Violence Against LGBTs

Secretary of State Clinton with Audience Following LGBT Rights Speech


Violence against the LGBT

A  recent UN report, the first on LGBT violence, notes that violence against the LGBT occurs not only in countries with laws against LGBT citizens, but everywhere. “Homophobic and transphobic violence has been recorded in all regions. Such violence may be physical (including murder, beatings, kidnappings, rape and sexual assault) or psychological (including threats, coercion and arbitrary deprivations of liberty),” said the report by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. The report added that violence against the LGBT tends to have “a high degree of cruelty,” including mutilation and castration.

The report went on to note that gay men have been murdered in Sweden and the Netherlands and a transgender woman was recently killed in Portugal. Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan and South Africa have experienced gang rapes, family violence and murder.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement, “This simple one-page document calls for a report by the UN High Commissioner and a panel to discuss the findings and suggest appropriate follow-up action. Although on the surface these are modest recommendations, it was a watershed moment. It was the first UN resolution to bring specific focus to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The real significance of the resolution, however, is not detail but symbol. The fact that South Africa introduced the resolution, supported by Brazil and co-sponsored by 39 nations from across the globe shatters the false dichotomy between the ‘liberal West’ and the ‘conservative rest.’”

First Person:
A South African lesbian’s account of being beaten when she was outted:  “Around 7:00 p.m. that night, [my girlfriend’s] mother, brother, other people from her community came to my house with sticks and stones. My girlfriend was covered in blood. They came inside. Her mother told the boys to hold me, and they beat me a lot. They broke my left arm. Other community members came when they heard the sound, and I escaped.… I had a cast for a month”  From Human Rights Watch

Violence Against LGBT and Laws

Even in places that have laws protecting LGBTs, violence against gays, lesbians and transgendered people can be pervasive. For example, in Brazil, a country in which LGBT people have most of the same protections as anyone else, the murder rate of homosexuals is very high, with over 1,000 murders a year. The organization Grupo Gay da Bahia, Brazil’s oldest gay rights NGO found 3,196 cases of murdered homosexuals over the 30-year period of 1980 to 2009.

The video below shows a transgender woman who was murdered in Brazil.