“There has been a murder, hell, let’s say it. Several media denying that it was due to homophobia, false news telling that they have been foreigners … It is not normal”, reflects Juan Pedro, owner of the Piscis bar (Murcia) . A week has passed since Samuel, a 24-year-old young man, was killed shouting “fag” in A Coruña. For those who run or work in LGTBI premises, that a homophobic aggression ends the life of a person was “a matter of time”: “Samuel always happens and has happened to us, what surprises me is that it does not stop happening” laments Juan Pedro.
According to the Hate Crimes portal of the Ministry of the Interior, since 2000 eight people have been murdered because of their sexual orientation. Hate crimes against the group have increased by 8.6 percent compared to last year: of the total of hate crimes, those perpetrated against the LGTBI group are the third most numerous with 16.3 percent, advanced only by the motivated by racism (30.2) and ideology (34.9).
“It’s something we have to live with on a daily basis,” says Jonathan, who works at Pisces as an artist and bartender. “We have always had incidents. Many times I am at the door and sometimes people stop to take pictures saying: look, the fag bar, and doing the comb”, he says.
“They have painted us, especially this year that we have had the place closed: calling us fags, or painting swastikas and Vox. I haven’t even removed them, it is useless because they are going to do more,” Juan Pedro resigned.
According to Jonathan, sometimes intolerant people have unloaded their homophobia in physical aggressions: “Once they hit a girl: she went with her parents to a party and went out to smoke for a moment. A straight girl. Because she was at the door of Pisces” , Jonathan says.
“Homosexuality has never been normalized”
“El Piscis opened 41 years ago as a gay cafe bar. At first the door faced the Plaza Santo Domingo, so people did not enter much. We moved the door to the alley so that people could enter discreetly. There was fear of the What will they say. In the 80s I even had to jump over the wall of a nightclub on the Alicante road because the grays were coming. It was quite strong, “recalls Juan Pedro.
“In the 90s people seemed more open, I imagine it was because of the Transition”, says Luisa, owner of Café Mariantonietta and former owner of the late Maricoco, one of the first bars to be open with a friendly atmosphere. “I remember moments in which we have not even had problems,” continues Juan Pedro, “but when we gained rights by legalizing homosexual marriages, people started again with homophobia.”
“There was a time when we had up to five friendly venues in the Santa Eulalia neighborhood. People came from Alicante, Madrid, Andalusia. There was a LGTBI boom here in the Region. There have always been intolerant people, but it wasn’t so noticeable. Now we feel more radicalism in a sector that is perhaps smaller than we think, but that is an expert in creating fear “, Luisa emphasizes.
All those interviewed find the same culprit for the increase in hatred towards the LGTBI collective: the far-right party Vox. “We clearly see an escalation of hatred when Vox started. It is making some impressive attacks. They say that gays should not adopt children, and that if there is one with special needs that nobody wants, we can keep it,” denounces the owner of Pisces.
Last Friday, Vox presented an administrative contentious appeal for the placement of the LGTBI flag on the facade of the Murcian City Council of Torre Pacheco, whose local government has already withdrawn it. The spokesman for the far-right party, Francisco Garre, has relied on a Supreme Court ruling that “prohibits the installation of unofficial flags in public places.”
“Four years ago we had an attack in full Pride. We had permission to do the parade and at the same time the Murcia City Council gave permission to a concentration of fascists. All full of kids with shaved hair who ended up attacking us. There were people that she left there crippled “, assures Juan Pedro.
Luisa insists that “retrogrades are a minority”: “I would not give them much publicity, most people are tolerant. When negative news occurs, you have to give double the positive news.” “I have been fighting against intolerance since I opened Maricoco, now we have integrated into the neighborhood with the Santa Eulalia neighborhood association. We want it to be a model of coexistence between ideas, races, orientation, etc. Instead of winning, we want convince, “he defends.
Jonathan remembers that the local clientele is not just LGTBI: “I do the shows on Sundays and the audience I have the most is straight. There have been straight clients who have tried to defend us. People who go to Pisces have a good time, so when they attack us they cannot help but be outraged. ”