National Hate Crime Awareness Week runs 13 – 20 October. Now in its seventh year, it brings people, groups and organisations together to raise awareness of hate crime and get them to take an active stand against it.
LGBT people in Britain continue to face alarming levels of abuse, harassment and discrimination on a daily basis. Our LGBT in Britain: Hate Crime and Discrimination report found that one in five of them have been physically or verbally abused because of who they are.
And that figure is rising.
We know that the number of lesbian, gay and bi people who’ve experienced a hate crime has risen by 78 per cent in five years. That’s a shocking figure - but it doesn’t tell the full story.
Our research revealed that four out five LGBT people who are the victims of hate crime don’t report it. Many think the crime against them wouldn’t be taken seriously as it’s something that happens all the time or is too minor to interest the police. Even the most serious incidents aren’t reported; the Government’s National LGBT Survey found that more than 91 per cent of respondents said they didn’t report the most serious incident from the last 12 months.
The effect of this is to make LGBT people feel small, to hide who they are. No wonder the Government’s Survey found that over two thirds of same-sex couples don’t hold hands in public.
For the trans community, hate crime remains an even greater risk. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last year. Forty four per cent of trans people avoid certain streets because they do not feel safe.
For the trans community, hate crime remains an even greater risk.
These are not just statistics, they are the real lives of trans people.
That’s why I’m giving special thought to our trans siblings this National Hate Crime Awareness Week. And why I urge you to join me and Come Out for Trans Equality and actively show your support for trans people.
I urge you to join me and Come Out for Trans Equality
Challenge hurtful or abusive language when you hear it, if it’s safe to do so. Confront your own assumptions, prejudices and biases by looking at the latest research. Listen to trans people about their lives and experiences, remembering that everyone’s stories differ.
Right now, the trans community needs everyone’s support as the Government is consulting on what a reformed Gender Recognition Act in England and Wales should look like. An updated Act which improves the process of legal gender recognition for trans people is desperately needed.
The 19 October deadline for responses is fast approaching.
We all need to step up as visible allies and Come Out for Trans Equality now. You can do that by clicking here and responding through the Stonewall website. It only takes 10 minutes and your response will be sent to the Government. It will count. If you’ve already done it, thank you – now ask your friends, family and networks to do the same.
Changing the Gender Recognition Act is the next step in our journey towards acceptance without exception for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.