Austria’s first openly gay MEP and leader of the Austrian Green delegation to the European Parliament was reportedly sprayed with butyric acid at the recent ‘Vienna Rainbow Parade’.
Speaking to The Local after the attack Lunacek said:
“These kinds of isolated cases showed that the fight for tolerance, acceptance and respect in Austria was not over. People who spread fear and hate needed to be opposed.”
This attack is unusual because of the public profile of the victim. However, we know that LGBT residents all over the EU suffer a disproportionate likelihood in being victims of violent attacks. As Stonewall’s ‘Gay Crime Survey’ in the UK commented:
“[There is] a picture of lesbian, gay and bisexual people suffering wide-ranging abuse, from physical assaults and threats of violence through to harassment, verbal insults and damage to their property. Hate crimes and incidents affect gay people of all ages living in all regions of the country”
The same survey found that “One in six lesbian, gay and bisexual people have experienced a homophobic hate crime or incident over the last three years” alone.
For the majority of tolerant Brits and other European citizens it is hard to imagine that such attacks exists at all yet alone with such regularity and severity. But it is incredibly important to remember that this hate filled and often violent reaction to people’s sexuality still impacts on thousands of people’s lives all over the world but significantly also in our own European back yard.
One of the most important things we can all do to combat this is to read more around the issue. As such, I hope this more information is of use.