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Homophobia has deep roots in French society, admits government

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People in Paris pay tribute the victims of a mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, Monday, June 13, 2016.
People in Paris pay tribute the victims of a mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, Monday, June 13, 2016.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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France's government has admitted homophobia and transphobia have deep roots in the country's society.

It came as the country's interior ministry revealed a sharp increase in the number of anti-LGBT acts last year.

There were 1,870 victims of homophobic or transphobic offences in 2019, a year-on-year surge of 36 per cent, the ministry said.

It follows a leap of 33 per cent in 2018.

"These figures testify to the deeps roots homophobia and transphobia have in our society," the ministry said in a statement, adding that they are also "part of a broader context of increasing hate acts and identity extremism".

Three-quarters of victims were male and 62 per cent were under the age of 35. More than a third of all offences took place in urban areas with more than 200,000 inhabitants.

Insults made up 33 per cent of recorded offences, while violence (physical and sexual) accounted for 28 per cent of them.

The ministry, which released the figures on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, said it was calling "for increased vigilance by public authorities and a stronger mobilisation from society".

An application to report acts of homophobia and transphobia was launched by the French governments in April.

Authorities said reports made on "Flag!" would help create a detailed map of the issue across the country and thus facilitate "the work of public authorities to effectively develop public policies and targeted actions" to fight gender-based, anti-LGBT and serophobic violence.

A survey released by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, also released on Sunday, found that one-in-five of nearly 140,000 LGBTI respondents felt discriminated at work and more than one in three felt "discriminated against when going out to eat, drink or being social".

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia — celebrated annually on May 17 — commemorates the day the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1990.