Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Critical review on the EU-Survey on Hate Crimes and Discrimination against LGTB people in Europe

On the 17th of May (on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia), the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) presented the results of the largest LGTB survey ever on experiences of hate crime and discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGTB) people during a conference hosted by the Dutch Government in The Hague. In this (370,000 Euros-taxpayer-Euro) report, the shocking claim has been made that a quarter of the 93.000 LGBT people that answered the questionnaire said that they had become victims of physical violence in the past and claimed that this is the largest LGTB survey ever on Hate Crimes and Discrimination. With pride this report was presented and even new Queen Maxima of the Netherlands participated at the opening.  

However, if you look carefully to the report and the procedures how these results were obtained, then serious questions raise about the credibility of both this report and their results. 

1: The way the survey was conducted, is in some ways puzzling. Does it live up to the criteria of serious scientific research? A complete analysis about the scientific problems of the report you will find here
  •  First of all, the only people allowed to participate in the survey are LGBT people themselves. That means there is no way of comparing their self-perception with the perception of society in general. 
  • Secondly, the questionnaire is very long. Only people highly motivated to prove that they have been discriminated against would work through the 50 questions. Even more problematic: the survey is not based on verifiable facts but the perception of discrimination. 
  • Also, one person can fill out the questionnaire as often as they would like to. 
  • Another highly problematic issue with the LGBT survey is the fact that its questions as well as its answers are quite suggestive. 
  • Suggestions are made that exceed the competencies of the FRA such as the hint that greater appreciation of the LGBT life style by religious leaders would be helpful.[1]

2: But the scientific deficiencies of the survey are not the only trouble with the Rights Agencies Report. Also the numbers in the results seem strange at a second glance:

  • Not many of the 23.000 hate crimes mentioned by anonymous LGBT people were filed with the police. Granted, not everything gets reported. But so many who don’t tell the police? Hard to believe! 
  • The Blog Turtle Bay and Beyond points to some interesting facts about the numbers found: It is argued, that the actual number of violent incidents against LGBT people is actually rather low, considering that Germany making up 16% of the EU population had some 570.000 cases of criminal incidents involving violence of various degrees in the year 2011. “16% of 23.000 [total assaults counted in the survey] would be 3.680 assaults – but […] are we sure that they all took place within one year? How many of them enter into which category? How many of them actually resulted in any physical injury (as opposed to just “harassing” a person)? Given that the LGBT lobby […] often claims that 10% of the population are gay or lesbian, would 3.680 assaults against LGBT persons per annum – in comparison to a total of 570.000 reported crimes involving various degrees of violence – not actually indicate that LGBT persons are less frequently attacked than other people?[2]

3. Two very dramatic realities relating to LGBT people and violence are entirely ignored by the report:
  • First of all, the fact is that homosexual men and women are really more likely to be confronted with violence in their lives. However, this greater risk of violence they are facing sadly happens within LGBT relationships. A 2002 study by Greenwood and others found: “in a representative population probability sample that the level of violence in relationships between homosexual men was considerably higher than the level of violence by men against women in the heterosexual community. Greenwood et al. reported: The 5-year prevalence of physical battering among urban MSM [men having sex with men] (22.0%) was significantly higher than either the annual prevalence of severe violence (3.4%) or the annual prevalence of total violence (11.6%) among a representative sample of women who were married or cohabiting with men. (p. 1968)”[3] 
  • Another worrying fact is the rising number of hate crime hoaxes involving homosexual men and women hurting themselves and claiming to have become victims of hate crimes.
    • A very drastic example is the case of Charlie Rogers from Nebraska, who carved a cross into her chest to later claim three men had forcefully entered her house to torture her out of hatred against lesbians. She was later charged with misrepresentation.[4] 
    • Joseph Baken, a 22 year old from Missoula, Montana, used the injuries he brought upon himself through a somersault gone wrong to claim he had become the victim of a hate crime. 
    • In May 2012 a lesbian couple was charged with writing “kill the gay” on their own garage. 
    • When the Ugandan homosexual and sexual rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered, US - President Obama, the European Union and UK officials urged the Ugandan government to speak up against homophobia, host gay pride events and the “David Kato Vision and Voice Award” was set up. However, it was only a little later, when the police had successfully finished investigating Kato’s death that the reason for his murder came to light: he had been killed by a male prostitute who was furious because he had decided not to pay the man for sex.[5]
  •  But the aggression of some LGBT activists becomes evident also in the violence that LGBT people perpetrate against those who do not share their believes: A very visible example for this hostility was the recent attack of Femen activists on the Bishop of Mechelen-Brussels[6] or a verbal death threat to the organizer of the French Pro-Family Manifestations[7].
What is the remedy? More laws against violence against LGBT people? Our legal systems already forbid violence. Not just against LGBT people, but against all people. This is the way it must be. Because all men and women are equal before the law.

The Fundamental Rights Agency suggests: More anti-discrimination legislation. Outlawing to differentiate between sexual orientations in one’s personal economic conduct (by adopting the proposed horizontal 5th equal treatment directive). But anti-discrimination legislation creates inequality by privileging the concerns of certain groups. It violates personal autonomy, freedom of conscience and religion, and the right to dispose of one’s property. Connecting allegedly high numbers of violence against LGBT people to the issue of anti-discrimination legislation, portraying Europe as a conglomerate of law- and order-less, Darwinist societies, is a purposeful misdirection of people. And a very expensive one, one might add.

[3] Journal of Human Sexuality (Narth), Volume 1, 2009, S. 85-86.


  1. Thank you Mr. Leo for this information. I was just reading the report this morning from the other side of the debate and I knew something was not quite kosher with the information that was being presented. This is a well written article with simple questions that demand an answer from the pro gay rights crowd. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you for your remark. You are completely right. Sometimes I have the feeling that you can hardly have an honest debate about these topics based on simple, practical and objective questions without being called intolerant or homophobic. Of course we should be against hatecrime which is targeted to whatever group not particularly against only a certain group. Feel free to spread the article (with mentioning the resource) further