Not Ideal, But Still Acknowledged: A 10-Country Survey on Empathy for Victims of Anti-LGBT Violence
Using data from a cross-national survey conducted on representative samples of populations from 10 European countries (n = 10,766), the present study is the first one to empirically measure the validity of Christie’s influential ideal victim model. We use a range of scenarios built around common types of anti-LGBT violence to verify the extent to which the public’s empathy for victims is contingent on the victim’s identity and the circumstances of the crime. The results provide strong evidence that, when applied to this group of victims, the rules of the ideal victim work, adequately moderating the public’s emotional reactions. We found that all victims receive relatively high levels of empathy, but the further the victim is from the ideal, the less support they can count on. Thus, even though no victim is “rejected,” a clear hierarchy of victimization emerges. As a group, LGBT people suffer from an empathy deficit, but there also are considerable variations within this group, with a lesbian attacked by extremists receiving the most, and a drunk transgender person receiving the least empathy from the public. The study contributes to the development of theory by embedding the ideal victim model in a broader sociological paradigm of dramaturgical analysis. Since our research shows that the victim’s LGBT status decreases the levels of empathy (being seen as a type of stigma), we call for more attention to be paid to the actor’s identity in Goffman’s framework. Implications for practice and further research are offered.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epub/10.1177/08862605221139196
To Geneva and back: externalising anti-LGBT hate crime as a policy issue
How and why states legislate against hate crime and what role various actors – including human rights movements and international bodies – play in enacting change is attracting increased scholarly interest. Drawing upon primary, mixed-methods research, with Poland as our case study, this paper seeks to understand how new transnational advocacy opportunities change the way local activists push for improved legal protection from anti-LGBT violence. Using Keck and Sikkink’s (1998) ‘boomerang’ model as our interpretative frame, we observe how Polish LGBT groups systematically work with intersectional and transnational networks to feed their grievances to international human rights institutions, which, in turn, apply pressure on the government to amend hate crime laws. We argue that such externalisation of hate crime as a policy issue is a result of the closing of political opportunity structures at home and the simultaneous appearance of advocacy opportunities abroad along with increased resources being made available to the LGBT movement. While the state still hesitates to change the law, there are signs that calls for a new approach to addressing hate crime, promoted by activists and international organisations, are increasingly being heard by bureaucrats in Warsaw, even if there is currently no political will to make any changes.
The International Journal of Human Rights: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13642987.2022.2153121