Families are major source of abuse for gay women, trans people, report says

Sunday, 31 May 2020 23:01 GMT

A widow sits at her in-laws' home, in Barquisimeto, Venezuela September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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Lesbians, bi women and trans people more likely to face violence from family members than strangers in some countries

By Hugo Greenhalgh

LONDON, June 1 (Openly) - Family members are often the main perpetrators of abuse against lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people, according to a major global report published on Monday.

The study of 24 countries by Britain's leading LGBT+ rights organisation Stonewall found participants in Zimbabwe in particular were more likely to suffer violence from relatives than from strangers.

More than half of the people in the southern African nation who took part in the two-year "Out of the Margins" project said they had experienced physical abuse at the hands of family members.

In Venezuela, all of the trans men who were surveyed reported attacks by relatives. Mothers in Venezuelan families were cited as the main aggressors by 71% of bisexuals and 48% of lesbians.

Dima, a respondent to the report in Russia's Chechen Republic who did not give his surname, told the researchers that a lesbian friend of his was killed by her husband's relatives when they found out she was gay.

"Out of the Margins", which also conducted reports on nations including Trinidad and Tobago, Montenegro, Burundi and Peru, found "striking levels of discrimination and violence against trans children and young people in schools".

The report noted that many people in Burundi had been unable to complete their education after being thrown out of their homes because of their sexuality or gender identity.

One respondent from the African country told researchers she was forced "to quit school because I couldn't find money to pay my school fees" after her mother ordered her to leave home due to being involved in a same-sex relationship.

"Out of the Margins" examined the global situation across Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean from the perspective of five of the 17 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Focusing on health, economic well-being, education, personal security and violence, and civic and political participation, the report uncovered significant issues, particularly in terms of economic inequality and access to healthcare and education.

Alexandra Hernandez, executive director of Peru-based LGBT+ rights group Mas Igualdad (More Equality), said trans and non-binary people - who do not define themselves as male or female - faced discrimination and violence in the Andean country and elsewhere in Latin America.

"For lesbians and bisexual women, (reports of) sexual violence were particularly high," Hernandez told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone last week.

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Living in Venezuela now is hard. Being LGBT+ makes it harder

(Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Openly is an initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation dedicated to impartial coverage of LGBT+ issues from around the world.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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