LGBTI-phobia: the second cause of discrimination in Barcelona in 2022

13/09/2023 - 11:50

The Barcelona Discrimination Observatory received reports of 631 cases of discrimination in the city in 2022, some 20% fewer than the previous year.

A total of 129 cases of discrimination due to sexual and gender identity were recorded in 2022, according to the report from the Barcelona Discrimination Observatory.

The Barcelona Discrimination Observatory received reports of 631 cases of discrimination in the city in 2022, some 20% fewer than the previous year. Of these, almost 50% were linked to racism and xenophobia (185 cases) and to LGBTI-phobia (129 cases), according to their report. 

The document states that of the 129 cases of discrimination through LGBTI-phobia, 85 were linked to people’s sexual orientation, while 32 addressed trans people because of their gender identity. 

These situations involved an elevated degree of violence, as in 33% of cases discrimination included verbal aggression, and in more than 30% of cases included physical aggression.  

Most of the cases of discrimination were perpetrated by individuals (91), followed by cases by private organisation and companies (22), the public administration (11) and security forces (3).  

Of all the cases notified, the highest proportion (68) were linked to homophobia, followed by discrimination for transphobia (32), lesbophobia (16), LGBTI-phobia (10) and biphobia (1). 

In terms of the contexts for discrimination, the highest number of cases occurred in public spaces (67%), such as streets, parks, squares, beaches and public facilities such as transport. Some 32% occurred in private spaces such as houses, flats, homes and leisure facilities.  Cases mainly involved people on transport, in night-life areas or gyms which practice LGBTI-phobia, specifically homophobia, according to the data from the Homophobia Observatory, one of the bodies that contributes to the report by the Barcelona Discrimination Observatory.  

The total number of cases of LGBTI-phobia in 2022 represents a slight drop compared to the year before, when 159 cases of discrimination of this nature were recorded. Even so, the report from the OND warns that “even though there appears to be greater acceptance of this collective, awareness of sexual and gender diversity is still very superficial, as cases of discrimination continue to occur in the city”. 

The body also regrets the lack of awareness about the extent to which LGBTI-phobia affects the lives of people who suffer this type of discrimination. “When your being is questioned, what you are and how you feel about yourself, they’re denying your own existence, and generating significant consequences for mental health”, warns the report. 

Discrimination through serophobia 

Cases of discrimination linked to people’s health tripled in 2022 compared to the previous year, reaching 120 cases. Seventy of these cases were linked to people diagnosed with mental health issues, and 31 were for discrimination against people who are HIV positive, otherwise known as serophobia.  

The figure for serophobia cases was also up, from 20 cases in 2021 to 31 in 2022. Denial of services such as insurance or dental and hair services for people living with HIV were the most common types of discrimination here, according to data from Gais Positius, another of the organisations taking part in the report. 

“It continues to be a problem, the fact that despite the existence of laws and regulations that guarantee the rights of people with HIV, these are not applied”, denounces the report. 

One specific example is with contracting health insurance, where Act 15/2022 on equality of treatment and non-discrimination states that “access to contracting insurance cannot be refused (…), neither can differences in treatment be established in their contracting” for any of the reasons set out in article 2 of the Act. This article specifically includes the non-discrimination of people according to their serological status. 

The Catalan act on equality of treatment and non-discrimination, Act 19/2020, also sets out the right to equality of treatment and non-discrimination for serological status. 

 The OND report also details a case where two people living with HIV had this information about their health revealed without their consent and received threats and pressure to leave the rented flat they were living in. 

Denouncement and support in situations of discrimination 

If you have experienced discrimination through LGBTI-phobia or other causes such as racism, ableism, ageism or aporophobia, you can approach the City Council’s Office for Non-Discrimination (OND) to denounce the case and request support.  

The OND provides psycho-social assistance for emotional support, along with forms of conflict management (conciliation, mediation etc.) and legal guidance, and can issue fines according to current regulations.  

The OND can be contacted in person at C/ Ferran 32, by phone on 934 132 000, or online using a website form. 

The Homophobia Observatory receives and handles denouncements specifically relating to LGBTI-phobia and offers services in psycho-social support, legal and judicial assistance, LGBTI points and training. In the case of aggression or discrimination the observatory can be contacted via their website app or by email at coordinació 

For their part, the organisation Gais Positius has a reception and information service offering initial support for gay men and bisexuals living with HIV, and gives access to a mutual support group, plus psychological, legal and social advice. These services can provide legal information linked to rights violations of people living with HIV, as well as other resources. Appointments can be made with the reception and information service by calling 932 98 06 42. 

Finally, the Barcelona LGBTI Centre also offers a reception service to detect the support meeds of LGBTIQA+ people and refer them to services providing psychological, legal and specialised advice for trans people. Appointments can be made by email to, by calling 93 880 51 11, or in person at the Barcelona LGBTI Centre (Comte Borrell, 22).