attack against a theatre during the screening of a film linked with LGBT issues. Fulcrum reported 112 physical assaults, some causing serious injury and most carried out by groups against gay men and lesbians. The attacks were filmed on mobile phones and posted on the Internet. Fulcrum also reported a series of physical attacks by groups against two gay clubs.

Nash Mir reported ten physical assaults, six of which were carried out by groups and four of which were also filmed and posted on the Internet. A man was stabbed several times in one incident. These assaults also included one case of oral rape, accusations against gay men of paedophilia and, in one case, a victim was admitted to a psychiatric hospital as a result of his experience. Nash Mir and the CNCU also reported a series of attacks against two gay clubs causing damage to property and serious injury to a club guard, one incident of graffiti and two threats. World Without Nazism reported an attempted attack by a group on a pride parade.

Nash Mir  and the CNCU reported a series of physical assaults and robberies carried out by a group against people at a gay club located in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine. 

United Kingdom

Official figures recorded 5,597 crimes based on bias against sexual orientation and 605 crimes based on bias against transgender people in England and Wales. Fifty-four crimes based on bias against sexual orientation and against transgender people were recorded in Northern Ireland. 

Transgender Europe and the Transgender Equality Network – Ireland  reported one physical assault and a series of threats against a transgender student.

World Without Nazism reported one incident of physical assault.

United States of America

Official figures record 1,178 homophobic hate crimes and 109 hate crimes motivated by bias against gender identity.


Developments

Albania

In its fifth report on Albania, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that police consult civil society regularly on hate crimes and investigate these crimes thoroughly, fully considering bias motivation.

Armenia

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided technical assistance to the civil society groups We for Civil Equality and Exchange of Letters, allowing victims of LGBT hate crime to be referred to them for support.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The UN Human Rights Council, in its Universal Periodic Review (UPR),​ recommended that local authorities collect and evaluate hate crime data, and publicly and unequivocally condemn any hate crime against LGBT groups and bring those responsible to justice.

Bulgaria

In its fifth report, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the Bulgarian authorities include sexual orientation and gender identity in all the articles of the criminal code addressing hate speech and hate crime. It also recommended the collection of data on hate speech and hate crime against LGBT people, including on the number of cases reported, investigated and prosecuted.

France

In his country visit report, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe expressed concern at rising racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and homophobic rhetoric and acts. He stressed that the existing, solid legal framework needs to be complemented by more preventive and awareness-raising measures.

Greece

In its fifth report on Greece, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended including sexual orientation and gender identity in the mandate of new anti-racism police units. It also recommended that the authorities offer training to police, judges and prosecutors on violent incidents and the application of Article 81A of the Criminal Code, which concerns hate crimes.

Ireland

The Garda developed a number of training courses addressing diversity, discrimination and hate crimes, and participated in other events organized in co-operation with representatives of victim communities, including the Roma, Muslim and LGBT communities, as well as civil society groups providing assistance to refugees.

The Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality launched a new website, developed by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) civil society group. The website, stophatecrime.ie, supported by the Garda, provides for the third party reporting of hate crime motivated by homophobic and transphobic bias. In co-operation with the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI), the Garda developed for its officers a set of guidelines on conducting investigations and engaging correctly with transgender people.

Italy

As part of the national strategy to prevent and combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, covering the 2013-2015 period, National Office against Racial Discrimination (UNAR) organized two training courses (training-of-trainers) for 28 National Police and 28 Carabinieri officers.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

In its report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the United Nations Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) called upon the authorities to take appropriate measures to prevent and end impunity for violence against the LGBT community.

Montenegro

Third party reporting of hate crimes has been introduced in co-operation with the Juventas civil society group. The reporting form can be filed by the victims or witnesses both anonymously or with all the data included.

Norway

The Norwegian LGBT Organization (LLH) reported that the Oslo police set up a specialist hate crime team and began recording crimes based on bias against gender identity.

It its fifth report on Norway, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) praised the Oslo police for creating a specialized hate crime unit, involving civil society organizations in police officer training and conducting regular dialogue with civil society. ECRI recommended the creation of an electronic system for recording and monitoring racist and homophobic/transphobic incidents and processing them through the judicial system.

Serbia

The OSCE Mission to Serbia reported that the Ministry of Interior launched a project with Labris to train some 120 police officers on addressing hate crimes against LGBT communities.

In his report following the country visit to Serbia, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe praised the country’s efforts in the field of hate crime training for judicial officials and the adoption of the "Action Plan for the Improvement of Work and Co-operation of the Police with Representatives and Associations of Persons of Different Sexual Orientation." He expressed concern over the large number of hate crimes targeting Roma and Sinti, and noted the persistent violence against LGBT people.

Slovakia

In its fifth report on Slovakia, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) noted the amendments to aggravating circumstances provisions in the criminal code and reiterated the need for detailed statistical data on racist and homophobic/transphobic hate crime.

Sweden

The Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority provided funding for the hate crime victim support services run by the Swedish Federation for LGBT Rights (RFSL).

Switzerland

In its fifth report on Switzerland, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommended that the Swiss authorities improve their system for recording and monitoring violent incidents in order to obtain more reliable statistics on the racist, homophobic or transphobic motivations of offences.

OSCE Region

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ (FRA) report "Being Trans in the EU - Comparative analysis of the EU LGBT survey data” showed that respondents experience the highest levels of violence, hate motivated attacks and harassment amongst LGBT groups. The report indicated the need to collect statistics on numbers and types of crime and gender identity of victims, to address the underreporting of hate crime and to improve policies and legal measures combating hate crime across the EU.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a survey highlighting how LGBT people experience bias-motivated discrimination, violence and harassment in different areas of life. The survey revealed that respondents are subject to high levels of repeated victimization and violence, which is particularly high for transgender respondents, and that most LGBT respondents did not report hate incidents to the police or other authorities.

In resolution 27/32 on "Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity," the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) expressed grave concern at acts of violence committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

In his annual report, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe noted that hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people cannot be tolerated and recommended that bias motive be taken into account as an aggravating circumstance in these crimes.

The European Parliament adopted the "Resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union", in which it called on EU Member States to propose and adopt legislation and policies to combat homophobia, transphobia and hate crimes.