‘Transphobic narratives from politicians fuelling hate’ as recorded crimes soar

Home Office figures show that police-recorded hate crimes motivated by transgender identity have risen by 56% in a year.

Flora Thompson
Thursday 06 October 2022 13:31 BST
Police-recorded hate crimes motivated by transgender identity rose by 56% in a year (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Police-recorded hate crimes motivated by transgender identity rose by 56% in a year (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)

Senior politicians have been accused of perpetuating transphobia and fuelling hate crime against transgender people as official figures reveal such crimes rose by more than 50% in a year.

Galop, an LGBT+ anti-abuse charity, said transphobic narratives in the media and by senior politicians have been allowed to grow without challenge and are translating into “violence against our community”.

The charity was responding to figures from the Home Office which show that police-recorded hate crimes motivated by transgender identity rose by 56% in a year.

There were 4,355 such crimes recorded by police in England and Wales in the year to March 2022 – up from 2,799 in the previous 12 months.

It comes amid an overall annual rise of 26% in recorded hate crimes, with 155,841 offences recorded in the year to March – a new record high.

Fewer hate crimes motivated by transgender identity were recorded compared with all other motivations but this group saw the biggest percentage rise.

The Home Office said transgender issues have been “heavily discussed on social media” over the last year, which may have led to an increase in related hate crimes.

Leni Morris, chief executive of Galop, said: “Transphobic narratives in the media, and at a senior political level, have been allowed to grow unregulated, unchecked and unchallenged.

“That translates into violence against our community – particularly for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.

“Let us be clear – there is a direct line between words and violent acts against our community, and always has been.”

She said hate crimes against LGBT+ people receive “far lower” sentencing lengths than other forms of hate crime and legislation proposed to make people safer, such as the ban on conversion therapy, is no longer proposing to cover trans people.

“Combined with a growing hostile atmosphere for our community in the media and public life, this is giving a message to those who would do us harm that this is acceptable in this country,” she added.

The charity “strongly” disagrees that the rise demonstrates increased trust in the police – one of the reasons suggested for the overall rise in recorded hate crimes in recent years.

Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, said the figures are “deeply worrying” and show an “alarming rise” in LGBTQ+ people being targeted because of who they are.

She said: “These figures are another reminder that the constant drumbeat of anti LGBTQ+ sentiment in media and politics has a human cost.”

The figures come days after the Home Secretary accused Sussex Police of “playing identity politics and denying biology” around sexual offences committed by a transgender woman years before transitioning.

Suella Braverman waded into a Twitter row after the force said it would not “tolerate any hateful comments” about gender identity “regardless of crimes committed”.

It later apologised saying the comment was “inconsistent with our usual style of engagement” and had been deleted.

Ms Braverman said the force should “focus on catching criminals not policing pronouns” after Sally Ann Dixon, from Havant in Hampshire was jailed for 20 years for 30 indecent assaults against five girls and two boys in the 1980s and 1990s when she was John Stephen Dixon.

Some people on social media objected to the force referring to Dixon in the headline of its press release as a woman convicted of the crimes.

In June, the then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson became embroiled in a debate on anatomy and gender when he said only a man can be born with a penis.

His comments came as he expressed support for excluding transgender athletes from competing in women’s events as the government put pressure on sports bodies to impose bans.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has also faced criticism after being vocal online about her views on transgender people and biological sex.

Hate crime offences recorded by police have risen consistently over the years and now stand at more than triple the number recorded in 2012-13.

In addition to transgender hate crimes, forces recorded 109,843 race hate crimes, 8,730 religious hate crimes, 26,152 sexual orientation hate crimes, and 14,242 disability hate crimes in the year to March 2022.

Some crimes are recorded as having more than one motivating factor.

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