France plummets in LGBT-friendliness rankings after homophobic attacks

The spike in attacks on homosexuals in France over the past year has led to the country dropping a whopping 11 places in just a year in an annual gay travel index.

France plummets in LGBT-friendliness rankings after homophobic attacks
"Homophobia kills": People rally in support of same-sex marriage during a counter-demonstration of a march against gay marriage on November 17, 2012 in Toulouse. Photo: AFP

The Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2019 puts France in 17th place, down from sixth place a year ago.

Canada, Portugal, and Sweden are the friendliest countries for LGBT travellers and they took joint first place in the latest edition of the guide.

Thirteen countries, most of them in Europe, tied for fourth place.

The reasons for France's dramatic fall were a rise in homophobic attacks and the postponement of parliamentary debates on bioethics laws, notably on assisted procreation, which is currently limited in France to heterosexual couples.

READ ALSO: Paris left shocked by another homophobic attack

The Spartacus index ranked 197 countries based on 14 criteria, including anti-discrimination laws, marriage and civil partnership laws, adoption laws, transgender rights and persecution.

The United States dropped from 39th place to 47th.

Chechnya was ranked last of the 197 countries listed by the Berlin-based Spartacus guide, which provides tips for gay travellers on its website and mobile app.

Last autumn in particular saw a spike homophobic attacks in just a few weeks in the French capital.
The assaults gained a lot of media coverage in France partly because some of the victims decided to share their experience with a photograph of their injuries on social media.
On October 6th, a homophobic assault took place in the capital's 19th arrondissement when two men were violently attacked by two people because they were kissing, with each suffering injuries to the ribs and face.
Then on October 8th, two young women were beaten up in public for the same reason and on October 13th a man was attacked in the 15th arrondissement for wearing make-up.

Paris police however said at the time that since the beginning of 2018 there had actually been a decrease in homophobic attacks compared to the same period the year before.
But gay rights groups advised caution when looking at the official figures. 
“We must be careful with the figures because a number of victims of homophobic acts do not go to the police,” said the president of gay rights charity SOS Homophobie Joel Deumier. 

Member comments

  1. I know from experience that homophobia is often a defence against the fear of homosexual feelings in the perpetrator as well as the need to pick scapegoats. I have met a number of ‘gay bashers’ who through growing up and other circumstances were forced to confront and accept their homosexual feelings. As a general rule those confident in their sexual identity, though feeling uneasy about displays of homosexuality do not feel threatened and therefor do not need to assault those who are different. There are, of course, many other reasons why unbalanced and deprived people will chose to pick on homosexuals

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‘Not football’s job’ to combat homophobia: French football chief

The head of French football has pulled away from a hardline stance against homophobic chanting and banners in stadiums on Friday, saying that "too many matches" have been stopped due to anti-gay abuse.

'Not football's job' to combat homophobia: French football chief

Noel Le Graet, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), said that the FFF would not instruct referees to stop matches except in cases when a “whole stadium” was guilty of homophobic chanting.

“I think we're stopping too many matches! That makes certain government ministers happy, but it bothers me. Football can't be taken hostage by vulgarity,” said Le Graet in an interview with newspaper Ouest-France.

Several matches have been temporarily halted in France this season after the French football League (LFP) introduced over the summer plans to tackle fan homophobia during matches, including allowing referees to stop games.

“Matches have been stopped when they shouldn't have been,” Le Graet continued.

“We will stop them if there is consistent homophobic abuse from the whole ground, but if among 30,000 people there are 2,000 imbeciles I don't see why the other 28,000 should be punished.”

Le Graet referred to France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who in April launched the appeal for matches to be stopped in the event of homophobic abuse, and equalities minister Marlene Schiappa.

Schiappa publicly praised referee Clement Turpin after he stopped Marseille's 2-1 win at Nice for over 10 minutes last month following sustained abusive chanting and banners from home fans, but Le Graet insisted that it wasn't football's job to combat homophobia.

Paris Saint-Germain's match at Metz two days later was also briefly halted for a banner unfurled by the hosts' supporters asking the French league (LFP) to allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.

“Did football invent homophobia? You can be a know-it-all when you have got much to say. But there are more important political issues,” he said.

“This crisis will resolve itself. We will work with club presidents, people who don't stick their oar in every morning, who don't want to just look good in front of the television cameras.”