A brief history of homophobia

As we celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month we must acknowledge the blood sweat and tears that were shed for years before we could get here.

Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community openly has never been easy, considering how judgemental and hateful the world is towards people who are different. According to pbs.org, homophobia dates back to the 1800’s when William James assumed that being repulsed by hom0sexuals was instinctive in men. Since then men and women have been speaking out against same sex relationships. Because of this, LGBTQ+ people have hidden their sexualities from the world in fear of what may happen to them.

Violence and hate crimes towards homosexuals has always been a thing, but in Germany during the 1920’s, as stated by hmd.org.uk, all homosexual acts were criminalized until 1929 when the process towards complete decriminalization had been initiated to German Legislature. In 1933 when Hitler became chancellor of Germany, within days, repression against gay men and lesbian women began. People fled Germany and married people of the opposite sex to try and blend in, and within weeks of the violence the police established lists of “homosexually active” people. Tens of thousands of gay men were arrested and an estimated 50,000 received severe jail sentences in brutal and inhumane conditions. They were subjected to hard labor, torture, involuntary experimentation and even execution. Those who weren’t sent to prisons were sent to concentration camps where they endured death from exhaustion, castration, gruesome medical experiments and even mass extermination.

Women who were bisexual or lesbian were not included in the nazi legislation so they didn’t endure as much abuse as gay men until after the annexation of Austria into greater Germany under the Nazi regime. After the fall of the Nazi regime the allies chose to disclude the homosexual victims of the nazis which led to them not being released from the prisons they were wrongfully held at.  They were left with two decisions, forget about their experience and pretend it never happened or try to campaign for recognition from the same people who denied them their rights in the first place.

This was the first instance of mass genocide towards homosexuals that is taught in schools but yet most people who learn about the holocaust believe that only Jewish people were targeted. At least 100,000 homosexual men and women were victims of hate crimes at the hands of nazis and then the “allies” who fought to save Germany and yet they barely even get a page in the history books.

According to vawnet.org and pflag.org, in November 2015 it was announced that the count of most violent deaths towards transgender women of color began in 1998 and it has doubled as of 2014, raising the rate of violence towards trans women of color to a crisis-like level.

In 2015, 46% of trans and non-binary people reported that they were verbally harassed and 9% were physically attacked in the last year because they were transgender or nonbinary. 72% of trans and nonbinary sex workers, 65% of trans and nonbinary people who experienced homelessness and 61% of trans and nonbinary people with disabilities reported being sexually assaulted in their life time. 

After seeing these facts, would you be willing to be openly a part of the LGBTQ+ community in the world today? The world doesn’t try nearly as hard to protect LGBTQ+ people as they do to blame the victims of these crimes for the way they were dressed, the area they were in and even the people they were around.

As human beings we should work hard to protect all people, no matter what their race, gender identity or their sexuality.  Until that day we will celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month to celebrate the people who risk their lives and safety everyday just for being themselves and loving who they chose.