Online violence 

has real consequences



Online violence,

Real consequences

The Internet can provide incredible opportunities to learn, connect and have fun. However, LGBTQ+ people are still targeted on digital platforms and this violence, rarely taken seriously, has real harmful impacts on people.

Because cyberhomophobia and cybertransphobia occur online, the bullies don’t see the pain they cause, and, as a result, it’s easy for them to continue or even step up their attacks, which they perhaps would not do if the person was in front of them. Insults, taunts and threats made to faceless avatars, hurt real people.


Hate speech


Hate speech is a form of discourse, often found on social media, which attacks a community or a member of a community based on certain characteristics such as sexual orientation or gender identity. Hate speech takes its roots in negative stereotypes about a community and results in:

  • Hurting (e.g. insults);

  • Causing fear (e.g. threats);

  • Dehumanizing (e.g. comparing to animals or an illness);

  • Isolating (presenting the group considered “abnormal” as being fundamentally different and inferior from the majority).



Cyberbullying occurs “when people use computers, cellphones or other devices to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass someone else “(Public Safety Canada).




of LGBTQ + people say they have been personally attacked or harassed online.  (VpnMentor).


of LGBT youth who were
bullied online reported having suicidal ideation due to cyberbullying


The proportion of the population who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lives has almost doubled between 2007 (18%) and 2016 (34%). 2


of LGBT youth think cyberbullying
is a normal and unavoidable
part of online life.


Who is concerned ?

Online violence affects everyone, but some communities are particularly targeted, such as LGBTQ + communities. It's important to remember that within these communities, not everyone is affected in the same way, some are more at risk (eg : trans women). In addition, non-LGBTQ+ people may also experience homophobia and transphobia when they are perceived as LGBTQ+ or are associated with LGBTQ+ people (eg, children of LGBTQ+ families, heterosexual people who go out with a bisexual trans or asexual person).

A taboo subject

Online violence is rarely taken seriously, yet it has real consequences. Unfortunately, many do not dare to talk to the authorities or to their relatives about their situations. The vpnMentor study shows that many participants minimize the harassment suffered and excuse this "usual" behavior. Some people resign themselves and experience this violence in silence, others withdraw from social networks or hide their identity.

Violence brings violence

"Targets of cyberbullying have a greater chance of becoming bullies themselves, as being cyberbullied can lead to revenge bullying as a way to cope. And, cyberbullies have a greater risk at being bullied in return, resulting in a vicious cycle. Being a cyberbully contributes to a twenty-fold increase of also being a target of cyberbullying" (Arslan, Savaser, Hallett, & Balci, 2012).

That's why it's so important we break this cycle.

Sexual Harassment

Women in LBTQ+ communities are generally at higher risk for sexual harassment. Bisexual and lesbian women often receive requests for sexual favors (eg : threesomes) that can be dehumanizing and harassing. Asexual people are often targeted by people who want to "convince" or "convert" them to sexuality. Finally trans people (and especially trans women) are often the object of fetishization and unhealthy curiosity.


People who have not come out to everyone around them can be blackmailed or targeted by ill-intended people. Transgender women are the most likely to have their identities exposed online against their will. In any case, the disclosure of an LGBTQ+ identity (against the person's will) can potentially result in the receipt of hate messages, create hostile family dynamics, damage a career, or even put the person in danger. Remember that in the majority of the world, discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity is still legal, and in many countries, homosexuality is still criminalized. (See our 2018 campaign)




If you see violent content (hate speech, threats, etc.) report the content or its author to the platform.

File a complaint

If you do not want to be contacted by someone anymore, because they bother you or make you feel unsafe, do not hesitate to block them.


If you are a page admin, you can hide or delete comments that do not comply the values of your page.


If you receive threatening messages, or if you are harassed, you can file a complaint.

No one should be responsible for educating others about LGBTQ+ issues in their free time, especially when this involves getting insulted. However, responding can change people's minds, especially for stand-byers or people who are more ignorant than malevolent.

pride flagging.jpg

PRIDE FLAGGING est un projet collaboratif visant à enrayer la cyberhomophobie et la cybertransphobie. Activez l’extension pour navigateur sur Twitter pour identifier automatiquement les commentaires haineux et simplifier le processus de signalement.


Interligne is a first response centre that provides help and information to those concerned with sexual orientation and gender diversity.

interligne logo noir engl.jpg
interligne clavardage eng.png

Stop cyberhate

(French and Dutch only)

How to react to cyber-harassment as parents? teens? education professionals? Also find videos and quizzes on the subject.

gendarmerie royale du canada.jpg

Gendarmerie royale du Canada

Definition of cyberbullying, bullying and the law, and the measures to be taken.


Tel Jeunes

Find information on cyberbullying, a FAQ and a helpline.

no hate speech.jpg

No Hate Speech

How to signal hate speech on the different social plateforms ?


Dangerous speech project

When does hate speech becomes dangerous ? how to recognise it and how to respond to it ?



ReThink is an award-winning technological tool that effectively detects and stops online hate before the damage is done. 

Further reading

A report with statistics but also tips to stay safe on the Internet. Available in over 25 languages.

Spread the word !

The cover to use on all your social networks
The profile picture to use on May 17th
#Hashtags to use
photo de profil 17 mai 2.jpg

Multilingual editions


© 2018 by Fondation Émergence
Proudly created with