First nationwide survey on homophobia and sexism


The first-ever national survey on homophobia, transphobia and sexism has been launched by the Brussels-Capital Region

Brussels' equal opportunities office launches first-ever survey of its kind

The first-ever national survey on homophobia, transphobia and sexism has been launched by Bruno De Lille, secretary of state for equal opportunities of the Brussels-Capital Region. Partners collaborating for the survey are the Centre for Equal Rights and the Fight Against Racism and the Institute for Equality Between Women and Men. The study is being carried out by the University of Antwerp.

The online survey, which will run until 7 December, will assess attitudes regarding equality between the sexes and for members of the LGBT community. Part of the survey specifically concerns the situation in Brussels.

Homophobic violence has proven difficult to eradicate in both Brussels and Flanders. Last year the federal government, following a number of highly publicised attacks, including one on the Flemish radio presenter Sven Pichal and the country’s first-ever homophobic murder, introduced a national action plan. The plan included, among other provisions, training for the police in dealing with complaints of anti-gay violence.

In 2012, the number of homophobic attacks reported to police was 157, compared to 87 in 2011. The true number, however, is likely to be much higher, as many victims do not report attacks to the police or communicate that homophobia might be a motive. Police in Brussels wrote out administrative fines for homophobic aggression short of physical violence 1,519 times in 2012 – equivalent to four a day.

“There remains a social stigma on gays and transgenders, kept in place by existing power relations and social structures,” said De Lille, who is gay himself. “If we know which factors lie at the basis of this sort of stereotypical thinking, policymaking can be more targeted and more efficient. This study is of major importance.”

The survey is open to everyone aged 16 and over, is available in in Dutch, English and French, takes about 25 minutes to complete and is confidential.