We know that if you have a sexuality outside of the norms, you have a higher risk of being exposed to cyber hate than those people who meet the societal norms of gender and sexuality. Cyber hate against homosexual, bisexual, trans, and queer people includes all types of communication or contact online that encourages, supports, or expresses hate, discrimination and violations based on sexuality or identity. This can be name-calling or encouraging violence against LGBTQ people as a group.
Trans people are particularly vulnerable to cyber hate. That’s why the Cyber Hate Assistant has written a specific guide on how we all can work towards creating trans-inclusive cyber rooms.
Advice Counteract cisnormativity
Cisnormativity is the assumption that there are two genders (woman and man) and that everyone identifies with the gender that they were assigned at birth. Don't assume people's gender. Instead, ask for their pronouns.
Advice Report offensive posts and comments to administrators
If you read offensive and inappropriate posts or comments on social media, you can always report this to the administrators
Advice Ask the person to stop - maybe
Even if it can be difficult or threatening, it may be good to ask the person to stop or stop trying to contact you. Do not do this if you feel like it will put your safety at risk. The reason this is important is because when you file a police report, it is often required that you have made the person understand that their behavior is unwanted. However, for women and other marginalized groups, especially trans people, it can be dangerous to speak up and say no. Trust your instinct. Contact the police or other support services right away.
Advice Block and protect your social media
Advice Ask for help to deal with cyber hate!
You're not alone. If you want help dealing with cyber hate in the comment section, contact the facebook group #jagärhär to get help and support from the good forces at work for a good and open internet climate.
Advice If you are not listened to
If you are not listened to, there are many special interest organizations that work specifically with the grounds of discrimination or minority perspectives. Move forward and seek support from these organizations, you are not alone! It's common that minority perspectives are not understood, this is called gaslighting.
As homosexual, bisexual, queer and trans, you have the right to decide for yourself who knows about your sexuality or identity. Outing someone without their consent or threatening to do so is a common form of cyber hate. For example, someone can out you to your parents, relatives, or your work place.
Maybe this means spreading pictures of you and your partner. It can even be illegal if the information is used to blackmail you in some way.
It may also be about revealing your HIV-status or non-normative relationship form for people you do not want to know about it, or where it puts you at risk. It is your experience of the violations that counts.
Advice Gather digital evidence
Document and save everything that can be used to investigate what has happened.
Advice Never answer in affect!
Never answer in affect. Don't answer the person who is attacking you by attacking them back. Just ask them to stop. A lot of the time you don't want to answer at all, which is more than understandable. But to file a police report, it can be important that you can prove that you asked the person to stop, even when it comes to sexual harassment.
Your experiences are the most important.
If you feel like you are being subjected to unfair treatment because of your sexuality or identity, that is what’s happening. It does not matter if the words or labels that you are being subjected to apply to you or not. You might identify as pansexual but the hate is homophobic. It still falls within the scope of being exposed to unfair treatment because of your identity or sexuality, who you are and how you live.
The law specifically protects LGBTQ people, even online
Those of us who identify as LGBTQ are, according to Swedish law, a specific protected group. This means that we are covered by the hate crime legislation. It also means that the cyber hate does not need to be directed to a specific individual, but threats and hate towards us as a collective group is illegal according to the law about hate speech.
Advice Take your mental health seriously
Put your mental health first. Sometimes, it can be important to take a break from social media accounts. Let someone else take care of or clear out your social media.
Advice File a police report!
File a police report, even if it does not lead to a charge, it’s important to report so that statistics can show that the internet is for real.