Violence against LGBT people

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The claim that Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people face above-average levels of violence motivated by disapproval of their sexual behaviour or gender identity is a contentious one, frequently used by the LGBT movement to gain victimhood status, which is a valuable political tool. This victim status enables them to gain large payments from governments, the EU, the UN and charities, as well as enjoy charity tax exemption in many Western countries. This provides incentive for them to exaggerate, distort or even invent evidence. A loop is discernible, whereby LGBT organizations receive funding, use it to present findings about their supposed victimhood, and use this to argue their entitlement to more funding.

It is essential to make a distinction between penalties imposed by the state and acts of violence by individuals, alleged by homosexuals themselves. The latter allegations are notoriously unreliable.

Compare these two photographs. The first is a genuine picture taken in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1941, and preserved in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Buchenwald camp, 1938-1941, B&W from US Holocaust Memorial Museum.jpg

The second is a version of the same photograph photo-shopped with pink triangles, featured in Pink News and other highly unreliable LGBT websites, to convince readers that it was homosexuals, rather than Jews, who were persecuted by the Nazis.

Buchenwald picture Photo-shopped by gay website.jpg


Currently, homosexual acts are legal in almost all Western countries, and in many of these countries violence against LGBT people is classified as a hate crime,[2]

In Europe, the European Union's Employment Equality Framework Directive and Charter of Fundamental Rights offer some protection against sexuality-based discrimination.

Historically, state-sanctioned persecution of homosexuals was mostly limited to male homosexuality, termed "sodomy". During the medieval and early modern period, the penalty for sodomy was usually death. During the modern period (from the 19th century to the mid-20th century) in the Western world, the penalty was usually a fine or imprisonment.

As of 2009, there remain under 80 countries worldwide where homosexual acts remain illegal (notably throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and in most of Africa, but also in some of the Caribbean and Oceania) including five that carry the death penalty.[3]

State-sanctioned violence


The knight von Hohenberg and his squire, being burned at the stake for sodomy, Zurich 1482 (Zurich Central Library)

The Middle East

An early law against sexual intercourse between men is recorded in Leviticus by the Hebrew people, prescribing the death penalty. A law regarding homosexuality is prescribed in the Middle Assyrian Law Codes (1075 BCE), stating: "If a man lay with his neighbor, when they have prosecuted him (and) convicted him, they shall lie with him (and) turn him into a eunuch". [4]

In the account given in Tacitus Germania, the death penalty was reserved for two kinds of capital offenses: military treason or desertion was punished by hanging, and moral infamy (cowardice and homosexuality: ignavos et imbelles at corpore infames); Gordon translates corpore infames as "unnatural prostitutes"; Tacitus refers to male homosexuality, see David F. Greenberg, The construction of homosexuality, p. 242 f. Scholarship compares the later Germanic concept of Old Norse argr, Langobardic arga, which combines the meanings "effeminate, cowardly, homosexual", see Jaan Puhvel, 'Who were the Hittite hurkilas pesnes?' in: A. Etter (eds.), O-o-pe-ro-si (FS Risch), Walter de Gruyter, 1986, p. 154.


In Republican Rome, the poorly attested Lex Scantinia penalized an adult male for committing a sex crime (stuprum) against an underage male citizen (ingenuus). It is unclear whether the penalty was death or a fine. The law may also have been used to prosecute adult male citizens who willingly took a pathic role in same-sex acts, but prosecutions are rarely recorded and the provisions of the law are vague; as John Boswell has noted, "if there was a law against homosexual relations, no one in Cicero's day knew anything about it."[5] When the Roman Empire came under Christian rule, all male homosexual activity was increasingly repressed, often on pain of death.[6] In 342 CE, the Christian emperors Constantius and Constans declared same-sex marriage to be illegal.[7] Shortly after, in the year 390 CE, emperors Valentinian II, Theodosius I and Arcadius declared homosexual sex to be illegal and those who were guilty of it were condemned to be publicly burned alive.[6] Emperor Justinian I (527–565 CE) made homosexuals a scapegoat for problems such as "famines, earthquakes, and pestilences."[8]

Laws and codes prohibiting homosexual practice were in force in Europe from the fourth[6] to the twentieth centuries, and Muslim countries have had similar laws from the beginnings of Islam in the seventh century up to and including the present day. Abbasid Baghdad, under the Caliph Al-Hadi (785–786 CE), punished homosexuality with death.

During the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of France and the City of Florence also instated the death penalty. In Florence, a young boy named Giovanni di Giovanni (1350–1365?) was castrated and burned between the thighs with a red-hot iron by court order under this law.[9][10] These punishments continued into the Renaissance, and spread to the Swiss canton of Zürich. Knight Richard von Hohenberg (died 1482) was burned at the stake together with his lover, his young squire, during this time. In France, French writer Jacques Chausson (1618–1661) was also burned alive for attempting to seduce the son of a nobleman.

In England, the Buggery Act of 1534 made sodomy and bestiality punishable by death. This act was replaced in 1828, but sodomy remained punishable by death under the new act until 1861. The last executions were in 1835.


Worldwide laws regarding same-sex intercourse/freedom of expression and association
Same-sex intercourse legal Same-sex intercourse illegal
Illegal for male same-sex intercourse, female same-sex intercourse legal, although no arrests for same-sex intercourse for the last three years
Marriage recognized but not performed1
Illegal for male and female same-sex intercourse, although no arrests for same-sex intercourse for the last three years/moratorium
Civil unions1
Imprisonment for male same-sex intercourse, female same-sex intercourse legal
Unregistered cohabitation1
Imprisonment for male and female same-sex intercourse
Same-sex unions not recognized
Up to life in prison for male same-sex intercourse, female same-sex intercourse legal
Laws restricting freedom of expression and association
Up to life in prison for male and female same-sex intercourse
Up to death for male same-sex intercourse, female same-sex intercourse legal
Up to death for male and female same-sex intercourse
Rings indicate areas where local judges have granted/denied marriages or imposed the death penalty in a jurisdiction where that is not otherwise the law and/or areas with a case-by-case application.
1Some jurisdictions in this category may currently have other types of partnerships.

As of May 2011, 75 countries criminalize consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex.[11] They are punishable by death in eight countries:

Countries where homosexual acts are criminalized but not punished by death, by region, include:[15]


Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria (death penalty in some states), Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia (death penalty in some states), South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Gaza Strip under Palestinian Authority


Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago


Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands[16]

Afghanistan, where such acts remain punishable with fines and a prison sentence, dropped the death penalty after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, who had mandated it from 1996. India criminalized homosexuality until June 2, 2009, when the High Court of Delhi declared section 377 of the Indian Penal Code invalid.[16] India has reinstated its ban on homosexuality on December 11, 2013, making it a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment up to a life time.

Jamaica has some of the toughest sodomy laws in the world, with homosexual activity carrying a 10-year jail sentence.[17][17][18][19]

International human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemn laws that make homosexual relations between consenting adults a crime.[20][21] Since 1994, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has also ruled that such laws violated the right to privacy guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[22][23][24]

Criminal assault

Main articles: gay bashing and trans bashing

Even in countries where homosexuality is legal (most countries outside of Africa and the Middle East), there are reports of homosexual people being targeted with bullying or physical assault or even homicide.

Further information: Homophobic violence in Brazil

According to the Grupo Gay da Bahia, Brazil's oldest gay rights NGO, the rate of murders of homosexuals in Brazil is particularly high, with a reported 3,196 cases over the 30-year period of 1980 to 2009 (or about 0.7 cases per 100,000 population per annum).[25] Brazilian gay group Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) reported 190 documented alleged homophobic murders in Brazil in 2008, accounting for about 0.5% of intentional homicides in Brazil (homicide rate 22 per 100,000 population as of 2008). 64% of the victims were gay men, 32% were trans women, and 4% were lesbians.[26] By comparison, the FBI reported five homophobic murders in the United States during 2008, corresponding to 0.03% of intentional homicides (homicide rate 5.4 per 100,000 population as of 2008). Homophobic murders in Brazil are sometimes referred to as homocausto or "homocaust", a portmanteau of homosexual and holocaust.

The numbers produced by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB) have occasionally been contested on the grounds that they include all murders of LGBT people reported in the media — that is, not only those motivated by bias against homosexuals. Reinaldo de Azevedo, columnist of the right-wing Veja magazine, Brazil's most read weekly publication, called the GGB's methodology "unscientific" based on the above objection: that they make no distinction between murders motivated by bias and those that were not.[27] On the high level of murders of transsexuals, he suggested transsexuals' allegedly high involvement with the drug trade may expose them to higher levels of violence as compared to non-transgender homosexuals and heterosexuals. A Brazilian gay blog has investigated a sample of 30 murders of gay people reported on the media in 2009 — including some of those used by the GGB in its national statistic report. It determined that the "large majority" of them were committed by the homosexual partners of the victims or those who were otherwise in a relationship with them (e.g., male prostitutes), with some others being killed due to unpaid debts with gangs involved in drug trafficking.[28]

In many parts of the world, including much of the European Union and United States, acts of violence are legally classified as hate crimes, which entail harsher sentences if convicted. In some countries, this form of legislation extends to verbal abuse as well as physical violence.

Legislation against homophobic hate crimes

In the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, twelve have legislation specifically designed for bias based on sexual orientation (as opposed to generic anti-discrimination legislation) to be counted as aggravating circumstance in the commission of a crime.[citation needed]

The United States does not have federal legislation marking sexual orientation as criteria for hate crimes, but several states, including the District of Columbia, enforce harsher penalties for crimes where real or perceived sexual orientation may have been a motivator. Among these 12 countries as well, only the United States has criminal law that specifically mentions gender identity, and even then only in 11 states and the District of Colombia.[29] In November 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted 79-70 to remove "sexual orientation" from the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, a list of unjustified reasons for executions, replacing it with "discriminatory reasons on any basis".[30] The resolution specifically mentions a large number of groups, including race, religion, linguistic differences, refugees, street children and indigenous peoples.[31]

Legal and police response to these types of hate crimes is hard to gauge, however. Lack of reporting by authorities on the statistics of these crimes and under-reporting by the victims themselves are factors for this difficulty.[29] Often a victim will not report a crime as it will shed unwelcome light on their orientation and invite more victimization.[32]

Alleged judicative bias

"It's pretty disturbing that somebody that [kills] a person in cold blood gets out very quickly…."

Canadian MLA Spencer Herbert[32]
Further information: Gay Panic Defense and Provocation (legal)

Legal defenses like the Gay Panic Defense allow for more lenient punishments for people accused of beating, torturing, or killing homosexuals because of their orientation. These arguments posit that the attacker was so enraged by their victim's advances as to cause temporary insanity, leaving them unable to stop themselves or tell right from wrong. In these cases, if the loss of faculties is proven, or sympathized to the jury, an initially severe sentence may be significantly reduced. In several common law countries, the mitigatory defense of provocation has been used in violent attacks against LGBT persons, which has led several Australian states and territories to modify their legislation, in order to prevent or reduce the using of this legal defense in cases of violent responses to non-violent homosexual advances.

There have been several highly publicized cases where people convicted of violence against LGBT people have received shorter sentences. One such case is that of Kenneth Brewer. On 30 September 1997, he met Stephen Bright at a local gay bar. He bought the younger man drinks and they later went back to Brewer's apartment. While there, Brewer made a sexual advance toward Bright, and Bright beat him to death. Bright was initially charged with second-degree murder, but he was eventually convicted of third-degree assault and was sentenced to one year in prison.[33][34] Cases like Bright's are not isolated. In 2001, Aaron Webster was beaten to death by a group of youths armed with baseball bats and a pool cue while hanging around an area of Stanley Park frequented by gay men. Ryan Cran was convicted of manslaughter in the case in 2004 and released on parole in 2009 after serving only 4 years of his six-year sentence.[32] Two youths were tried under Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act and sentenced to three years after pleading guilty. A fourth assailant was acquitted.[32]

Judges are not immune to letting their own prejudices affect their judgment either. In 1988, Texas Judge Jack Hampton gave a man 30 years for killing two gay men, instead of the life sentence requested by the prosecutor. After handing down his judgment, he said: "I don't much care for queers cruising the streets picking up teenage boys ...[I] put prostitutes and gays at about the same level ... and I'd be hard put to give somebody life for killing a prostitute."[33]

In 1987, a Florida judge trying a case concerning the beating to death of a gay man asked the prosecutor, "That's a crime now, to beat up a homosexual?" The prosecutor responded, "Yes, sir. And it's also a crime to kill them." "Times have really changed," the judge replied. The judge, Daniel Futch, maintained that he was joking, but was removed from the case.[35][33]


The Qur'an, the book of Islam, cites the story of the "people of Lot" (also known as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah), destroyed by the wrath of Allah because they engaged in lustful carnal acts between men.

Scholars of Islam, such as Shaykh al-Islām Imam Malik, and Imam Shafi amongst others, ruled that Islam disallowed homosexuality and ordained capital punishment for a person guilty of it.[36]

The legal punishment for sodomy has varied among juristic schools: some prescribe capital punishment; while other prescribe a milder discretionary punishment. Homosexual activity is a crime and forbidden in most Muslim-majority countries. In some relatively secular Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia,[37] Jordan and Turkey, this is not the case.

The Qur'an, much like the Bible and Torah, has a vague condemnation of homosexuality and how it should be dealt with, leaving it open to interpretation. For this reason, Islamic jurists have turned to the collections of the hadith (sayings of Muhammad) and akhbar (accounts of his life). These, on the other hand, are perfectly clear and particularly harsh.[38] Ibn al-Jawzi records Muhammad as cursing sodomites in several hadith, and recommending the death penalty for both the active and passive partners in same-sex acts.[39]

Sunan al-Tirmidhi again reports Muhammad as having prescribed the death penalty for both the active and the passive partner: "Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lot, kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done."[36] The overall moral or theological principle is that a person who performs such actions challenges the harmony of God's creation, and is therefore a revolt against God.[40]

Some imams still preach their views, stating that homosexuals and "women who act like men" should be executed under the Islamic law. Abu Usamah at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham defended his words to followers by saying "If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that's my freedom of speech, isn't it?"[41] Other leaders decry this sort of preaching.

Other contemporary Islamic views are that the ″crime of homosexuality is one of the greatest of crimes, the worst of sins and the most abhorrent of deeds″.[42]


In Judaism, the death penalty has not been used in practice for more than 2000 years, though many movements still view homosexual acts as sinful. Orthodox Judaism generally prohibits homosexual conduct. While there is disagreement about which acts come under core prohibitions, all of Orthodox Judaism puts certain core homosexual acts, including male-male anal sex in the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor—"die rather than transgress"—the small category of Biblically-prohibited acts (also including murder, idolatry, adultery, and incest) which an Orthodox Jew is obligated under the laws of Self-sacrifice under Jewish Law to die rather than do.

See also

Prejudicial attitudes
See also


  2. Stotzer, R.: Comparison of love Crime Rates Across Protected and Unprotected Groups, Williams Institute, 2007–06. Retrieved on 2007-08-09.
  3. "New Benefits for Same-Sex Couples May Be Hard to Implement Abroad". ABC News. June 22, 2009. 2009 Report on State Sponsored Homophobia (2009), published by The International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association.
  4. Pritchard, p. 181.
  5. John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 63, 67–68, quotation on p. 69. See also Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 116; Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (Yale University Press, 1992), p. 106ff.; Thomas A.J. McGinn, Prostitution, Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome (Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 140–141; Amy Richlin, The Garden of Priapus: Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor (Oxford University Press, 1983, 1992), pp. 86, 224; Jonathan Walters, "Invading the Roman Body," in Roman Sexualites (Princeton University Press, 1997), pp. 33–35, noting particularly the overly broad definition of the Lex Scantinia by Adolf Berger, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law (American Philosophical Society, 1953, reprinted 1991), pp. 559 and 719. Freeborn Roman men could engage in sex with males of lower status, such as prostitutes and slaves, without moral censure or losing their perceived masculinity, as long as they took the active, penetrating role; see Sexuality in ancient Rome.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 (Theodosian Code 9.7.6): All persons who have the shameful custom of condemning a man's body, acting the part of a woman's to the sufferance of alien sex (for they appear not to be different from women), shall expiate a crime of this kind in avenging flames in the sight of the people.
  7. Theodosian Code 9.8.3: "When a man marries and is about to offer himself to men in womanly fashion (quum vir nubit in feminam viris porrecturam), what does he wish, when sex has lost all its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed to another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment.
  8. Justinian Novels 77, 144; Michael Brinkschröde, "Christian Homophobia: Four Central Discourses," in Combatting Homophobia: Experiences and Analyses Pertinent to Education (LIT Verlag, 2011), p. 166.
  9. Rocke, Michael (1996). Forbidden Friendships, Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence. Oxford University Press. pp. 24, 227, 356, 360. ISBN 0-19-512292-5. 
  10. Meyer, Michael J (2000). Literature and Homosexuality. Rodopi. p. 206. ISBN 90-420-0519-X. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "ILGA publishes 2010 report on anti-homosexual laws throughout the world". International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. 2010. 
  12. Kennedy, Dominic (November 13, 2007). "Gays Deserve Torture, Death Penalty, Iranian Minister Says". The Times. 
  13. "Homosexuality and Religion". 
  14. "Is Beheading Really the Punishment for Homosexuality in Saudi Arabia?". 
  15. 2011 Report on State-sponsored Homophobia
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ottosson, Daniel (May 2010). "State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults" (PDF). International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Jamaica: Homophobia and hate crime is rife". Belfast Telegraph. September 12, 2009. 
  18. Funkeson, Kristina (August 9, 2007). "Dancehall star signs Reggae Compassionate Act". Freemuse. 
  19. Padgett, Tim (April 12, 2006). "The Most Homophobic Place on Earth?". Time Magazine. 
  20. Love, Hate and the Law: Decriminalizing Homosexuality; Amnesty International (2008)
  21. "Burundi: Repeal Law Criminalizing Homosexual Conduct - Human Rights Watch". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  22. "United Nations: General assembly to address sexual orientation and gender identity – Statement affirms promise of Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (Press release). Amnesty International. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  23. "UN: General Assembly statement affirms rights for all" (PDF) (Press release). Amnesty International. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  24. Pleming, Sue (18 March 2009). "In turnaround, U.S. signs U.N. gay rights document". Reuters. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  25. "Número de assassinatos de gays no país cresceu 62% desde 2007, mas tema fica fora da campanha - Jornal O Globo". Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  26. Gay-Bashing Murders Up 55 Percent (, 22 April 2009)
  28. "Homophobic" crimes. (in Portuguese). GAYS DE DIREITA. 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named HRF
  30. Geen, Jessica (November 18, 2010). "UN deletes gay reference from anti-execution measures". Pink News. 
  31. "U.N. panel cuts gay reference from violence measure". U.S. Daily. November 17, 2010. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 "Gay community troubled by release of killer in Stanley Park death". CBC News. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2010. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Stryker, Jeff (23 October 1998). "Asking for it". Salon Magazine. 
  34. Lee, Cynthia (2003). Murder and the Reasonable Man: Passion and Fear in the Criminal Courtroom. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-5115-2. 
  35. Altschiller, Donald (2005). "Hate Crimes: a reference handbook". ABC-CLIO: 26–28. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 "Homosexuality and Lesbianism: Sexual Perversions". IslamOnline. 
  37. Rough Guide to South East Asia: Third Edition. Rough Guides Ltd. August 2005. p. 74. ISBN 1-84353-437-1. 
  38. Bosworth, Ed. C. and E. van Donzel (1983). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Leiden. 
  39. Wafer, Jim (1997). Muhammad and Male Homosexuality. New York University Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-8147-7468-7. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  40. Dynes, Wayne (1990). Encyclopaedia of Homosexuality. New York. 
  41. Grew, Tony (September 1, 2008). "Violence against gays preached in British mosques claims new documentary". Pink News. 
  42. The punishment for homosexuality
    Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 38622

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