Hate crimes against LGBTI people in Spain and Europe reached an all-time high in 2022

by Lorraine Williamson
hate crimes

2022 was the most violent year for the LGBTI collective in the past decade. This was not only the case in Spain, but also throughout Europe. Aggression and hate crimes reached an all-time high due to hate speech from politicians, right-wing organisations and the media. 

The latest research report from the NGO International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association Europe, or ILGA Europe for short, shows that 2022 was the most violent year for LGBTI people in the past decade. 

Hate speech by public authorities causes crimes against LGBTI persons 

According to the organisation, hate speech by politicians, religious leaders, right-wing organisations and the media is the basis for this: “After all, they are the ones who already have a platform and set the (in this case often bad) example. This example then translates into actual physical violence, making LGBTI people feel unsafe all over Europe,” said the director of ILGA Europe. 

This NGO, which represents more than 700 organisations from 54 countries, reports that in 2022 the number of murders of LGBTI people and the number of suicides will increase. As an example, two terrorist attacks on LGBTI bars in Norway and Slovakia are mentioned, which left several dead and dozens injured. 

Spain leading in response to violence against LGBTI target group 

Although hate speech and its consequences have reached an unprecedented level, prosecutions and sentences in courts in this area are increasing. Finland and Spain are praised for their enormous efforts to protect all target groups against any form of violence and to promote inclusiveness. 

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The European NGO also called the passing of the first trans law in Spain a great moment for Europe. This trans law was approved earlier this month, allowing people from the age of 16 to independently change their gender in the population register. This no longer requires investigations or signatures from others. 

Despite exemplary function, there are still many crimes in Spain 

Despite this progressive attitude of much of the Spanish government, the NGO warns that the number of hate crimes in Spain is still a “serious problem”. As many as 466 hate crimes were recorded in 2021, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, a 68% increase compared to the previous year. At that time, one in four hate crimes was aimed at people from the LGBTI target group. 

In addition, ILGA Europe denounces the fact that conversion camps and therapies are still offered in Spain, mainly from a religious angle. For example, the diocese of Alcalá de Henares still provides courses to “cure homosexuality”. However, the new trans law in Spain prohibits this type of therapy. 

Because this is happening not only in Spain, but all over Europe, the NGO is urging to urgently promote a “state pact” against hate speech. “We have laws, but hatred will always be there. As long as this is fed by public authorities, LGBTI people will continue to be victims of aggression and crime.” 

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