Every time there is a homophobic aggression, the PP in Madrid blames those who denounce it for the social upheaval and blame it on a political climate that denies LGTBI rights. After the murder of young Samuel in A Coruña, Isabel Díaz Ayuso criticized “the reversal of the burden of proof” for which those who described it as a homophobic crime were allegedly responsible. In the madness of pretending to distance himself with the left, it almost seemed that he was defending those arrested for the murder. Now, after the complaint of a beating suffered by a young gay man in Madrid known at the end of last week, the mayor has found another means of escape so that his electorate knows what is important in this case. “The left wants to dirty the name of Madrid for political purposes,” said José Luis Martínez-Almeida on Wednesday. Once again, the holy war in defense of Madrid is more important than any other matter, even if it was a cowardly aggression in the street, as was believed at the time.
It was not a rush to get rid of questions from journalists. It was part of a defined strategy, as was seen hours later with the reaction of the Madrid government spokesman. Enrique Ossorio accused United We Can and More Madrid of being responsible for the “hate speech, of confrontation of the Spaniards” since his arrival at the institutions. So those who report hate crimes against LGTBI are responsible for the beatings of these people. As if hatred were a generic custom that takes root in society and not a direct attack on very specific people because they are different from the majority.
At this point, it seems impossible for some politicians to understand that hate crimes are committed against people who are especially vulnerable because they are, usually those who belong to minorities. If you insult a politician from the PSOE, PP or Podemos, you may be responsible for a crime of insults, but not a hate crime. The same for policemen, judges, journalists and any other profession. You don’t even have to have studied law to know it.
Both leaders of the PP did condemn the aggression in the typical response with which politicians take responsibility off. His answer has little value because everyone knows that the person in charge of an institution will always be against aggressions in the street regardless of the motive. When someone asks if the institutions have any responsibility, if they should do something about it, what comes next is the slip: let’s leave the police and the judges to take care of the investigation and there is nothing more to talk about. If anything, a banner, but without going overboard. No demonstrations.
The PP is concerned that the condemnation of homophobia splashes Vox and calls into question its pacts with the extreme right in Madrid’s institutions. Hence the preemptive strike. Santiago Abascal’s party does not make it easy for him, because, as on other occasions, he takes advantage of these crimes to raise the flag of xenophobia. Javier Ortega Smith did it in an interview on TVE, which did not arouse any special reaction from the journalist who was interviewing him. For Vox, violence is always an opportunity to launch against immigrants, especially if they have darker skin.
Abascal was quick to condemn the aggression (“The brutal homophobic aggression fills me with rage that yesterday a young man suffered in the doorway of his house in Madrid “), but he also immediately said that the left silences these crimes” so as not to talk about the origin of the aggressors. “With this, he is installing the lie that if there were no Immigrants in Spain, there would be zero murders, zero rapes and zero homophobic assaults.In Spain, surely there were no crimes against people until ten or fifteen years ago.
Vox maintains that it is against discrimination against gays or lesbians. At the same time, he says that the “natural family” must be defended, understanding as such the one formed by a man and a woman. That is the first ground of discrimination from which everything else starts. By definition, everything that is not natural is unnatural or artificial, and from there to consider it a danger to society there is a very short distance. Those who hate the LGTBI community find in this argument the first reason to justify their attitude.
In Madrid, Rocío Monasterio has called the courses dedicated to diversity in sex education “indoctrination workshops”, suggesting that they are done to turn students into gays. He even asked the Madrid government to provide him with the names of the people who teach these courses as a way to intimidate them. Those of Vox like to speak of “gay lobby”, as if the LGTBI rights movement were a small group of privileged people who influence the shadow with the aim of attacking society.
LGTBI groups have denounced on numerous occasions that Vox’s attacks on the community legitimize the attacks by creating a kind of social impunity among a part of the population. Data from 2013 show that there has been an increase of hate crimes against minorities, in the case of those related to gender identity by 10% in 2019.
In the middle of Wednesday afternoon, it was learned that the young man who had made the complaint of the attack in Madrid finally acknowledged to the police that it had not occurred. The news had a strong impact on the media, which had dedicated articles and covers to the event. As sometimes happens, there are attacks on minorities that receive great political and journalistic attention compared to others that occur without anyone knowing. What is evident is that these attacks respond to a reality that is taking place in the face of which not all the civil rights laws or the great social support they receive are sufficient. In the last week, homophobic attacks have been reported in Melilla, Toledo, Valencia and Vitoria. Those who are afraid to go out at night or shake hands with their partner on the street know very well what they are exposed to.
Ana Vázquez Blanco, a PP deputy, took a few minutes to request the resignation of the Interior Minister and referred to the “over-acting of Marlaska”, who had criticized Vox for “playing to the limit” in terms of respect for diversity. Then he deleted it. Teodoro García Egea was later more astute and wrote the tweet in the form of a question to suggest that Marlaska might have known in the morning that the complaint was false. He had no proof of it, but what difference does it make.
For some, reports of homophobic assaults are a compelling reason to expose the harassment suffered by gays and lesbians. For the PP, they are one of those opportunities that cannot be missed in the daily business of settling accounts with the enemy.