LGBTphobia: Annual Israeli Report

On Friday the Nir Katz Center for fighting LGBT-phobia published its second annual report for the years 2013 – 2014. The new report presents distressing data on hundreds of incidents of hate and discrimination against the LGBT community during this period and in numerous areas.

The Nir Katz Center for the Elimination of Violence and LGBTphobia was first established in August 2012 in the framework of the Aguda and under its professional responsibility. The center is designed to deal with the widespread phenomena of violence and discrimination against the LGBT community against the backdrop of hatred and ignorance.

Up until the establishment of the center, discrimination and violent events against the LGBT community, which allowed obtaining a clearer picture about the scope of the phenomena, were not reported, and so cases of LGBTphobia in the workplace, refusal to rent an apartment to a same-sex couple, refusal to serve LGBT in shops and restaurants, events of bullying and violence against LGBT students in the education system, and more, were not dealt with. The establishment of the Nir Katz Center was designed to act as a change in this dismal situation, to promote systemic treatment in the LGBTphobia phenomenon, and thus to bring about social change.

Reporting to the center is done primarily through filing an internet form in the Aguda’s website. The center is aware that some of the victims do not wish to be exposed, and thus they can report anonymously, while understanding that each subject and each case is very important for drawing an accurate picture of LGBTphobia events in the country. Of course, all events reported discreetly are kept under the obligation of confidentiality, explains Dr. Gil Fischhof, coordinator of the center.

One of the biggest unfortunate trends in this year’s report is the refusual to rent apartments to LGBT people, or to forbid LGBT characteristics on the outside of rented apartments, such as the requirement by homeowners that tenants remove rainbow flags from the balconies (Beer-Sheva, Tel Aviv) and the threat of various sanctions if rainbow flags are not removed.

The data paints a particularly concerning scene as far as the conduct of law enforcement officials against LGBT people. Out of 30 reported cases, one is related to police violence. For example, in a case which happened just last week, a man was stopped by Tel Aviv police for the purpose of alcohol testing . He was thrown out of his car with force, was thrown violently on the ground and tightly handcuffed, causing injury. During the event the officer called him ‘a fag’, and told him that he would personally make sure that the guy would be molested in jail if he didn’t cooperate. Accordingly, the willingness to report incidents about the police is remarkably low – only 14%. To the credit of the police, there’s no evasion in handling LGBT phobia events. The police provide quick response to complaints by the Aguda in the matter of police violence and LGBTphobia.

The report points to a worrisome trend: that the population most exposed to LGBTphobia is the transgender community. Fifteen per cent of all LGBTphobia cases concerning this population, including some of the most serious cases, include physical assault. This rate is estimated at a few times higher than the estimated transgender population. The most outstanding case is that of a transgender woman attacked in south Tel Aviv by a group of 11 men, but it is not the only case ,unfortunately. Three transgender women were forced to flee a public pool in the center of the country after a mass of people surrounded them and threatened them.

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