Hate for homosexuals: How violence against gays is on the rise in Berlin

2021 May 29, Berlin-Neukölln, Sonnenallee: The two men, who are recognizable as a couple, meet with a group of young people in the evening. First the men are homophobically insulted, then the penis is exposed by a young man. “The two men were then hit in the head and injured,” a Berlin police report said.

2021 July 10, Berlin-Kreuzberg, underground: Two women holding hands are homophobically abused by an aggressive man. When they get off the train, they are followed by a man. When a lesbian couple is rescued by a witness, the assailant spits on them.

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2021 July 25, Berlin-Mitte: Po Christopher Street Day The rainbow flag is first snatched from the hand by the tourist, then kicked from the back and slapped in the face. The victim of a triple jaw fracture must be hospitalized.

These are just three examples of hundreds of homophobic and transphobic incidents Maneo anti-violence project. recorded annually. In 2021, Maneo was aware of 527 cases, including insults, coercion, and threats, as well as simple, dangerous, and attempted physical harm. Most affected: gays and bisexual men.

The figures confirm data from the Federal Bureau of Criminal Police on politically motivated crimes. According to this, 525 cases of hate crimes related to sexual or gender identity were recorded in Berlin last year.

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Most cases were reported to Maneo from the districts of Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Mitte. Bastian Finke, head of Maneo, explains the dominance of these areas by the fact that they are home to many bars and gay subcultural venues, making LGBT people (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender) more visible in the local area.

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Finke describes the data available on criminals as “very poor” because only a fraction of violent crimes are detected. He can only say that most criminals are young men.

The initiative considers a “culture of honor” to be a key issue.

Güner Balci, Neukölln District Integration Officer, becomes more specific. “Particularly in a reactionary religious and right-wing environment, rejection and hatred of same-sex lifestyles are always very pronounced,” she says. She hears from the victims over and over again that they are leaving Neukölln again because of the violent incidents and, most importantly, the everyday discrimination – the psychological and physical consequences are so profound. “For example, many mosque communities in Neukölln have an important role to play as intermediaries if they are serious about promoting pluralistic coexistence.

Guneris Balčis

Berlin-Neukölln integration official Güner Balci

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Neukölln initiative “Disrespectful, not without defense”Islamic criticism of left-wing violence against gays in the capital has been on track since 2018. The group blames the “collectivist ideal of honor” for many of its actions.

The perpetrators legitimized their hatred by seeing their victims as “dirty” or “disrespectful.” The initiative complains of “misunderstanding” in combating this violence. According to the initiative, the “culture of honor” should not be overlooked, even in an open, colorful and tolerant way in a neighborhood.

Kai Wegner, head of the CDU parliamentary group at the Berlin House of Representatives, also says: “You will not solve problems by hiding them. We need to clearly identify criminal groups in order to fight homophobia in a targeted way. ”There is a need for a stronger police presence in‘ colorful neighborhoods ’, especially on weekends. Mobile police stations could provide the community with greater security following acts of bullying, insult and violence.

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Jeannette Auricht, a social and political spokeswoman for the AfD capital group, says: “Anyone who, for example, relativises or even hides groups of migrant criminals, even though they say they are very important, is preventing a real solution.”

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