Heightened concerns for the LGBT community

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The massacre that occurred at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida this past week left 49 dead and 52 wounded—the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Despite the fact that European gun control laws make it illegal for residents to obtain an assault rifle, other concerns have been brought to the forefront for the LGBT community, says DW.

LGBT pride

An “unspoken fear” for LGBT members

In Germany, Marcel de Groot, the director of the Gay Counseling Center in Berlin says:

“A lot of people have an unspoken fear of this kind of attack. It has always been in the background but now it is more in the forefront.”

Berlin is one of the most “safe” places in Germany for the LGBT community, but de Groot says there has been an increased concern over safety as the far-right movement in Germany grows. With the massacre early Sunday morning, worries have only heightened.

Bastian Finke, a project manager at Maneo, an organization that tracks hate-based attacks and abuses against the LGBT community in Berlin say that statistically, Berlin is relatively safe.

In 2015, there were “259 homophobic incidents” reported in Berlin, a city of 3.5 million. 64 were physical attacks. Another 52 were very serious verbal attacks—often in reference to the Holocaust or genocide—such as, “You dirty pig, they have forgotten to gas you,” says Finke.

Statistics may be deceiving, however

Even though the number of assaults is very small compared to Berlin’s population, the figures should be viewed with caution. There are a significant amount of incidents that go unreported, so concerns for the LGBT community are somewhat higher than what the reported figures infer.

What Finke finds more concerning, however, is that Maneo is the only non-governmental agency in Germany, tracking such crimes. And, they are only doing this in Berlin, one of the safest places for LGBT members.

De Groot agrees with the troubling situation, where assaults are a more prominent issue outside of Berlin, and there is less monitoring.

“We’re happy to have the city government’s support, but we know Berlin is only a small island in a big German ocean.”

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