Never before had I been so afraid of being a fag in Spain. After the homophobic murder of Samuel Luiz and with the constant news of attacks, I try not to meet any man on the street. I bought myself a self defense spray. I don’t go alone at night in certain areas. I send whatsapps with my friends when we get home. I don’t wear flashy clothes unless I’m in a group. I walk fast if I run into a block of guys. My mother, who was born during the Franco regime, writes me “baby, be careful, I don’t want anything to happen to you.” I do just what my friends have done all their lives: go unnoticed to avoid violence. Does it happen to straight men too? Do you also neutralize yourself on the street so that no one realizes that you are straight and that, because you are, they can give you a beating to death or break your jaw? Do you live in fear of being straight men like we are of being queers, dykes, bisexuals, trans or non-binaries? No? Wow, I wonder why.
A few days ago there was a public and collective trial against a fag in all the media, on all social networks and in every bar conversation. It was short-lived, but we all had a good feast. Immediately after the police reported that the boy from Malasaña had changed his version to affirm that he consented to be written “fag” with a cutter up his ass, the people handed down a sentence: the young man, 20 years old and a sex worker, passed from victim to national executioner. No one stopped to think in what circumstances the injuries occurred given the clientelistic and economic relationship of those involved, if there was consent as such or if the Police acted correctly, as the forensic psychologist and investigator Helena Cortina has reviewed in The jump. For a few hours, he was the center of our target. Then we got over it. And for something else. For another trial.
I write this with many doubts about the consensual origin of the cuts, about whether the context of offering sexual services prevents recognizing the knife blades as an assault, about their situation when reporting and about the fact of having to face three police statements in a few days. The immediacy that marks the current capitalist world, that which forces us to produce and consume content, events and people here and now, made the boy the absolute culprit of all the ills of LGTBI + people and the person responsible for the future questions that they would be made of each new aggression. But the truth is that, leaving us with the modification of his story, a false testimony does not have the power to annul or invalidate all the attacks that have been taking place in Spain for decades because, simply, it does not have it. However, we all immediately buy into the argument that the extreme right would use when it is not even sustainable.
In a matter of hours, the right and the far right had taken advantage of this rift to trivialize LGTBIphobia and instrumentalize the violence we suffer for their own political benefit. Their objective was to present themselves as victims of a government campaign to, in the case of the former, tarnish the image of the capital and, in the case of the latter, present them as the enemy. Meanwhile, the left as a bloc condemned the terror we suffered, Equality began to accelerate the LGTBI Equality Law and the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, convened the Monitoring Commission against Hate Crimes. Two camps were created. As if you could be for or against the rights of LGTBI + people, our security and our lives.
The hatred, disgust and rejection that we LGTBI + people in this country endure is chronic and historical. In 2020, 277 hate crimes were committed due to LGTBIphobia, as shown by data from the annual Interior report, as of July 31, 2021, the total count of hate crimes reached 748 and, as noted by the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, these crimes against LGTBI + people have increased by 43% in the first half of this year. However, the right and the extreme right have focused on the only case that interested them and have ignored all the attacks that take place in Spain. The first is never expected in terms of equality and diversity, and the second these two words make her blood boil because they mean dismantling the privileges of the minority elite.
In recent months, Samuel Luiz was murdered shouting “fag” in Galicia, two pairs of boys were brutally beaten on the beach in Barcelona, a trans boy had his nose broken in Valencia, a young man temporarily lost the vision of an eye after a hail of blows at the parties of a town in Toledo after the attackers called him “fag”, a man received a homophobic and racist beating in Melilla, a 64-year-old trans woman received several punches in Vitoria and so we could occupy a couple of paragraphs more. All these violence are the visible consequences of a serious problem that we have: LGTBIphobia validated by a hate speech that preaches that we are inferior and that the violence we suffer we deserve because we are not heterosexual, cis, or express ourselves how a person should be expressed. man and woman. But the responsibility for the violence that LGTBI + people suffer is not ours, it belongs to our aggressors, who have seen their hatred validated by this incessant message that he points out to us.
Fed up and exhausted. So are the LGTBI + people of Spain, and also women and migrants and racialized people. We are exhausted from counting the violence that we suffer over and over again so that you believe us, so that something changes, so that you stop exercising it, so that you stop hitting, humiliating, spitting, attacking, raping, killing, annulling us. We live in a constant loop: always narrating the wounds you cause us and always receiving silence, indifference and questioning.
We are tired of reminding you of the insults that you throw at us since we were little, the shoves that you give us in the hallways of the institute and also the beatings and murders with which you break our lives. Tired of feeling afraid every time we think about telling our family who we are or who we want. Tired of being terrified when we walk alone through the city or town or neighborhood because who knows how you come back. Tired of you, from your comfortable position, making jokes about fags, dykes, bisexuals, trans people and non-binaries. Tired of you turning your face when this goes with you. Tired of yelling between us. Tired of yelling the usual ones. Fed up because we don’t hit ourselves, we don’t insult ourselves, we don’t murder each other, we don’t chase each other. Fed up because on top of that we have to show you and convince you that this happens to us every day and that you do it.
Do you want to take responsibility once and for all for the violence that you exert against our lives and stop it? How many of you have shared in stories the change of version of the young man from Malasaña to feel free of guilt? How many of you have shared the other countless aggressions? Do you discuss among yourselves the commotion they cause you? Do you feel something when you read news of another attack? Does this matter to you, even if it is very little? How many of you have ever called someone a “fagot” in your life? And “fuck it up”? And “disgusting brute”? How many have you hit? Do you know the damage you do? How many fags do you have to kill for something to change? How many bisexual minors have to commit suicide because you don’t let them live? How many trans people are you going to deny the right to live as they want?
We are sick of living in constant judgment. You pass judgment against our lives every day. If our legs shake when we see you, it is because we fear your gaze. We fear how your eyes will read us and how you will act if you think that because of our clothing or behavior we are fags, dykes, cross-hairs, bujarras, traitors, disgusting. This will continue as long as the media, institutional and democratic speakers broadcast that homosexual people have less right to adopt than heterosexuals, that in Spain we have gone from beating gays to imposing their law, that ours is a vice or that we should not advocate for trans children “if there is such a thing.” The message that society receives is that LGTBI + people are despicable and absolute dirt and, if someone is less than you, you have the right to trample on them and end them. In this constant trial in which we live, the German journalist and philosopher Carolin Emcke gave the key: “Hatred is only fought by rejecting its invitation to contagion.” And we still resist doing that in Spain.