In almost all countries around the world, there are local LGBT organizations that form the global LGBT movement. It can be called a movement because local organizations usually use common LGBT symbols such as flags, slogans, logos, and other objects or elements in their symbols. Most frequently, local organizations work in certain areas including protection of the rights of homosexual men, gay women, bisexual, and other representatives of the movement. Despite the fact that a great number of countries have already accepted the existence of the movement and its members, there are still numerous cases of violence against LGTB movement committed by people who do not accept its existence and it is considered a great social problem as many citizens react as nothing happens.
Despite the fact that sexual diversity was publicly circulated and accepted by the public in such ancient cultures as ancient Greece or ancient Rome, during the Dark Ages, sexuality was taboo and homosexual relations risked the death sentence. The XVIII-XIX centuries are considered the beginning of the modern LGBT movement. At this time, like-minded groups that dealt with LGBT started forming. Although society did not accept their members, LGBT meetings were not organized in public. Thus, all meetings of these groups took place secretly. Since the time of the archaic apparatus, there was an experience of public punishment that included public flogging, imprisonment, or the death penalty.
Approximately in 1749, a reformer Jeremy Bentham published the first arguments of homosexuality to change the law of England. In 1790, after the revolutionary events in France, the process of drafting a new constitution began. During the French Revolution, there were the calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality and same-sex relationships. A year later, it was achieved. France became the first country in the world where the punishment for such relationships was reversed.
A new period in the history of the movement began in the second half of the XIX century. A German writer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs publicly acknowledged his homosexuality and published countless papers on same-sex relationships. In one of his works, the writer characterized homosexuals and thus, this term was not invented at the time, as in a male body with women’s thinking. In the United Kingdom, there was an underground organization Order of Charonea, which led the campaign for the legalization of homosexuality. A famous writer Oscar Wilde was a member of this organization. At this time, various feminist movements and the radical liberal groups intensified in Europe and North America. All of them demanded freedom of love for all people.
An important event in the history of the LGBT movement was the Stonewall uprising. It was the clash between the representatives of sexual minorities and police forces which occurred in 1969. The collision happened after the police had another raid in one of the gay bars The Stonewall Inn in New York. The work of the bar without a license was used as an excuse of the raid. There was a tough clash between the police and bar visitors. Later, large demonstrations across the country began. In the 60s, the LGBT movement was confirmed in many countries around the world and in the United States in particular. In the 70s, the number of LGBT organizations rapidly increased. There were mass demonstrations.
Once, homosexuality was even considered a disease. Homosexuals were perceived as diseased people. In the book Violence and Politics, it is noted that “leaders of many countries have called LGBT people everything from agents to animals”. In 1970, the Psychiatric Association of the United States declared homosexuality a mental illness. However, already in 1973, it deleted it from the list of diseases. This day in the history of LGBT movement is marked as the International Day against Homophobia. In 1972, Sweden became the first country, where the opportunity to change sex of the person was approved in the legislation. In 1975, California became the first state in the United States where homosexuality was legalized. These days, almost every country accepted the existence of LGBT movement. In the book Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, the author Marc Stein claims that “for many LGBT activists and especially for those who remember the pre-1990 era, the positive changes in recent popular culture have been astonishing, but there are also ongoing problems”. In such a way, despite the fact that many states have accepted the existence of LGBT movement, cases of violence against its members have not stopped.
About 30 years ago, the majority of the American population was against gay marriages and only a small percent approved them. In such a hostile atmosphere, representatives of the LGBT community faced discrimination, hostility, and even violence in the United States, as well as in other countries worldwide. The Stonewall uprising mentioned above marked the beginning of a national dialogue, which eventually grew into a movement for the rights of members of the LGBT community. At first, not all Americans fully supported the measures that the country had to take. There were numerous disagreements and sometimes even hostilities and violence. However, history has shown that despite the inevitable conflict that arises in the solution of controversial social issues, to discuss the problems is of great importance. In the United States, as a result of numerous public debates on the problem of discrimination and violence to the members of LGBT movement, the wall of misunderstanding fell. Therefore, the opinion of Americans cardinally changed in favor of the LGBT community. Nowadays, a small number of the American population is opposed to gay marriage. Moreover, more than half of Americans even approve them.
These days, most Americans believe that equality should be unqualified. It should be for every person regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, social status, gender identity, or religion beliefs. This principle is a cornerstone of American democracy. According to it, freedom is the most significant component in every state.
However, not every country shares the same opinion. There are still numerous cases of violence against the members of LGBT movement. In the United States, such cases are also present but they are not so frequent. In particular, many cases of cruelty and violence against members of the community are annually registered in the countries of the European Union. Despite numerous laws, meetings, and discussions, the EU cannot restrain hate crimes to the representatives of the LGBT community and protect people from discrimination, harassment, and violence.
Violence of hatred causes victims a particularly strong and long-term damage. Meanwhile, in the legislation of the European Union, offenses caused by perceived sexual orientation or gender identity are not considered hate crimes. It is unacceptable because the international law of human rights does not permit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. There are many flaws in the legislation of many European countries, where gender identity and sexual orientation do not present explicitly as grounds, on which hate crimes are usually qualified. Active standards of the European Union in the area of hate crimes are not sufficient to overcome the homophobic and transphobic violence.
Discriminatory motives distinguish hate crimes from other offenses. During the investigation and organization of the judicial prosecution, it is extremely essential that the police and judicial authorities make maximum efforts to identify the motives of crimes related to the real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victims. Besides, the most part of victims of violence on the grounds homo- or transphobia, do not report about such cases to the police. It is associated with the fear of homophobia and transphobia in government institutions. In the book Violence against Queer People, it is noted that “many queer people of color, particularly Black gay men and Black transgender people, described violence from the police”. Gay people sometimes do not go to the police after the attacks on them because they hide their sexual orientation and are afraid that their friends and relatives will know about it.
In such countries as Latvia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, and Germany, legislation on hate crimes is rather limited because they do not include sexual orientation and gender identity. In other countries including Greece and Croatia, the law on hate crimes towards homosexuals and transsexuals is not applied properly. There are numerous cases that the police do not register the homophobic or transphobic motive of the crime or do not fulfill these versions properly.
There are many cases of violence against LGBT. As it was already mentioned, the first such a case was the Stonewall uprising. Since this case, a mass wave of protests has begun. Another sensational case happened in 1991 when ten people killed a young banker and injured two of his friends. The attackers knew that the victims were homosexuals. Thus, it was the only reason for the crime. Victims were attacked by different objects – knives, planks, and others. All the attackers have been convicted of murder. The longest sentence was 45 years. People were shocked by such cruel murder. There were ten attackers for only three people. Some people even claimed that the attackers deserved life imprisonment. In February 2012, in the city of Catania that is in Italy, several people beat a young woman transsexual Michelle because of her gender identity. During the beating, the attackers shouted offensive insults. Michelle filed an application about the assault to the police and the identity of one suspect was established. However, neither in the formulation of the charges nor in determining the sentence, the transphobic motive was not counted because of gaps in the Italian legislation. September 30, 2008, a medical student Michael Stoyanov was killed in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. He considered a gay. However, eight years have passed and the trial of the two suspects in his murder has not even begun yet. Despite the fact that during the investigation, the homophobic motive of the crime was completely proved to court, it would not be considered in the case. Delays in bringing the guilty to justice exacerbate grief of the mother. The authorities have left her without any support including psychological. Another example of the crime on the ground of hate was committed in Richmond in 2008 (Hate Crimes against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals). For men twice raped a gay woman. Both the victim and the attackers were young. While raping, they shouted hurtful words about woman’s orientation. All four attackers were sentences on a long term. However, as usual, hatred was not counted at sentencing. All these cases resulted in a great wave of protests in many countries worldwide. People who are the members of LGBT movement, their families, and simply the ones who support them often held meetings and demonstrations to be heard and understood. They want to announce that every person has a right of self-expression and freedom and no one can infringe upon their rights.
These examples are considered a great social problem. It is even more terrifying all such crimes are committed with special cruelty. Besides, such cruelty frequently is not taken into account at sentencing. In numerous countries, people still do not perceive that everyone is equal. They believe that only traditions established many years ago can be considered a norm and do not want to accept other opinions and views. Many countries cannot fulfill their obligations to combat discrimination, if not to take adequate measures with regard to all forms of hate crimes. Double standards transform a notion that certain forms of violence merit not so much protection and attention than others. It is unacceptable for most of the countries that pride themselves on defending equality and universal coverage.
Everyone has a right to live free from stigmatization, harassment, violence, and discrimination. International law in the field of protection of human rights sets the obligation to ensure the possibility to enjoy these rights for all people, without any exceptions. Despite the fact that there are constant efforts by many countries to protect the rights of LGBT members worldwide, millions of members of the movement, as well as their families, are faced with large-scale violations of human rights. It is a great cause for concern and a call to action.
Violation of the rights of LGBT people and failure to protect them from such offenses as violence and discriminatory practices and laws compose a serious violation of international law on the protection of human rights and have far-reaching effects for the whole society. It increases the likelihood and vulnerability of ill health of LGBT members including the risk of HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases. It also leads to economic and social isolation resulting in increased pressure on the communities and families. It has a negative consequence on the availability of decent work and the economic growth of the country. It also prevents the progress towards achieving the future goals of sustainable development. International law states that the main obligation for all countries is the protection against violence and discrimination of all people. However, many people act as nothing happens. Frequently, even if they support the LGBT movement, they allow other people to commit crimes and act violently in respect to those who are different. It is an extremely serious social problem. All people should change the way of thinking and only then, violence against the members of LGBT movement will be stopped. Consequently, similar violations require urgent action by public authorities, governments, judicial authorities, and parliaments to protect human rights. The private sector, community, the media, trade unions, political and religious leaders, civil society organizations, and health institutions also play an important role in this process. It should be remembered that social relationships, religious cultural, moral beliefs and traditions cannot be justification for violations of human rights against any community including LGBT.
To protect members of the LGBT community, countries must use a variety of methods. Firstly, it is conduction of investigations, prosecution, and provision of legal protection in the event of acts of violence, torture, and ill-treatment of LGBT- adults, adolescents, and children, as well as people who defend their rights. Secondly, it is necessary to increase efforts to prevent, monitor, and organization of the report of every case of violence against members of the LGBT movement. Furthermore, it is necessary to include the notions of transphobia and homophobia as aggravating factors in the laws against crimes committed on the grounds of hatred or call for aggression.
Numerous organizations worldwide have documented widespread cases of physical and psychological violence against LGBTI people in all areas. Such cases frequently include kidnapping, murder, sexual violence, abuse, assault, torture, and rape. In the book Natural Human Rights, it is affirmed that “violence against the LGBT community varies from official death penalties in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Nigeria, and Mauritania to active official persecution in Bulgaria, Brazil, Iraq, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Columbia”. Young people that are part of LGBT movement are particularly at risk of sexual, psychological, and physical violence on the part of the society and family. They may also face with violations in health care facilities such as the use of unethical and hazardous forms of therapy with the purpose to change the sexual orientation, conduction of coerced or forced sterilization, forced rectal or genital examination, as well as unnecessary surgery and treatment of intersex children without their consent.
Countries should ensure compliance with the standards of international human rights including through the review, cancellation, and moratorium on the usage of laws that criminalize transgender people on the basis of their choice of belonging to a particular gender and laws that criminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults. It is significant to state that many countries around the world have laws, according to which people fall under the criminal liability in the case of the conclusion of same-sex marriages. Laws criminalizing transvestism are used for the purpose of arrest and punishment of transgender people. These discriminatory laws contribute to the growth of discrimination, stigma, hate crimes, police violence, ill-treatment and torture, violence in the society and family. In turn, it adversely affects the health of the population by preventing access to health care and prevention HIV infection.
All countries should prohibit discrimination against LGBT adults, adolescents, and children in all spheres of society including criminal justice, employment, social welfare, education, housing, health, detention facilities, and political asylum. Governments should ensure the legal recognition of the gender identity of transgender people without the usage of illegal demands. Members of the LGBT movement should have the opportunity to express their views and participate in the implementation, development, and monitoring of programs, policies, and laws related to their rights such as development and humanitarian initiatives. Political leaders and public organizations should combat prejudice against LGBT through trainings, public education, and dialogues. LGBTI community is faced with large-scale discrimination and exclusion in all contexts including various forms of discrimination arising out of such factors as race, gender, age, disability, ethnicity, poverty, religion, health status, and migration.
These days, there are still many cases of violence against the members of LGBT movement. It is despite the fact that the legalization of homosexuality began in1975. In many countries, the reaction to these violations is inadequate and measures are insufficient. Moreover, cases of violence are frequently not investigated properly. It results in a large-scale impunity and absence of justice, proper protection, and assistance to victims of violence. Members of the LGBT movement and their families face discriminatory restrictions on their activities. It is a great social problem that leads to numerous negative consequences. The society will not be highly social until it changes the attitude to the LGBT movement.