• The Observatori Contra l’Homofòbia denounces that homophobic discourse “has been normalized” through the extreme right in Spain

  • In just one year, all types of discrimination grow, especially those that affect trans people

“Don’t make jokes again, you fucking fagot, you’re disgusting.” This is one of the hundreds of messages that she received andThe illustrator Carles Ponsi, days before the Diada de Sant Jordi. Attacks on your person they came to death threatsto the point that the comedian was seen forced to cancel his book signing on April 23: “I was afraid for my physical integrity”, explains the author. “Years ago this was unthinkable, but now the extreme right has normalized it,” says Ponsi. It is the same thesis that he maintains the Observatory Against Homophobiato explain why this year physical aggressions have grown by 70% against the LGTBI collective and discriminatory acts have skyrocketed by 50% compared to 2022. This is supported by the study of the first quarter of the year that the entity publishes on the occasion of May 17, the international day against lgtbphobia.

It all started after Easter. Carles Ponsi, cartoonist of ‘El Jueves’, made several jokes in the magazine about the Christian religion. “Something habitual”, says Ponsi referring to those jokes, and to some complaints that came later. But the following weeks the insults were more. They came to him through his personal Instagram profile. Messages that included homophobic insults, but also direct threats against him, and people who pretended to be his fan to meet him and attack him. In the end, he shared an image of himself that called for attacking him. “To hosts or with firearms”. It was then that the cartoonist got scared and resorted to the assessment of the Mossos d’Esquadra. “They told me to take it seriously,” he says. and he decided cancel the signature planned during the Diada de Sant Jordi of his two books: ‘Sexo mal’ and ‘Beloved leader’. “I suffered for the integrity against my person, they could appear there and hit me or hurt me,” he says.

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Lose the fear of reporting

Ponsi decided to suspend that act due to the possibility of being beaten. But 17 people in Catalonia have been victims of physical aggression because of their sexual orientation or gender identity from January to April 2022. They are 70% more if we compare it with the records of the same months of 2021. These are the people who have communicated it to the Observatory Against Homophobia, and therefore appear in the records. For the first time these data agree with those of the Mossos d’Esquadra, depending on the entity. “People who suffer physical aggression they are going to report them to the police, it was something that did not happen before because there was a very great feeling of impunity”, continues the president of the observatory, Eugeni Rodríguez.

The increase is brutal, and partly it has to do with deconfinement and the end of the pandemic restrictions. “Aggressions occur on the street or on public transport, especially in places where there is nightlife, but we must continue to insist: they are beating us and the administrations must take action on the matter with preventive public measures,” asks Rodríguez. In total, the discriminatory acts registered by the entity occur on the internet and social media (21%), the work environment (15%) and public transport (8%). By type of discriminatory acts, the following stand out: hate speech and threats through networks. They are 22% of the total and have grown by 26% compared to last year. Verbal aggression (16%), harassment (13%) or inappropriate treatment (16%) also stand out, a category that is usually used in public care services, such as administration or shops.

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Crusade against the ‘trans’

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The group among which the hate received grows the most is that of trans people. It increased by 48% compared to the previous year, with a total of 28 discriminatory acts, one in three. In part, these data show that trans people they have lost their fear of denouncing the attacks they suffer. But on the other hand, the president of the Observatory is very clear about the causes of these data. “trans people they are being one of the targets that the extreme right is takingespecially with the need to approve the Trans Law, and this means that many people have normalized the attacks against these people,” Rodríguez emphasizes. Homosexual men continue to register almost half of discriminatory acts.

The NGO publishes this weekend these data prior to the commemorative events of the international day against lgtbfobia. “We need administrations to take this seriously and act, Tweets or messages of support do not help us, we need preventive policies“, implores Rodríguez over and over again. Then there is getting ahead of the victims. “I had a certain fear, that at any moment they could come for me, I needed to be accompanied to many acts… but also it makes you awaken the most activist part of you. We have many pending struggles and I will focus even more on continuing to do my job, also focused on the LGBT community,” Ponsi responds proudly.

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