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Homophobic Hate Crime in Northern Ireland (From Hate Crime: Concepts, Policy, Future Directions, P 78-98, 2010, Neil Chakraborti, ed. - See NCJ-232732)

NCJ Number
Marian Duggan
Date Published
21 pages
This chapter highlights some of the culturally relevant issues surrounding homophobic hate crime in Northern Ireland.
Discussions about hate crime in Northern Ireland have increased as a result of numerous racist attacks on members of the Roma community. Politicians are quick to condemn such violence and the motivations of the attackers; however, the same response has not followed similar attacks on victims whose sexual orientation is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). This suggests that homophobic prejudices in Northern Ireland are not viewed with the same alarm and disgust as racial, religious, or sectarian forms of discrimination. Unopposed statements, even by politicians, that continue to portray lesbian women and gay men as engaging in deviant and offensive lifestyle choices negates their being on an equal status as victims with other groups included in hate crime laws in Northern Ireland. This perspective has implications for legislators and criminal justice professionals who either enact or enforce Northern Ireland's laws. The mixed messages currently being communicated - that lesbians and gays are targets of hate yet are complicit in their own victimization - indicates that the focus on whether or not homosexuality is morally acceptable under "God's law" continues to fuel debates about whether sexual orientation that departs from the norm warrants equal protection under hate-crime law. Until the leaders and populace of Northern Ireland commit to a rejection of inflammatory statements against homosexuality and the prejudice that fuels attacks on homosexual victims, it is doubtful whether homosexuals will increase their reporting of such crimes or that law enforcement personnel will strictly enforce hate crime law when homosexual victims are involved. 6 notes and 50 references


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