Homophobia is ‘anchored’ in France as anti-LGBT+ hate crimes soar by more than a third

An LGBT+ Pride parade in Paris, France. (Julien Mattia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Attacks and insults against the LGBT+ community in France surged by more than 36 per cent in 2019, according to figures released Saturday by the interior ministry.

The figures released on the eve of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) showed a steady drumbeat of rising hate crimes against queer folk in the European country, Agence France-Presse reported.

GBT+ men were more likely to be victims, the data showed, with the majority of crimes stemming from larger cities (36 per cent).

In 2019, Twitter timelines were seized by startling video footage of a trans woman brutally assaulted during a demonstration in central Paris.

The incident sparked fury from LGBT+ activists as well as amplifying the increasing visibility of the violence facing one of the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in French society.

Moreover, the data marked 30 years since the withdrawal of homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses by the World Health Organization.

Homophobia is ‘anchored’ in France, ministry says. 

French law enforcement identified 1,870 victims of homophobic or transphobic offences, compared to 1,380 in 2018, the ministry said in a statement.

The data hints towards a two-fold change. A potential rise in the number of hate crimes carried out against the LGBT+ community, and/or an increase in the number of victims filing complaints.

This 36 per cent upswing in physical and verbal violence eclipsed what activists described in 2018 as a “black” year. The year was pockmarked by a severe surge in anti-LGBT+ violence.

“These figures testify to the deep anchoring of homophobia and transphobia in society,” the ministry said.

Department officials said that they form part of a broader increase in “hate acts and identity extremism” in France.
Verbal attacks account for 33 per cent of offences, the data showed. Around 28 per cent of complaints concerned physical and sexual violence.

Victims were predominantly men – 75 per cent –with around six in 10 offences perpetrated against those under 35 years of age.

But the number might be higher, activists and police warn, as many hate crimes still go unreported as victims never file a complaint to authorities.