Summary 2022

The aim of the Berlin Monitoring of Trans and Homophobic Violence is to improve the recording and documentation of anti-LSBTIQ* violence, sensitise urban society to it, and empower victims. This second edition provides an update on, and a continuation of, reporting based on official and particularly police statistics on the one hand, while on the other hand the previous range of themes has been expanded to include transphobic violence as a focus topic, with perspectives from Berlin’s anti-violence and victim-support pracitioners an integral part of the description.

  • The on-going evaluation of police statistics on politically motivated crime and violence against sexual orientation and/or gender identity is updated in this current edition and continued into 2021.
  • Six profiles of individual organisations give perspectives from acknowledged specialist counselling centres and documentation points for trans and homophobic violence in Berlin – with statistical information from the services also documented.
  • The focus on transphobic violence is based on a standardised online survey among victims of transphobic violence and those at risk of becoming victims, and on numerous one-to-one interviews. In addition to people from self and community organisations, numerous trans* people were asked in biographical interviews about their perception of safety in the city, their experiences of transphobic violence and how they deal with violence.

The thematic focus on transphobia is supported by a series of guest contributions on the folllowing topcis: an appropriate definition of violence, trans* persons‘ legal position, the requirements of trans* allyship, and an assessment of the support landscape available to trans* persons exposed to violence. The thematic focus also includes, for the first time, a special analysis of data specific to transphobic discrimination and violence from the latest LGBTI survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. An overview of Berlin-based agencies tackling trans and homophobic violence is provided as an extra service in the annex to this report.

Trans and homophobic violence in official statistics
Trans and homophobic violence from the perspective of civil society and victim support organisations


Biographical experience and combating transphobic violence
Proliferation and unreporting of transphobic violence in Berlin: results from a standardised victim survey
Transphobia in Germany: special analysis of the LGBTI survey conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights

Trans and homophobic violence in official statistics
The number of anti-LGBTIQ* crimes recorded by police continues to increase in Berlin. In recent years, the modalities of recording have become more precise and differentiated.
  • The number of anti-LGBTIQ* crimes recorded by police in Berlin since 2014 is continuing to increase: 377 crimes were recorded in 2020 and as many as 456 in 2021.
  • Insults continue to be the most frequent offence reported, their number increasing in recent years.
  • The classification of anti-LGBTIQ* crimes as extremist criminality, which has been the case since 2019, and making up the majority of cases in 2021, points to a paradigm shift in the way police are evaluating the problem.
Anti-LGBTIQ* crimes are reported particularly in regions where queer life is visible and open.
  • Transphobic and homophobic crimes in Berlin continue to reveal geographical concentrations in locations where LGBTIQ* live and people go out.
  • The years 2019, 2020 and 2021 show a reduction in the district of Tempelhof-Schöneberg’s significance as a crime scene while Neukölln’s significance has increased.
  • As far as Berlin’s districts are concerned, there are overlaps with those exposed to particular pressures with most of the crimes in 2020 and 2021 being recorded in Kreuzberg and Mitte.
  • Particularly Neukölln but also Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg show high shares of actual and grievous bodily harm.
  • Concurrent with pandemic-related contact restrictions, a massive increase in the share of crimes involving no direct physical contact (online, telephone, post) can be discerned after 2020 onwards. One can assume that, during this time, the significance of digital space in particular has again increased considerably.
The times of anti-LGBTIQ* crimes overlap with people going out in public space – in the spring and summer, at the weekend and in the evening.
  • The majority of crimes relating to sexual orientationi and gender/sexual identity were reported in the spring and summer, in the months from May to August (46% of the offences).
  • Transphobic and homophobic crimes continue to be recorded particularly at weekends, although in 2020 and 2021 there was a clear drop in cases on Sundays.
  • More than one-half of all incidents (51.4%) take place in the evening and at night (from 6pm to 6am), although there was a shift to midday and the early evening (from 12pm to 6pm) in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the pandemic.
The suspects identified in anti-LGBTIQ* crimes are almost exclusively male, regularly young and conspicuous, and often already known to police – they operate both alone and in groups.
  • Suspects could be identified in just under one-half of all incidents (44.3%) in the period from 2010 to 2021. The vast majority are male. The share of male suspects is on average 90% between 2010 and 2021.
  • • Transphobic and homophobic incidents can be traced back to suspects in all age groups, although most are young. The share of suspects aged under 20 has increased in recent years and is well above the average for the period from 2019 to 2021.
  • Three-quarters of the identified suspects were already previously known to police (75.9%).
  • Most transphobic and homophobe crimes (56%) are commited by suspects acting alone. Violent crimes are perpetrated to a greater extent by groups, the share of cases involving several suspects being far higher here.
  • The suspects identified live predominantly in the inner city districts of Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Tempelhof-Schöneberg, which also particularly stand out as crime scenes.
Most anti-LGBTIQ* assaults are committed against people out on their own. The share of lesbian, bisexual and queer women being harmed has risen recently in line with increased visibility while male* victims are harmed to a greater extent by violent crimes.
  • The share of women harmed by anti-LGBTIQ* violence has increased markedly compared with the years before 2019. In addition to an increased willingness to report incidents to the police, this presumably reflects the activities of anti-violence projects for lesbian, bisexual and queer women as well as efforts made towards increased lesbian visibility.
  • It has been possible since 2019 to enter the gender “diverse“ in the German CID’s KPMD-PMK system for registering politically motivated crimes. Statistical statements on these cases are unreliable, however, as the number is currently still low.
  • The majority of those harmed by transphobic and homophobic hate crime were randomly selected, so without there being any prior acquaintance, for example.
  • Almost three-quarters of assaults target an individual person (lowest value in 2019: 64.5%; highest value: 76.2% in 2017).
  • The share of violent crimes among anti-LGBTIQ* offences is markedly higher among male* compared to female* victims (37.7% and 29.8% respectively).
  • The average age of victims, 36 years, is higher than that of the suspects. On a percentage basis, 20 to 30-year-olds represent the most frequent age group.
  • The previously combined sub-themes “Gender/sexual orientation“ and “Gender/sexual identity” have been differentiated in the police’s classification of cases since 2020. This allows for a comparison of transphobic acts and offences against sexual orientation in 2020 and 2021, at least as far as the trend is concerned.
  • The cases registered by police confirm the findings of previous studies that transphobic crimes are often particularly violent. For cases classified under the sub-theme “Gender/sexual identity”, the share of violent offences is 31.6%, 10 percentage points above the share for cases classified only under the sub-theme “sexual orientation”. Actual bodily harm and particularly grievous bodily harm make up a comparatively far higher share.
The public prosecutor’s office in Berlin has been recording proceedings against anti-LGBTIQ crimes as standard procedure since July 2018. The number of these proceedings is growing continuously with due settlement turning out very differently. In proceedings where the suspects were known, an order for summary punishment was filed in 15% of the proceedings and formal charges pressed in 13% of them.
  • Since July 2018, the public prosecutor’s office has been recording proceedings relating to anti- LGBTIQ* cimes statistically under the “Crime motivated by bias against sexual orientation“ class of anciliary proceedings in the METSA system (automation of prosecution in several German states).
  • The number of proceedings recorded per year has been increasing continuously since 2018. There was a total of 1,883 proceedings up to and including 2021, 646 of them in 2021.
  • Most of the proceedings relate to insults but there are also significant numbers involving actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm, and threat.
  • In the proceedings recorded, the vast majority of the accused (82%) and the victims (74%) are male.
  • Most of the proceedings in which no suspects could be identified were terminated. 40% of the proceedings in which suspects were known were terminated and 17 % were transferred, either within the public prosecution service or to other authorities. Penalty orders were applied for in 15% of these proceediungs, 13% were linked to other proceedings and the public prosecutor brought charges in 13% of them.
Trans and homophobic violence from the perspective of civil society and victim support organisations
Counselling services and documentation agencies work with a broad definition of violence and, in addition to physical assaults, also observe a range of other manifestations of violence. Our look at the topic also includes the impressions emerging from individual cases: every anti-LGBTIQ* incident is a separate occurrence, taking place in subjective contetxts. The number of cases going unreported is estimated to remain high while qualitative changes and shifts in violent incidents have been noted within the context of the pandemic.
  • The agencies‘ and projects‘ understanding of violence not only differs from the categorisation used by the police, as there are also differences among the agencies themselves.
  • All the projects work with a broader definition of violence and, in addition to interpersonal physical violence, also include other phenomena, such as forms of verbal, psychological, symbolic and structural violence to which LGBTIQ* people are exposed.
  • There is broad agreement among the services and facilities that, despite their activities, there are still many cases of anti-LGBTIQ* violence going unreported to police.
  • The projects are aware of current developments, often relating to the course of the pandemic.
  • The number of offences in public urban space, for example in going-out contexts or in connection with LGBTIQ*-related events, has recently dropped slightly. Abuse is increasingly taking place in virtual spaces and increased pressure has also been identified in familial and household contexts.
  • Several projects are recording an increased number of transphobic acts, which is being put down in part to the transphobic patterns of argumentation in the social debate on the abolition of Germany’s Transsexual Law.
Civil society actors have without exception developed their own procedures for documentating anti-LGBTIQ* attacks – also alongside the priority task of providing counselling and support. These procedures currently differ from each other markedly, hence a need for co-ordination with a view to bringing them together.
  • The services and facilities work with different procedures for registering, documenting and evaluating data on acts of violence committed against LGBTIQ* people.
  • Those that operate as anti-violence projects with a work focus on victim counselling and support record and document incidents as part of their counselling work. They also use other recording and documentation methods, e.g. via targeted outreach work, incident report sheets laid out at meeting points, or telephone hotlines and online questionnaires.
  • Berlin‘s registration agencies focus wholly on recording incidents. In addition to receiving reports from victims and witnesses, they also conduct their own searches for crimes, for example in the media or other sections of the public.
  • All the services and facilities use their own registration sheets to record the incident-related data. Different priorities are set and the categories diverge to such an extent that it is currently difficult to amalgamate the data and conduct an aggregated analysis of it.
  • New perspectives for a standardised registration of violent incidents are emerging with Berlin’s anti-discrimination AnDi app where incidents of discrimination can be reported directly and appropriate counselling and support services can be found easily.
In addition to counselling and support work, the projects also make a significant contribution to generating awareness in urban society of the problem of anti-LGBTIQ* violence.
  • The projects are creating awareness of anti-LGBTIQ* violence in the media, the public and city society. While some agencies and projects use the data particularly for their activity reports, others publicise evaluations in press releases or public reports.
  • It is currently an open question whether, and how, civil society services can share anonymised data with public prosecution authorities in the future. In the past, a routine exchange made it possible to co-ordinate case registration as well as prevention activities. This practice is currently being called into question due to data protection aspects.
The agencies and projects support the intention to expand civil society documentation of anti-LGBTIQ* violence and see in this specific requirements. In addition to human resources, further steps will also require the relevant specialist expertise.
  • All the agencies and projects see the potential and need to expand and develop their documentation work. In addition to the human resources needed to record and evaluate case reports, additional competences are needed to improve the collectiton, statistical analysis and visualisaton of data, for example.
  • As a result of the extensive tasks involved in counselling, victim support and violence prevention work, it is not easy, particularly for the anti-violence projects, to prioritise registration and documentation in a way that would be necessary to strengthen civil society pillars in the reporting of anti-LGBTIQ* violence and supplement the police’s picture of the situation in an optimal way.
  • Closer co-ordination and co-operation among Berlin’s agencies and projects could help to levy the potential for civil society documentation better in the future, share tasks and bundle expertise.

The focus topic reports on trans* persons’ experiences of violence, the consequences of such experiences, and ways of dealing and coping with them. In the spectrum of LGBTIQ* people, trans* persons are again being heavily exposed to violence. Trans* persons also experience a specific form of violence and in a particularly high number of contexts and situations. The focus adopts various angles to look at what is an omnipresent phenomenon for victims. Individual and biographical experiences are documented based on a total of 19 qualitative interviews with Berlin-based experts and victims. A standardised victims survey with 141 participants provides information on the forms and spread of transphobic violence in Berlin. A special analysis of the LGBTI survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights involving a total of 137,508 participants, including 16,119 from Germany and of these 2.815 trans* persons from Germany, opens up perspectives for international comparisons and positions the experience of violence among trans* persons comparatively in the LGBTIQ* spectrum. In addition, four guest contributions discuss overarching aspects of transphobic violence in a compact format.

Biographical experience and combating transphobic violence
Experiences of transphobic violence
  • It is impossible to understand transphobic violence with a narrow concept of violence. In addition to physical and verbal acts of violence, symbolic and normative violence is also assuming considerable significance in the sense of a devaluation or non-recognition of gender identity.
  • Victims mostly describe violence and discrimination as an omnipresent and integral part of being trans. Transphobic violence is ubiquitous and normalised. Victims are persistently required to deal with transphobic violence. There is broad concensus among interviewees that this situation is extremely demanding and stressful.
  • Male trans* persons report that mysogynist abuse decreases the sooner they are seen as male but that there is sometimes more abuse with homophobic components.
  • The interviewees attribute a considerably higher degree of victimhood to female trans* persons because they are often particularly visibly identifiable as trans*. Likewise, non-binary people experience violence particularly frequently precisely when they are difficult to categorise in binary images of gender.
  • Victims of multiple discrimination experience violence particularly frequently. Issues discussed include the almost ubiquitous overlap of sexism and transphobia, the particular experience of violence among people exposed to transphobia and racism, and the correlations between classism and transphobia. In the latter case, both factors are mutually dependant on each other, for example if trans* persons are living in precarious social conditions due to exclusions in education and professional life.
Locations and contexts of transphobic violence
  • Many interviewees consider public space to be a place of permanent threat. This is particularly associated with thoroughfares, public transport and around stations/stops, as well as places where they go out.
  • The various forms of public transport have a particular position in the context of threat. Crucial aspects being the relative physical proximity to others, the fleeting nature of encounters, the spatial circumstances and the lack of escape routes.
  • One’s own flat or home is particularly important as a safe space and retreat. An actual threat or violent assault at home is often experienced as very stressful.
  • Transphobic violence in relationships has a particular role to play in the context of coming out as trans*. In shared housing situations, victims are confronted with the challenge of not having their own safe space to retreat to.
  • Many interviewees told of transphobic violence in their family of origin. Numerous victims also describe how familial rejection of their trans identity has had a deep-seatetd, long-term impact on them, even after a possibly separating from their family of origin.
  • In the health service, the frequent lack of sensitisation and professionalisation with regard to transgenderism often results in experiences of violence, e.g. if medicinal assistance is refused, victims are persistently misgendered, or transgenderism is pathologised by psychotherapists.
  • Victims often attribute to the police a lack of sensibitisation and professionalisation that can lead to violent situations, for example when carrying out checks on persons.
  • There are frequent reports of being exposed to transphobic violence when in contact with authorities and this often leads to a particular feeling of being at the mercy of a state that provides insufficient protection and support.
  • There are comparatively few reports in the interviews of violent experiences in the workplace. The complex challenges trans* persons face in everyday life lead to disadvantages in their employment biographies, however, and as a consequence trans* persons are more heavily affected by precarious living conditions.
Forms of transphobic violence
  • There are frequent descriptions of transphobic insults, threats and targeted intimidation. The interviewees see this abuse as a sanctioning of their transgender divergence from a hegemonic binary gender order. Perpetrators often see themselves as legitimate defenders of this order and feel secure in this, or that they are in the right.
  • Physical assaults are also repeatedly reported in the interviews, and conspicuously often on public transport. The interviewees also talk about cases of persecution and stalking.
  • They also highlight many cases of sexualised violence – predominantly in public space, either on the street or public transport. A general sexualisation of transgenderism or a sexualised perception of trans* persons appear to be widespread among perpetrators, leading to a reduced inhibition threshold among those who commit sexualised assaults.
  • Many of the trans* persons interviewed state that that have regelularly been misgendered, i.e. addressed in a way that does not match their gender identity.
Dealing with transphobic violence
  • Self-assertion, self-empowerment and activism strategies play a central role in dealing with transphobic violence. Many interviewees are politically and socially active (often, but not exclusively, regarding the concerns of trans* people), others describe how they set boundaries and a few learn martial arts and self-defence.
  • Another way of dealing with it involves making transphobic violence visible, for example by reporting it to the police, notifying a civic society reporting point or publicising it, e.g. on social media.
  • Many interviewees describe how, depending on the situation and context, they consider how visibly indentifiable they are as trans, so for example the clothing they wear in public space. This also means that victims weigh up the pros and cons of the need to be visibly themselves on the one hand, and the risk of violence on the other.
  • In addition, many interviewees avoid certain spaces, for example public transport (particularlly in the evening and at night), the area around stations/stops, dark streets, places to go out without a clear LGBTIQ reference, as well as certain districts. The specific districts are different for each individual person. Neukölln, Wedding, Marzahn and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg are named particularly often.
  • Many interviewees talk about resistance when faced with actual assaults, which is also about not yielding ground to the perpetrators. At the same time, many victims fear that resistance will lead to further escalation of the situation.
  • The interviewees report only very few situations where passers-by have intervened. Such non-intervention is described as being particularly stressful. By contrast, situations where passers-by have intervened are highlighted as being particularly positive.
Support in cases of of transphobic violence
  • Support is a question of resources – on the one hand for those who provide support, on the other hand for the victims of violence who actively need to seek help. Given the constant tenseness among trans* persons, these resources are often stretched.
  • The first contact point for most interviewees is their personal environment and individual and different understanding of ‘community‘. Many state that they have actively developed a supportive environment.
  • Counselling services also play an important role in the interviews. Violence is not the reason for the counselling in most cases, rather it is first addressed during the counselling sessions. Berlin has few trans-specific counselling services available and no anti-violence counselling specialising exclusively in the trans* persons target group.
  • Contact with the LGBTIQ* liaison officers at Berlin Police are mostly described as supportive – in contrast to contact with the police in general.
  • Empowering experiences are also reported in the health service and judiciary in situations where doctors, therapists, lawyers and judges have been sensitised to, and trained in, transgender issues.
  • The interviewees describe the infrastructure and services for trans* persons in Berlin as relatively good compared with Germany as a whole, but see a need for expansion and further development.
Proliferation and unreporting of transphobic violence in Berlin: results from a standardised victim survey
Transphobia and violence are almost without exception an everyday experience for trans* people even in the rainbow city of Berlin. Transphobic violence is therefore of great concern to individual people and communities, as it has a very immediate and direct impact in the form of a restricted freedom of movement and sense of safety.
  • Transphobia is an everyday experience: almost all respsondents have experienced violence and discrimination in different areas of life.
  • Transphobic violence is almost always accompanied by devaluation based on other attritbutes –particularly by gender and gender-related violence.
  • Transphobic violence is a theme that is of great concern to (potential) victims.
  • Trans* people feel largely unsafe or safe only to a certain extent in Berlin.
  • Accordingly, most respondents do not go out and about in Berlin freely and carefree but frequently take precautionary measures.
In the past year alone, one-half of the trans* persons interviewed have been exposed to violence with two-thirds reporting corresponding experiences over the past five years. The ability to be recognised as trans’ from external appearances goes hand-in-hand with considerably increased vulnerability. Particularly trans* persons experience not only public space as violent but also public institutions, such as authorities or agencies.
  • Two-thirds of the trans* persons interviewed (66%) have experienced violence in the past five years, almost one-half (48.2%) in the past year.
  • People who can be recognised as trans* from external appearances are far more frequently exposed to violence.
  • Verbal and symbolic forms of violence are spoken of most frequently in the reports.
  • Public spaces, such as thoroughfares or public transport where fleeting encounters among unknown people are commonplace, are particularly associated with insecurity for trans* persons.
  • Health organisations, recreational facilities as well as authorities and agencies are also places where more than one-half of respsondents say they have experienced discriminiation and violence.
  • 61.7% of respondents stated having been more or less frequently abused on social media – 10.6% very often, a further 6.4% often.
In the vast majority of cases, the transphobic background to the assault is very openly expressed, e.g. through transphobic swearwords or insults. Witnessesss and bystanders provide help and suspport to victims only very rarely, however.
  • Transphobic assaults are predominantly perpetrated by male individuals previously unknown to the vicitms.
  • Victims most frequently deduce the transphobic motivation of the perpetrators* as stemming from their being clearly recognisable as trans* (75.3%) or because the perpetrators* used transphobic insults or swear words (74,2%).
  • One-half of respondents stated that, in the incident they experienced, other group-related motives played a role in addition to transphobia, most frequently sexism or homophobia.
  • Although uninvolved people were present in almost two-thirds (61.3%) of the violent incidents reported in the survey, it was in only a few cases (7%) that passers-by helped or showed solidartiy with the victims.
Circles of friends, partners* and communities provide a large amount of the care work needed to overcome experiences of violence. However, not an insignificant number of the trans* persons interviewed also reported the incident to the police. In addition to Berlin Police’s LGBTIQ* liaison officers, it is mainly civil society counselling centres that are widely known and used by victims.
  • The majority of victims talk about their experiences of transphobic violence in their close-knit social environment, mostly with a circle of friends* (76.3%) or with a partner* (41.9%).
  • 13% of respondents who had been exposed to transphobic violence reported the incident to the police.
  • Experiences of lodging a criminal complaint are fair to middling. One-half of respondents said that the police understood the transphobic background to the incident and 41.7% said how they felt – in retropsect – that reporting the incident had been a sensible thing to do.
  • Almost one-half of respondents (47.5%) said they knew of the LGBTIQ* liaison officers at Berlin Police.
  • Counselling services operating close to the community are known to many of the victims, particularly the projects QueerLeben (76.4%), Sonntagsclub (65.2%), TrIQ (60.3%) and LesMigraS (55.3%). Roughly one-quarter of the victims (23.7%) have already reported an incident to a counselling centre.
Transphobia in Germany: special analysis of the LGBTI survey conducted by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights
The LGBTI suvey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights is a central source for the assessment of anti-LGBTIQ* violence in the member states of the European Union. Almost 3,000 trans* persons from Germany participated in the latest wave of the survey. Trans* persons in Germany regularly state that they appear openly in public but are in no way less affected by violence than the EU average. They are also far more exposed to violence than LGBTIQ* people on average.
  • The participating trans* persons in Germany report a similar level of transphobic discrimination, haarrassment and violence to the EU as a whole.
  • The percentage share of trans* persons who appear ‘very openly‘ or ‘fairly openly‘ as trans* persons in public is 51.2%, demonstrably higher than the EU average (40%).
  • 66.4% of the participating trans* persons in Germany stated that they had experienced discrimination within the past year; 69.2% of them said that they had been subjected to harrassment within the past five years; and 35.2% had experienced physical or sexual violence in the past five years. Trans* persons are also heavily exposed to an above-average level of discrimination and hate when compared with other sub-groups in the LGBTIQ* spectrum.
  • A comparison of sub-groups reveals only minor differences in the five-year prevalence of physical and sexual assaults on trans* persons with 34.6% of trans* women, 32.6% of trans* men and 33.3% of non-binary persons affected. Only the sub-group of participants who identifiy as genderqueer, genderfluid, agender or polygender were, with 40.5%, more heavily affected.
  • 86.9% of identified perpetrators of transphobic violence are male. They commit violence either alone or in groups in roughly the same measure. In the majoriy of cases (55.6%), the perpetrator(s) and victim(s) are not acquatined.
  • Physical or sexual assaults on trans* persons take place predominanty in public, e.g. on public thoroughfares, in squares, parks or other forms of public space (48.0%), or on public transport (18.7%).
Many of the participating trans* persons from Germany perceive an increase in transphobic violence. Only a small share report incidents to the police – the reporting rate increasing with the severity of the attack. In the survey period in 2019, the vast majority of the participating trans* persons in Germany see no effective fight on the part of public institutions against hostitlity towards LSBTIQ* people.
  • Only a small share of victims report transphobic incidents to the police or other institutions – 19.5% for sexual or physical assaults, 10.4% for threat and 9.6 %for discrimination.
  • 42.7% of the trans* persons questioned perceive an increase in transphobic violence in the past five years – only a small share (15.9%) sees a decrease of such incidents in Germany.
  • Three-quarters of the trans* persons interviewed (75.2%) do not believe that the German government is fighting prejudice and intolerance against LGBTIQ* people effectively.
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