‘Transphobic narratives fuelling hate’, charity claims, as recorded crimes soar

Hate crimes motivated by transgender identity rose by 56% in a year, according to police figures.

Flora Thompson
Thursday 06 October 2022 16:18 BST
A general view of a person holding a rock behind someone wearing an LGBT pride flag (Jonathan Brady/PA)
A general view of a person holding a rock behind someone wearing an LGBT pride flag (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)

Senior politicians have been accused of fuelling hate crime against transgender people as incidents recorded by police rose by more than 50% in a year.

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

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

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

The overall number of hate crimes recorded by police rose 26% in that period to 155,841, a new record high.

The figure has more than tripled over the last decade.

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

Racially motivated hate crimes account for 70% of the offences recorded.

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.

Galop’s chief executive Leni Morris 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, the chief executive of Stonewall, described the figures as “deeply worrying” and as showing an “alarming rise” in LGBTQ+ people being targeted because of who they are.

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

A Home Office spokesman said: “Hate crime is a scourge on communities across the country.

“It does not reflect the values of modern Britain.

“While the rise in cases is likely to be largely driven by improvements in police recording, these can be serious crimes such as assault and we cannot be complacent.

“We expect the police to fully investigate these hateful attacks and make sure the cowards who commit them feel the full force of the law.”

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.

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