I’m curious about the methodolgy used for this report.
How many people were surveyed? Are they basing these finding only on the numbers of police reports received? If so then could it indicate that men are attacked for their sexuality more often than women?
Also does it take into account the size of the gay male population versus the lesbian population? No-one knows the real percentage of lesbians and gay men in the population. Is it the same percentage for both sexes? Are there the same number of gay men and lesbians?
I think the only way this study can be verified is if they surveyed an equal number of lesbians and gay men who had been the victims of homophobic crime and checked the percentage who reported this to the police.
The reason I ask is that my impression is that most violent crime is committed by men and my impression is that homophobic men seem to have a more violent reaction to gay men than they do to lesbians (the homophobes would probably have no problem watching lesbian porn for example)
Maybe lesbians don’t get abused in such a violent way (if you mean, say, punching rather than pushing and shoving), but when straight men are the abusers there’s often some sexual element to the abuse, which may just be verbal but can also be physical. I see this as ‘double’ abuse – abuse because homophobes hate LGBT people, but also abuse because the victim is a woman. Some straight men get very, very nasty when they see a lesbian.
You mention lesbian porn, but there was a discussion about this on another thread recently. Lezabella and others made some good points. I’ll see if I can find it in a moment.
I’d be interested in the way this study was conducted too, but sadly I don’t find the result that surprising if it’s true/valid. I’ve never reported any homophobic abuse and I’ve had plenty.
Me again. It was the thread about Beth Ditto criticising Katy Perry:
The point being that straight men will happily watch lesbian porn, but get very angry when they see actual lesbians in the street because they won’t accept that they want nothing to do with them. So straight men’s enjoyment of lesbian porn does NOT mean that they have a less aggressive attitude towards lesbians.
True but in this story the type of crime isn’t specified either. What constitutes a crime in the context of this story? The report mentions ‘violence and abuse’. Does that include verbal abuse I wonder as I reckon many, many, many gay people experience verbal abuse (by 13 year olds like last Saturday – ‘homo faggot’). Naturally I didn’t report that (‘Hello officer – I was called mean names by children. Boo hoo!’) but I did report it when I got punched in the side of the head and called ‘homo’ when walking home from town alone 1 evening last year.
The point remains though. What is the crime being reported? Maybe gay men experience more violent homophobic crime, which they are more likely to report. Maybe as many or more lesbian women experience harassment but seeing as it’s not regarded as being so serious it doesn’t get reported.
Who knows – this story doesn’t really give any solid facts.
I’d guess it meant verbal abuse as well as physical. And I see what you mean about men probably being more prone to violent attacks – I think that’s very possible. However, lesbians may be more prone to sexual assaults, which they might choose not to report.
Interesting that your verbal abusers were 13 year olds. I find that mine are older – definitely in the young adult category (say, 16 to 25 years). And, no matter how many times I read about homophobic attacks like the one you described above that happened to you, it still shocks me. I just don’t understand how anyone could be provoked to punch someone who’s doing them no harm.
Good discussion and thankf for the mention Iris :) .
I can understand this story a lot. Me and my girlfriend were recently physically attacked and spat on by two men; BUT as Iris pointed out, this was after a few minutes of harassment- which in my view is the most common form of intimidation directed at lesbians. They only stopped when my girlfriend punched one of them and kicked the other up the arse!
They followed us up a side-street and shouted sexually charged insults at us, i.e “What are you holdin’ hands for? S*ck my d*ck you f*cking dykes” and that sort of thing. Then after being rejected and told to ‘f*ck off’ they became angry and that’s how it started.
So I would class what happened to me as harassment followed by, quite rare, physical violence.
Do I think these types of things happen more often to gay men? Probably, yes. And that’s because these homophobic straight men who do this sort of thing think men should dominate women, not eachother. In their patriachal, misogynist, and chauvinist view; you gay men are ‘letting the side down’ as you don’t dominate females in any way (socially, sexually etc), and us lesbians are a nuisance as we refuse to be dominated.
Why gay women are less likely to report than gay men -I don’t know. In my view possibly because the ‘harassment’ lesbians receive happens so much that they ignore it? Maybe because in mainstream society, gay men are much more visible, vocal and even accepted? Maybe lesbians are frightened and just feel a little bit invisible?
None of this is quantifiable though.
Harassment is the most common type of abuse directed at gay men also. In my 33 years on the planet I’ve been subject to 2 violent homophobic assaults but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been shouted at (the best was when a homeless guy called me a faggot. My response was ‘Go have a shower you smelly b@stard’). This is true of most of my gay friends – male or female. Casual abuse or harassment seems par for the course.
It says in this report that gay men are 7 times more likely to report homophobic crime. But the reasons why are pure speculation as the study doesn’t give any context to these figures. It doesn’t give a definition of what constitutes a crime so the figures are sort of meaningless unless they tell what the standards applied were.
That verbal abuse that you’ve described, Lezabella, is pretty much what I get what I’m out with my girlfriend too. It starts off as an attempt to intimidate/embarrass by drawing attention to our sexuality, then progresses to sexually aggressive suggestions if we don’t respond. Sometimes that can go further – yep, been spat at too; had a bottle thrown at us; been shoved and grabbed.
It makes me angry aswell as afraid. I DETEST that attitude that men somehow own women.
Why didn’t we report it? Well, I did consider it, but I was afraid that it wouldn’t be taken seriously. I was also worried that the person who received my complaint would be male and not very sympathetic. I was also embarrassed. I think that maybe this embarrassment could be part of why lesbians may not report homophobic crime. Anything with a sexual aspect can be hard to report. Maybe embarrassment’s the wrong word? I suppose I was worried that maybe people would laugh or somehow get off on the comments and actions of the abusers or show an intrusive interest. That’s probably an unfair worry of mine, but if it’s in my head it could be in other women’s too.
P.S – Your girlfriend’s actions were impressive! Very brave to go for men when you can’t predict their physical strength.
Simon, I did try to find the actual survey on the Met site, but I had no luck.
I absoloutely agree Iris.
It’s the same neanderthal attitudes across the board with some of these men. No matter what partof the country/world you live in.
“It makes me angry aswell as afraid. I DETEST that attitude that men somehow own women.”
I do too Iris, but that’s what is the root cause of these men’s reasoning (and I use that term loosely) whether they realise it or not. If you asked them I’m sure they’d say something akin to “Oh I dunno, I just hate lesbos, like”. When the actual cause is because they want to dominate and own us; but they’re too thick to figure that out and so think they just ‘hate’ us for no reason.
Regarding my girlfriend: yeah she was very barve and I was quite scared to be honest, but she’s a strong girl and they soon got scared when she retalliated. :)