Samuel was killed shouting ‘fagot’. His murder aroused a wave of indignation, but it also triggered an alert, that of fear. With violent attacks, which now have more attention in the media, and an increase in speeches that trivialize LGTBiphobic violence and point to the laws that enshrine diversity, the fear of the collective has grown. And the satiety. This week two demonstrations have been called in different cities against homophobic violence. Because, Despite the fact that Spain is at the forefront in terms of conquered rights and integration, the daily reality is still far from equality. Beyond beatings and punches, many other types of violence and discrimination run through the lives of LGTBI people, who now see, with fear, how intransigence is spreading again.
“What should make us think about everything we have experienced in the last two months is something that happens in society and that now applies to LGTBIphobia. A death has stirred us up. If Samuel had not died, would we be talking about all this? ? Probably not. But behind Samuel there are thousands of people who have received hostiles to the face, assaults, job layoffs. People who decide not to talk about the issue in their family because they can offend this or that, invisibilizations that annul you as a person “, says the state president of the Triángulo Foundation, José María Núñez Blanco.
Núñez Blanco assures that fear has always existed: “Fear of how they look at you, if you go hand in hand with your partner, if you go to a bar and think if the environment is open enough to be able to kiss your partner or not. That is not it’s a host to the face, but that hurts and that limits people’s lives. “
A New Year’s Eve happened to Sonia. He was with his girlfriend at a disco, dancing and kissing each other. “It was a normal New Year’s Eve party, full of people. At that moment we did not think about what we had around us. We were kissing, dancing very close. putting … “. We said” don’t be crazy “, he remembers on the other end of the phone. But the man continued:” The uncle began to tell us that he thought we were both very beautiful and that we wanted to go to the bathroom with him to have a threesome. When he was rejected three or four times, the worst came. He approached us and said ‘you are some disgusting degenerates that you don’t share’ “.
It is a story very similar to the one told by Semíramis González, an art curator. “As a lesbian, one thing that has always happened to me is hearing comments of a sexual nature: ‘You lack a guy’, ‘You need a cock’, ‘Do you want a cock?’ The discomfort and virulence of those who reproach them , especially after responding to her comments, has caused most situations to end with her and her companions leaving the place.
Remember especially one of these situations, during an informal work meeting. “The topic came up that I had a date with my girl later. A man from the art world said then ‘well if you need to do a threesome, we are all available’. It was a shockIn the end, with those comments you hide it because it almost makes you more ashamed than the person who makes them, “he says. Semiramis admits to being more afraid now than a few years ago.” I look more than before where I go hand in hand with my couple, “he says.
“There are young people of 25 and 30 who are beginning to feel fear. That they were not born with that fear because they were born in a Spain that approved of marriage. [igualitario], which celebrated pride and diversity, however, is beginning to feel fear, “explains Núñez Blanco. As he says, as visibility grows, aggressions have also grown.” This generates fear and that fear is real, “he says. .
Of the same opinion is Ignacio Paredero, Secretary of Organization of the FELGTB, who thinks that, after this increase in mobilization there is, above all, an awareness of the possibility that Spain will experience a setback. “With the Samuel case, people have somehow seen clearly that there may be a clear setback of rights that has taken a long time to achieve,” he says. Is there more fear than before? Paredero thinks so. “On a day-to-day basis, people feel that they cannot express themselves with the same freedom, because there are other people who are no longer ashamed of being homophobic. Vox has somehow opened the spigot to those who used to be silent, they are told in a subtle but powerful way that it is not bad to say some things, “he defends.
Surveys show data that apparently might seem contradictory but that make up a prism in which various realities coexist. Spain was the country with the best standing in a poll made by the British firm YouGov on supporting LGTBI family or friends when they decide to come out of the closet. But the survey that the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) presented last year pointed out, for example, that a third of LGTBI people in Spain do not go to some places out of fear and that half of those who have a partner avoid shaking hands in public. However, Spain is one of the six European countries with the most visibility of the LGTBI community.
Elisa Coll is an activist and author of the book Bisexual resistance (Melusina publishing house). He believes that the satiety is due, above all, to speeches that were not so lively before and that now the extreme right has made more permissible. “Suddenly we see spaces threatened. It is not that before they were completely guaranteed, but they were safer,” he explains. Fear, he assures, is more present: “Friends have called me telling me that they were considering going back to the closet. The closet is horrible but feeling that being outside is even worse than being inside and being afraid of being visible because of what might happen is tremendous”.
Beyond the complaints about crimes that I hate, which are growing steadily and driven by greater social awareness, Núñez Blanco also considers that the situation has worsened in recent years due to “the legitimation of the speeches of the extreme right” and indicates that one of the solutions has to be “public policies”. “There is a need to address the discourse of diversity from the public, educational, health, social, political, positive sense. You have to take a step forward and it is not worth a statement”, concludes.
Roberto is 21 years old and grew up in Medina de Rioseco, a town of 4,200 inhabitants of Valladolid, where wearing a “too feminine” t-shirt or a “too light” cellphone case to high school served as a pretext for his classmates to mess with him. When he moved to the capital Valladolid at the age of 16, the city was presented as a “liberation”. He began to meet more gay boys and formed a group of friends, who helped him get to know each other and put aside suicidal thoughts that he had felt in his town, reports Ángel Villaescusa.
In Valladolid she started dating a boy. One night in the summer of 2017 she was drinking with her boyfriend and a friend of both when a boy yelled ‘fags’ at them. “We had just given each other a pick and a hug when they insulted us,” recalls Roberto. “I thought we had to shut up. You’re not going to face either.” But her friend came to the defense of the couple and the girlfriend of the boy who had insulted them pounced on her. From there they all went to the hands. Roberto went to defend his friend and ended up being beaten by the boy who had begun to insult him: “He was kicking me while calling me a fagot.”
Julian has been affected by homophobia “in countless ways” since he was a child. In 2016, he was the victim of a homophobic attack in the center of Madrid. One night, returning from the party and almost entering his portal, a group of boys rebuked him, he answered and in a few moments he was on the ground, protecting his face and head, receiving kicks. This is an extreme case, the worst version of violence due to sexual orientation and gender identity.
But Julián also says that LGTBIphobia has affected him in many other ways, even before he knew that another boy might like him. “At school they called me a fag and I really didn’t know if I was or not,” he recalls. “I came home crying and told my mother they called me this. And once my mother asked me if I was gay and I said” I don’t know. I had no idea, “he explains, recalling those confused moments. “You live with a lot of alerts posted and the road is tortuous,” Julián concludes.
“I go out to the streets as a trans woman and I suffer violence from minute one until I get home. My house is where I am safe, this State does not protect us,” said Raffaella, a 58-year-old trans woman, in the demonstration called by LGTBI groups last Wednesday in Madrid.
The streets are not, however, the only place that can be hostile. Also family or work can be. A 2019 UGT survey highlighted that 90% of the people surveyed 86.6% considered that their sexual orientation or gender identity was “an inconvenience” when it came to finding a job and that it was necessary to hide it when doing a job interview.
“I am visible gay and they have tried to discredit me by launching rumors. The last one, calling me ‘bad fag’, that I have ‘the worst of a gay and the worst of a woman’. It is an attempt to affect my reputation, in order to isolate me and limit my professional projection, based all on prejudices about my sexual orientation “, revealed then a technician of a medium-sized company in his 50s.
Violence or economic discrimination is, in fact, one of the great barriers of the group, of which the Secretary of Organization of the FELTGB says that “carries many structural discriminations”. “When you look at the studies and data, you see that at an economic level it is a more vulnerable group and that the salary levels are worse. You have to think, for example, that there are people who leave home younger due to problems with their families, or that you need to leave the city where you live … they are accumulated that are not seen and can lead to more difficulties and more precariousness. That, plus discrimination itself in employment, is something that trans people suffer especially, “says Ignacio Paredero .
And it is that, beyond the beatings, the most virulent episodes, sometimes even the most daily acts can end in violence for LGTBI people. How to go hand in hand. This is what happened to Fran when, a few days ago, she was walking down the street holding her boyfriend’s hand in Almería and a group of six boys rebuked them. “As we passed, they began to laugh and say things like ‘look at the fags,'” he says. The group continued to scold them with “absurd questions” that they did not answer. “I only asked that they leave us alone,” says Fran, who admits that they did not say anything at the time because of “fear” and because they did not want to remember what happened. Now they speak in case “it serves to try to stop the increase of LGTBIphobia”.