From January to June 2023, there were 154 cases of discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community in Venezuela

  • During the 2023 first semester, hostility towards LGBTQI+ people has continued. 56 cases of discrimination and violence took place in June, pride month, which was the highest of the reports. Discriminatory incidents and hate speech set the studied violence pattern by the OVV LGBTIQ+

The Observatorio Venezolano de Violencias LGBTIQ+ (OVV LGBTIQ+), also known as The Observatory, filed a complaint on Thursday, November 2022. The complaint stated that from January to June 2023, there were 154 cases of discrimination against the LGBTIQ+ population. The report “Voces contra el prejuicio” highlights the consistency of a hostile context towards LGBTQI+ people in Venezuela.

According to the data provided by the OVV LGBTIQ+, of the total cases, 87 were against individuals, 64 to collectivities, and 3 were mixed cases. The documented situations show that 73 cases were discriminatory incidents, 65 of hate speech, 11 bias crimes, 3 of self-harm or suicides, and 2 of extreme violence.

The Observatory reported cases with 215 perpetrators and 151 victims. Adults aged 27-59 most often reflect the major frequency of discrimination and violence based on prejudice, followed by young adults aged 19-26. Cis men with non-conforming sexual orientations and trans women were the most affected groups.

Glorielys Perez, coordinator of Research at the OVV LGBTIQ+, said that the fact of being or being seen as part of the LGBTIQ+ population makes these people vulnerable to being mistreated or despised. The free development of personality, access to common or public spaces becomes extremely difficult for LGBTIQ+ people. Because of how they present themselves or are seen, this population is at risk of discrimination.


Read the latest news from the OVV LGBTIQ+

The month with the highest discrimination towards the LGBTIQ+ population was June

June had 56 cases, March had 24 cases, April had 22 cases, and May had 22 cases. These were the months with the most incidents of discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ+ people in the country. The OVV LGBTIQ+ recorded events that happened on social media (47 cases), as well as in the Capital District (40 cases), Miranda (19 cases), Carabobo (8 cases), Zulia (7 cases), and Anzoategui (4 cases).

During the first half of the year, most of the discriminatory incidents were caused by civilians (26 cases), government officials (15 cases), and private security at businesses (10 cases). People in positions of power expressed hate speech towards the LGBTIQ+ community (34 cases).

Hate speech is a form of violence. It can create stories or messages that support other types of violence against LGBTIQ+ individuals. It exists in various places like the media, schools, and public community areas. Often, it leads to real actions. These stories aim to affect political spaces and representation, to stop laws that protect LGBTIQ+ rights from being passed, as stated by Perez.

Jeffrey Rodriguez, a lawyer and coordinator of the Psicolegal Unity of Attention, invited the LGBTIQ+ community and their allies to join in documentation processes and case management. He emphasized the importance of providing training to those involved, not only to those who have experienced violence but also to those who want to offer support.

The lawyer said that they call the close family members and friends of the victims to support and help with discrimination complaints. It’s important to educate ourselves about discrimination and LGBTIQ+ people.

Foto: referencial.

Get to know the Psycholegal Care Unit of the OVV LGBTIQ+

The importance of mental health attention in violent situations

Additionally, the data presented in the report shows that the LGBTIQ+ community affected by these discriminatory incidents and violence experienced various negative effects. These effects include fear, stress, anxiety, and psychological shock in 23 cases. They also include feelings of guilt, uselessness, and helplessness in 23 cases, as well as serious injuries in 3 cases. Furthermore, there were also 3 cases of individuals feeling socially excluded or isolated.

Sometimes, affected people showed self-harm, sleep disorders, low self-esteem, and insecurity. Khinverly Marrero, a psychologist at the OVVV LGBTIQ+, emphasized the importance of safe spaces for LGBTIQ+ individuals. In these spaces, they can share experiences and receive support.

As an LGBTIQ+ person in a hostile context like Venezuela, life can be complex. Marrero emphasizes the need to practice self-care in all aspects – physical, emotional, spiritual, and social – to maintain mental and physical health. This can involve activities like reading a book, meeting friends, or watching a movie.

According to Perez, legal assistance was no longer required in 10 cases of discrimination, and psychological and legal assistance was no longer required in 5 cases. In 75.56% of the cases, there is a strong need to inform, report, or denounce these discriminatory incidents. However, these reports or denouncements often occur publicly on social media.

The Observatory has launched initiatives to provide safe spaces for the LGBTIQ+ community. These include the Psicolegal Attention Unity and virtual support groups in major cities across the country.


Download OVV LGBTIQ+ reports and bulletins

The LGBTIQ+ population speaks up against discrimination

The OVV LGBTIQ+ is driven by the defense of human rights. It calls on the State to meet the needs of the LGBTIQ+ population in the country and take action to eliminate violence and discrimination against this vulnerable group.

Jeffrey Rodriguez said that the State needs laws and policies for the LGBTIQ+ community. The State should have ongoing education and awareness about human rights, LGBTIQ+ individuals, and non-discrimination for all government representatives. There should be systems in place to make it safe for LGBTIQ+ individuals to report incidents and provide evidence. It is also necessary to allocate resources for the full recovery of LGBTIQ+ survivors of violence, so they can access legal, psychological, psychiatric, and healthcare services.

The lawyer said that in a pre-election year, politicians are developing their electoral agenda for the campaigns in 2024 and 2025. He acknowledges that politicians may consider the LGBTIQ+ population, but not necessarily in a positive way. For instance, religious organizations, conservatives, or fundamentalist parties oppose initiatives and exclude LGBTIQ+ people from decision-making.

Rodriguez said that, based on their records, political parties and actors who support the government and form the opposition have taken action against LGBTIQ+ rights. These actions include hate speech fueled by prejudice and public actions. LGBTIQ+ individuals face threats from these political groups, who aim to gain power next year.

The OVV LGBTQI+ provides channels for reporting and psychological support services for cases of violence against LGBTIQ+ individuals. You can reach them through their website nomasdiscriminacion.org, email denuncia@nomasdiscriminacion.org, WhatsApp, Telegram (0424-2061493, 0412-5750503), and social media (@OVVLGBTIQ on Twitter and @nomasdiscriminación on Instagram).

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