According to a recent report by the UK Home Office, there were 2,743 trans hate crimes reported in England and Wales in 2021/22, an increase of 11% from the previous year. The report found that trans people are more likely to be victims of hate crime than any other group in society and that trans women are particularly vulnerable.
In the United States, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program does not collect data on trans hate crimes specifically. However, a study by the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 40% of trans people in the United States had experienced some form of violence in their lifetime, including sexual assault, physical assault, and stalking.
Biden Speaks Out
Joe Biden has often spoken about the importance of reducing trans hate crime, highlighting the “rising hate and violence.” In 2022, the US president signed an executive order that focused on the reduction of discrimination against transgender youth. This involved stopping “conversion therapy” from being available via federal funds.
The Figures May Be Even Higher
These statistics are just a snapshot of the problem of trans hate crime. It is important to note that many trans people are reluctant to report hate crimes to the police for fear of further discrimination or retaliation. As a result, the true extent of trans hate crime is likely to be much higher than what is reported in official statistics.
Trans People Are Seen as Different
There are a number of reasons why trans people are more likely to be victims of hate crimes. One reason is that trans people are often seen as being different or outside of the mainstream. This can make them targets for discrimination and violence. Another reason is that trans people are often misunderstood and misrepresented. This can lead to prejudice and hatred, which can, in turn, lead to hate crimes.
Things Are Getting Worse
Shea Coffey, a transgender woman from the UK, told the BBC that she has “experienced countless incidents while taking her children to school – and believes things are getting worse.” Shea said, “People slow down just to shout abuse from their window.” Coffey went on to say, “I can just about cope with the abuse aimed at me, but it’s when I’m with my family that it gets to me the most.”
Social Media Fallout
The BBC also spoke to Matthew Williams, director of Cardiff University’s HateLab, who told readers he believes that trans hate crime is “being fuelled by political rhetoric and the fallout on social media and in the media.” Williams went on to say, “He said there has been a significant rise in anti-trans rhetoric across social media over the past few years.” There does appear to be a correlation between the trans hate online and trans hate that is on the streets of the UK and the US.
The article was discussed online, with some online users sarcastically questioning the impact of political discourse on trans hate crime. One person said, “Couldn’t possibly be due to the increased attacks from our disgusting government and the right-wing media, right? “Another said, “Fascists spread hate and violence. Lunatics act.” These thoughts stressed the significance of people with a lot of power influencing people’s views on trans people.
A Devastating Impact
The impact of trans hate crime can be devastating. Trans people who are victims of hate crime may experience physical injury, emotional trauma, and social isolation. They may also be more likely to experience mental health problems and substance abuse. Reacting online, one trans ally said, “I wouldn’t blame any trans people who have been victimized in the UK who feel hesitant or scared to deal with the authorities.” This shows just how deep the trauma is for some trans people. One online user who is planning to visit the UK said, “I am gonna be in the UK next week for the first time in over a decade, and to be honest, I am scared.”
Perpetrators Need to be Accountable
People are campaigning for perpetrators of trans hate crimes to be accountable and bring them to justice. Challenge prejudice and discrimination when we see it, and we can all support trans people in our communities, is what LBGTQ+ campaigners are asking for. A statement from the UK home office said, “While the increase in transgender hate crime may be due to a genuine rise, the biggest driver is likely to be general improvements in police recording.”
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