I wanted to write about this topic because as a person in the community, every time someone close to me (family, friends and/or acquaintances) finds out about my sexual orientation, I receive an LGBTIphobic comment, phrase and hint. I have made the mistake of no longer mentioning it and limiting myself to leaving the house, only doing so when it is very necessary, since every time I do, anxiety runs through my entire body and the headache causes me to vomit and chills.

I have never talked about this openly as it makes me feel very insecure and vulnerable, I really admire the people in the community who march, shout and fight for their freedom. I haven't been able to do it, and it's not that I don't have the support, but I really don't know how to do it, the world we live in terrifies me and I truly hope one day to find the strength to do it, raise my voice and fight for it, the freedom.

While it is true that, in recent years, the LGBT+ liberation movement has become increasingly visible, fighting against discrimination, hatred and violence, in favor of gay marriage, adoption and the decriminalization of homosexuality in the world, it is very shocking that the data on discrimination, violence and hatred are so alarming.

Today, 69 countries in the world have laws that criminalize people based on their sexual orientation. In 11 of these countries the death penalty is considered! (UN, 2020).

In 26 or more countries in the world, there are laws that criminalize transgender people for the simple fact of going out on the street, and they are suffering attacks of violence without any reason or antecedent (UN, 2020).

In 15 countries, “gender transitions” of different types are prohibited.

Every year 350 transgender people are murdered, the countries with the highest rate of transfeminicide and transvesticide (terminology used in Mexico), from 2008 to 2023 are Brazil (1,841 transgender people murdered) and Mexico (701 trans people murdered). (TGEU, 2023).

Between 2008 and 2023, 4,690 murders of trans people have been reported globally, murdered for the simple fact of being transgender. (TGEU, 2023).

In 51 countries, restrictions are established for registering organizations that fight for equality, support and advocate for people in the LGBTIQ+ community (UNHCR, 2021).

What is LGBTI-phobia?

“It is the rejection, fear, repudiation, prejudice, contempt or discrimination towards people who recognize themselves as LGTBI+, or people by association or affinity to them. LGTBIphobia is also considered the rejection, fear, repudiation, prejudice, contempt or discrimination of those people whose reality of sexual orientation, romanticism, gender expression, sexual development or sexual identity, falls within the spectrum of the LGTBI collective, whether considered or not. part of it, to people who are members of LGTBI+ families or by affinity or association with them.”

Observatorio contra la LGTBIfobia de Castilla – La Mancha

There are different specific types of LGTBI-phobia, for example, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, lesbophobia, interphobia, etc. Today I will focus on lesbophobia, since I have directly experienced this type of aggression. Furthermore, in my country, there is a very serious problem of violence against women, which adds to a marked lesbophobia that has not been eradicated. Unfortunately, lesbian women are doubly discriminated against, both for being women and for their sexual orientation. And not to mention trans women, who are highly discriminated against, but I will write about this another time.

What is lesbophobia?

“Lesbophobia is known as any psychological, physical or verbal discrimination, rejection or hatred of people who identify themselves under the label of lesbian, for example, ideologies, prejudices, hypersexualization, street violence, etc.”
Observatorio Andaluz contra la Homofobia, Bifobia y Transfobia.

Examples:

“What a pity that you are a lesbian”, “you are very pretty for a lesbian”

Feeling sorry because a woman is a lesbian is a type of microaggression, since it indirectly expresses that heterosexuality is normal and good and another type of sexual orientation is inferior and bad.

“What happened to you, why did you become a lesbian?”

These types of questions encourage the idea that lesbianism is a mental illness or trauma, and that the person had to go through a traumatic event for them to become lesbian.

“Tomboy, woman-man, dyke, dyke, crazy, sick”

This type of high-sounding words promotes hatred, rejection and discrimination towards gay women, it is disrespectful and discriminatory, and on some occasions, these words are used to offend other people, as a method of offence.

“So you're a virgin?”, “You're a lesbian because you haven't had sex with a real man,” “I'm going to fuck you, you'll see that the lesbian thing goes away.”

These types of comments are disgusting, and most of the time they are made by men. These phrases multiply the idea that sex is only coitocentric, and that you can only have sex and pleasure through penetration, repeating the sexist idea that men are the only ones who can give and receive sexual pleasure.

“It's just a stage, you'll get over it”

This phrase is very common to hear from parents or close relatives. When a girl manages to share her sexual orientation with her closest circle, and receives these types of comments, they are making her invisible and invalidating her feelings and sexual orientation. This repeats the idea that being a lesbian doesn't exist, is weird, or something that shouldn't exist, and is just some kind of confusion or mental problem.

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc., is not a stage and cannot be overcome, just like heterosexuality.

“Who is the man and who is the woman in the relationship?” “If you are a lesbian, why don't you have short hair?”

This encourages gender stereotypes and prejudices, creating the misconception that all lesbian women are masculine. Let us remember that the sexual orientation and gender expression are not the same. There are lesbian women with different types of expressions.

Limitations

Some examples are denying access to marriage for lesbian women, denying some type of health service, and at a religious level, denying services, such as marriage, sponsorship, etc.

Hypersexualization and harassment

Some examples of this hypersexualization are street harassment, the normalization of lesbian couples' relationships as objects of consumption in the porn industry, or when men ask lesbian couples to kiss for them, even asking them to have threesomes.

The first step is to identify these types of attacks. Now, what should I do if I have suffered discrimination or violence motivated by my sexual orientation or gender identity? If I have witnessed any situation of discrimination or violence?

The second step is to denounce or report.

Why is it important to denounce?

A very alarming fact is that between 60% and 90% of victims do not report their case (Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union), because these types of complaints do not proceed to continue with the investigation, however, it is very important to report all incidents of LGTBIphobia, even those that do not seem serious, because this way you can have a better perspective of the problem, put pressure on the authorities, raise awareness in society, know where the problems are and improve the response to incidents of LGBTIphobia.

How to denounce?

Depending on your country and locality, there are different instances where you can report or denounce an LGBTIphobic incident, for example, National Police Stations, Federal Police, Civil Guard Barracks, etc. It can be done in person or by phone, calling Security or Emergencies.

The report can be made by the victim or another person who witnessed the LGBTIphobic incident. The authorities must collect all the information, if you have evidence, such as photographs, videos, witnesses, etc., it is important to have backups and/or copies, in case they are lost.

You can also report and go to LGBTI+ organizations, where they will accompany you and support you in carrying out the entire reporting process.

In Mexico, for example, you can report incidents of LGBTIphobic violence and discrimination online through a platform. More information.

Important aspects:

  • It is very important to describe LGTBIphobia in detail, as well as the screams, insults and comments where the motivation of hate is shown.
    • Try to give as much detail as possible about the aggressors, their physical appearance, height, way of dressing, hair, approximate age, etc.).
      • Try to get witnesses to the incident so that they can complement the complaint and accompany you to declare the event.
        • If there has been any type of physical assault, even when it is not visible, it is vitally important to go to the emergency room, a hospital or a health center so that the doctor can prepare a MEDICAL REPORT OF ATTACKS, detailing and describing the injuries, the damage and physical consequences. This report can be attached at the time of making the complaint or after making it, incorporating it into the file. Don't forget to have one or two copies (backups), in case it gets lost.
          • If there have been verbal attacks and/or threats, you can go to a mental health center and request a MEDICAL ASSISTANCE REPORT, detailing and describing the damage and psychological consequences.
            • You can also go to other medical specialists (dentists, ophthalmologists, traumatologists, etc.), and incorporate the reports and documents into the complaint, in order to request DAMAGES from the aggressors.

              More information.

              Remember that it is very important to make these problems visible and not let them go unnoticed, let's fight every day with big and/or small actions to eradicate all types of discrimination!

              Thanks for reading me. Tell me? Have you been a victim of LGTBIphobia? Have you witnessed these types of attacks? I read you in the comments.