Report homophobia using ‘Bashing’ app while traveling
Belgium was the second in the world to legalize gay-marriage in 2003 and has an openly gay prime minister, so you’d think that being gay and traveling to Belgium or one of the European countries like Spain or Netherlands would be easy and safe. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Even in countries that are called first-world, gay bashing is prominent in huge numbers, so one has to be careful and try avoiding the neighborhoods after a night-out at the clubs, or simply wandering the streets of the beautiful cities and towns.
Started in Belgium, a website (and an app for iOS and Android) called Bashing is at the center of a grassroots movement to track, report, and mobilize action against gay bashing not just throughout the continent, but also in United States and other countries around the world.
The website and the app shows the precise location of every incident, records whether it is verbal or physical, and creates a “Bashmap” showing problem areas on an embedded Google map. More and more people across Netherlands, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are using the app to report incidents.
The app has been a cultural phenomenon and helped to bring government attention to the issue. Since its release, Belgian parliament, the police, and local authorities have begun to grapple with a pattern of violence that was previously considered one-off and hard to pin down.
The global gay rights movement is more accelerated than ever, and that makes this a wonderful time to be an out traveler. Sometimes, though, the increased visibility and media attention can have negative consequences. But if crowd-sourced grassroots movements can overturn regimes, surely gay-bashing is a problem we can solve together.