transphobic hate crime is on the rise in the uk

The data, collected by the BBC, signals a concerning trend of rising violence against LGBTQ folk.

by Alim Kheraj
28 June 2019, 11:22am

Image via Ted Eytan / flick

There’s a growing and concerning trend in the United Kingdom: hate crime. According to data collected by the BBC, transphobic hate crime in England, Wales and Scotland has increased by 81%. The data showed that between 2016/17 there were 1,073 incidents reported to police. Between 2017/18, that number rose to 1,944.

The news comes after analysis by The Guardian found that in the last five years, hate crime against LGBTQ people in England and Wales had risen a shocking 114%, while LGBTQ charity Stonewall found that two in five trans people had experienced a hate crime in the last 12 months.

According to the Home Office, the figure has risen because of improved reporting and recording of hate crimes. However, a 2017 study by Stonewall found that four out of five anti-LGBTQ hate crimes go unreported to police. Young people especially are reluctant to report incidents to the police.

“These statistics are the real life consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere -- from the front pages of newspapers, to social media and on our streets,” Laura Russell, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall, told the BBC. “We need people to realise how severe the situation is for trans people, and to be active in standing up as a visible ally to trans people, in whatever way they can.”

Indeed, in the UK there is an ongoing and toxic discourse surrounding the transgender community, perpetuated by social networks and prominent figures in the media. Trans people are constantly having their existence debated in public forums and recently, prominent trans activist and model Munroe Bergdorf was let go as spokesperson for the charity Childline after columnist Janice Turner launched a campaign to discredit her.

There is also a global epidemic of trans women, especially trans women of colour, being murdered. In the United States alone in the past month -- which also happens to be Pride month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising -- there have been four reported cases of trans women of colour turning up dead. This year in the US, there have been around 10 trans woman reported murdered.

As some of the most marginalised people in society, trans people and gender non-conforming folk are, clearly, also at the most risk. In the UK, as the debate about gender identity continues, more must be done to protect them.