The number of crimes against gays and lesbians is increasing significantly. Opposition and associations demand more commitment from the federal government.
Violence against gays and lesbians? These demonstrators say no Photo: dpa
In a society as advanced as ours, one would expect that an issue like homophobia and the exclusion of minorities would no longer be a major problem. Regrettably, this assumption is a mistake. For the number of homophobically motivated crimes in Germany is higher than it has been for a long time.
This is the result of a recent response from the Ministry of the Interior to a question from Green Party Member of the Bundestag Volker Beck. According to this, 205 politically motivated crimes in the context of "sexual orientation" were reported by the end of September. 99 suspects could be identified. By way of comparison, in the previous year there were 171 crimes and 86 suspects by the end of September. This means that the crime rate has risen by 15 percent compared to the previous year – a fact that calls for urgent action. All the more so when one considers that ten years ago, only 60 homophobically motivated crimes were counted.
At the same time, the CDU/CSU and SPD had announced in their coalition agreement that they would expand the National Action Plan against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism to include the fight against homophobia and transphobia. Therefore, the Green Beck demands: "The federal government must say that everyone is worth the same, no matter who he or she loves. And the police must protect lesbians, gays and trans." The government’s inaction on the action plan against homophobia and transphobia is "unbearable."
Harald Petzold, a member of the Left Party, also calls the increase in violence "not a good sign." Politics "kowtows to homophobic slogans of right-wing populists, rather than self-confidently flying the flag for diversity and equality of lifestyles." In addition to the action plan, Petzold also calls for an accurate police situation report on homophobic violence.
The number of unreported cases is high
Beck also motivates victims of violence to report the acts to the police. The fact is that the statistical figures are very vague: Many of the acts of violence are not classified as homophobically motivated, but as alcohol-influenced misconduct or quarrels. In cities like Hamburg or Cologne, these figures are not even collected, so the number of unreported cases is probably quite high.
In Berlin alone, for example, the police have recorded 113 homophobically motivated crimes so far this year. That would already be more than half of all nationwide crimes. The figures should therefore be treated with caution.
One thing is clear: Something must be done! Helmut Metzner of the Lesbian and Gay Association, for example, demands: "A free society must guarantee that all people can be different at any time in any place without fear or hostility. Every homophobic crime is one crime too many." Police officers and judicial officials also need to be made more aware of this issue.
It is truly desirable that all people can be out and about without fear of being attacked for being different. That is why it is necessary to continue fighting for equal rights.