Shocking figures show trans hate crimes have jumped 81% in the past financial year in England, Scotland and Wales.
The BBC looked at data across 36 forces. It found 1,944 hate crimes in the last financial year compared with 1,073 in 2016-17.
Police in West and South Yorkshire have seen hate crimes against trans people rise three-fold in three years. Only Suffolk Constabulary and Merseyside Police recorded a drop in hate crimes.
But LGBTI charity, Stonewall, argued the surge in hate crimes is happening because of a society ‘where transphobia is everywhere’. Debate around updates to the Gender Recognition Act have put trans rights at the forefront of national conversation.
Trans woman Joss Prior told Gay Star News, ‘navigating everyday society can take meticulous planning’.
‘There is an acceptable level of transphobia that results from ignorance and being unfamiliar of trans people that can be countered, but what we are currently seeing is not that, we are seeing a concerted and organised attempt to demonise and use the trans community as a wedge issue to attack other rights and freedoms,’ Prior said.
‘From the right-leaning press to the religious advocacy groups affiliated with those in the US fighting their own Equality Act.
‘The demonizing of the trans community filters down into real life violence and threats on the street, not just for trans people, but also for gender-non-conforming people perceived to be trans by the people who least understand the trans community.’
Prior admitted she did not socialize outside LGBTI spaces – even though some transphobia exists in those – because she did not feel safe.
Young trans people and hate crimes
Trans rights supporter and mom of a trans kid @mimmymum (she keeps her identity private for safety reasons), accused British media of lying about trans people and stoking anti-trans sentiment in the UK.
She also pointed out that police record hate crimes for the adult population. Today’s figures don’t include what would be classified as hate crimes that occur within schools. There is a separate reporting process for those.
‘As a parent of a trans child and someone who supports the trans community I have been appalled by the increase in hostility I have witnessed towards transgender adults and children over the last year,’ she said.
‘This hostility has become frighteningly normalised as media outlets publish inflammatory and misleading articles targeting trans people week after week and increased aggression on social media.
‘I am not at all surprised that there has been such a dramatic rise in reported hate crimes towards the trans community.’
The mom said the next challenge was ‘for the criminal justice system to follow through and enforce the law’.
‘For while trans people has taken the brave step of trusting the authorities, and the police have begun to capture the reports, those who commit these crimes are currently going unpunished,’ @mimmymum said.
‘There needs to be clear and wide-ranging communication to not only the public, but the legal and judicial system of what hate crimes against the transgender community look like, so that they can be better protected.’
Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council said the rise in number could be from more people reporting violence.
‘Traditionally, transphobic hate crimes have been significantly under-reported but we are working closely with trans groups to increase awareness and understanding of our staff; as well as to build confidence and trust in the police by the trans community,’ Cook told the BBC.
‘We believe some of the increase may be down to better reporting, however, there is always more that can be done.’