A recent history of attacks against LGBTI people

A woman cries in front of a makeshift memorial to remember the victims of a mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., in New York, Sunday, June 12, 2016. Source: AP

Sunday's attack follows many other violent incidents around the world aimed at instilling fear and terror into LGBTI people.

Sunday’s attack on Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida has left 50 dead and 53 wounded, making it America’s deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11.

Speaking from the White House, US President Barack Obama said that while investigations were in their early stages, "we know enough to say this was an act of terror, and act of hate." 

While the scale of the casualties marks the attack as uniquely horrific, it’s not the first time LGBTI people have been victims of attacks intended to strike terror into the minority group.

In a United Nations report last year, the organisation noted that “violence motivated by homophobia and transphobia is often particularly brutal, and in some instances characterized by levels of cruelty exceeding that of other hate crimes.”

The UN said that thousands of hate-fueled attacks on LGBTI people have occurred around the world, including murders, rapes, torture, mutilation and terrorist attacks.

While the list is far from exhaustive, here’s a snapshot of some of the attacks on LGBTI people around the world over the last few years.

Assassinations, Bangladesh

In April this year, Bangladesh made international headlines after the assassination of prominent gay rights activist Xulhaz Mannan and associate Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy. The pair were hacked to death with machetes in a flat in Dhaka.

The murders came during a wave of similarly violent slayings of secular bloggers and members of religious minorities. Other prominent LGBTI advocates have also been threatened in the South Asian country.

IS executions, Iraq and Syria

In February 2015, ISIS released photos of men being pushed off buildings to their deaths, claiming the victims were being punished for their homosexuality. The group has also circulated videos of stonings and executions at gunpoint for those accused of homosexuality.

Bashing wave, Russia

Since the passing of a Russian anti-LGBTI law in 2013, rights groups say there has been an increased level of violence and harassment against LGBTI people. Authorities are frequently accused of failing to respond, even while directly witnessing attacks.

“Violence experienced by LGBT people in Russia is unmistakably motivated by homophobia, but the authorities deliberately ignore that these are hate crimes and fail to protect victims,” Tanya Cooper from Human Rights watch said.

Groups of attackers are known to use gay dating apps to get in touch with men, humiliating or beating them, then uploading videos of the attacks to the internet. In March this year, Russian journalist and theatre critic Dmitry Tsilikin was stabbed to death by a Nazi sympathiser.

Russia’s largest gay club, Central Station, shut down in 2014 after a series of violent attacks including gunfire and toxic gas.

Regular attacks, Kenya and Uganda

In recent years, international and domestic media has reported numerous violent attacks on LGBTI people in Kenya. Victims have been assaulted with hammers, had their throats slashed with machetes, been thrown out of moving cars, or been victims of public stripping and “corrective rape.”

Religious leaders, media personalities and politicians all play a part in inciting anti-gay violence, rights groups have said, and it’s not unusual for perpetrators to be family members. The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya reported a 2012 case in which a woman committed suicide “after her parents had held her hostage and had organized to have an older male family member rape her repeatedly in an effort to impregnate her and 'cure' her.”

Arson attack, Seattle USA

While a 2015 arson attack on Neighbours nightclub in Seattle caused only a small fire – extinguished before it could cause any significant damage – it was the third attempted attack on the club.

In 2013 a Libyan immigrant tried to burn down the club during its New Year’s Eve party. Three members of the neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations also attempted to bomb the nightclub in 1990. They were foiled by the FBI before they could carry out the attack. 

Mob beating, Morocco

Human Rights Watch reported that in June 2015, a mob attacked a gay man after he was thrown out of a taxi as the driver shouted ‘khanit’, a derogatory word for a gay man.

The spontaneous crowd surrounded the man, throwing punches and yelling at him, then kicking him to the ground. Footage of the attack shows him being chased after standing back up and attempting to flee. 

Gay Pride Stabbing, Israel

In July 2015 Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Israeli, stabbed six people at the Jerusalem Gay Pride march. A 16-year-old girl later died from her injuries. The stabbings were a repeat offence for Schlissel, who carried out a similar attack in 2005.

Nazi attack, Chile

In 2012 Daniel Zamudio was tortured and murdered by a group of four Nazi sympathisers in Santiago, Chile. They broke the man’s legs with a rock, bashed him with bottles and carved swastikas into his body with the broken glass.

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