- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Homophobic attacks becoming more violent, says anti-discrimination group
Unia, the independent public body that fights against discrimination, said on Wednesday that reports of attacks related to sexual orientation are in the minority but that the incidents are becoming more violent.
The statement follows a homophobic attack which took place on Saturday afternoon on the Place Flagey in Ixelles, Brussels. A 25-year-old man was spat on and punched in the face several times after he had just kissed his boyfriend and was getting off the bus. The assailant was a man in his forties.
Unia noted that more than one in three incidents of discrimination reported are related to sexual orientation. Of these, more than one in four involves assault.
The number of reports related to sexual orientation (109 cases in 2020) is stable compared to the average over the last five years (+1.3%). The decrease of 24 cases compared to 2019 may be a consequence of the lockdowns and the move towards teleworking imposed to curb the pandemic.
However, they represent only 4.3% of all reports received. Incidents of discrimination based on sexual orientation are in the minority, far behind racial criteria and disability. This under-representation is particularly marked in the areas of employment and housing.
Nevertheless, the highest proportion of acts of hatred - more than 35% - are related to sexual orientation. These acts include murder, intimidation and harassment, assault, graffiti and degradation or abuse of authority. Of the 41 acts of hatred recorded in 2020 by Unia in connection with sexual orientation, 11 involve assault, or 26.8%. In proportion, they are ahead of racial criteria - 14.7% of acts of racial hatred report assault and battery, or 21 out of 143 incidents.