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ADDED ON: 09/11/2021

Spain searches for answers after string of homophobic attacks

9/10/21 | Irish Times

More than four decades after Spain lifted laws that made homosexuality illegal and 16 years after becoming a pioneer in the introduction of same-sex marriage, a surge in hate crimes has instilled fear in its LGBT community. The issue has been pushed to the fore by the brutal killing in July of a 24-year-old man, Samuel Luiz, who died in hospital after being attacked by a mob outside a nightclub in the northwestern city of A Coruña. The interior ministry has since reported that hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation increased by 43 per cent during the first half of this year, compared to 2020. (Although crime rates were low overall last year, due to the pandemic, hate crime rates dipped relatively little). “You now think twice about holding your partner’s hand when you are in certain streets or public spaces,” says Ronny de la Cruz, a spokesman for the Madrid-based organisation COGAM, which promotes LGBT rights. “Not long ago you didn’t even worry about that.” A demonstration against homophobia is scheduled for Saturday in Madrid. Another was held on Wednesday. “I didn’t come out of the closet in order to get put in a coffin,” read one of the protester’s banners. The leftist coalition government has responded by creating a commission charged with drawing up a strategy to counter hate crime. After its first meeting on Friday, it agreed to take steps to battle the problem within the country’s police forces.

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