Here are some of the overall key statistics from the report that you should be aware of:
- 21% of LGBT+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the last year because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity
- 81% of anti-LGBT+ hate crime and incidents go UNREPORTED and there are an increasing number of young LGBT+ people who state that they are reluctant to go to the police because they believe that the hate crime or incident will not be thoroughly investigated (only 12% of LGBT people aged between 18 to 24 reported a hate crime or incident to the police)
- 10% of LGBT+ people who were looking to rent or buy a home in the past year were discriminated against
- 10% of LGBT+ people have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse online that was targeted at them IN THE PAST MONTH.
- 17% of LGBT+ people who have visited a cafe, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the past 12 months were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity
- 24% of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) LGBT+ people were discriminated against by social services on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity
- 28% of LGBT+ people who visited a place of worship have faced discrimination in the last year
- 10% of LGBT+ people who attended a live sporting event (football match, tennis match etc) experienced discrimination in the last year based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
- 40% of trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the past year because of their gender identity
- 18% of trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the past year because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation
- 39% of non-binary people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the past year because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, compared with 19% of LGBT who define as male or female
- 26% of trans people online directly experienced transphobic abuse IN THE PAST MONTH
- 26% of non-binary people online directly experienced personal online abuse IN THE PAST MONTH
- 25% of trans people were discriminated against when looking to rent or buy a home in the last year
- 33% of trans people who have visited a cafe, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the past 12 months were discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity
- 35% of trans people who have visited a department store or shop were discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity
- 29% of trans people were discriminated against when accessing social services
- 25% of trans people contacting the emergency services (through call centres) were discriminated against
- 38% of trans people who visited a place of worship in the past year have been discriminated against
- 38% of trans people avoid going to the gym or take part in grassroots sport because they fear being discriminated against.
- 27% of LGBT+ disabled people have experienced a hate crime or incident based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last year and they are 10% more likely to experience such hate crime or incidents than non disabled LGBT+ people.
- 13% of LGBT+ disabled people feel unsafe in their ward
- 21% of LGBT+ disabled people have been discriminated against when visiting a cafe, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last year
- 10% of LGBT+ disabled people have been discriminated against when accessing bank services or visiting an insurance company in the past year
- 18% of LGBT+ disabled people have experienced discrimination when accessing social services in the last year
- 17% of LGBT+ disabled people avoid going to the gym or participating in grassroots sporting activities because they fear being discriminated against
- 16% of LGBT+ disabled people going to the gym or participating in grassroots activities have faced discrimination.
Anti-LGBT Hate Crime:
Figures revealed in this new Stonewall report demonstrate quite markedly that trans people and non binary people remain targets for hate crime, with young trans and non-binary people (aged between 18 and 24) being at greatest risk. 56% of trans young people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the past year. At a time when society is meant to be more open-minded and tolerant of different gender identities, the fact that young people are most likely to be targeted is uncomfortable. Even worse for me is reading that 27% of LGBT+ disabled people have experienced hate crime or incidents that were because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year. I am dyspraxic and I have been openly insulted by people in the street based on my walking (I've been called a waddling penguin, "Collywobbles" and a clumsy oaf) as well as being insulted and harassed based on my gender identity and presentation (the usual slurs that do not need to be repeated here). Trans, disabled people from BAME backgrounds are discriminated against on multiple levels in daily life and are far more likely to face hate crime and incidents on the basis of gender identity, their disability and their race than someone like myself. A holistic, intersectional approach should be adopted by the police, local authorities and businesses and organisations in the private sector so that racism, xenophobia, ableism and transphobia are all tackled head on from an early age to help debunk stereotypes and fight prejudice if we are going to reduce hate crime and incidents overall.
The report states that the most common type of hate crime experienced by LGBT+ people are ones where victims were insulted, pestered, intimidated or harassed (87%). Attitudes towards stereotyping of LGBT+ people, especially trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer and agender people needs to continue to be challenged head-on. Unacceptable homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language needs to be called out, any insults being excused as just "banter" should be condemned by LGBT+ people and their allies in offices, gyms, sports clubs, religious buildings, shops, restaurants, bars and banks across the UK. Street harassment against LGBT+ people should be reported to the police whenever and wherever it occurs.
More disturbingly, the YouGov polling revealed that 26% of LGBT+ people polled had experienced unwanted sexual contact, 21% had been threatened with violence and 11% had been physically assaulted (with or without a weapon). No LGBT+ person should accept being touched in their genital area by a person without consent. No LGBT+ person should accept being slapped on the bottom.
No LGBT+ person should face being threatened with violence or be physically assaulted by malicious bigots. And yet, 81% of LGBT+ people have not reported hate crime and incidents such as these to the police. Trust in the ability of the police to thoroughly investigate hate crime seems to have been eroded, especially with young people. Polls and research I conducted myself on hate crime last year on this blog backs up such a sentiment. The Lincolnshire Hate Crime Strategy (discussed further in the next section) refers to a variety of research on transphobic hate crime, including a study into "the underreporting of transphobic hate crime and police interactions with the Trans community" by Greater Manchester police between 2013-15. The report found that 38.8% of trans people didn't believe the incident was serious enough to report, 35.8% thought the police officer at the station would perceive them as time wasting, 28.4% didn't want to inform police officers about their status and 22.4% feared being outed by police. However, the report did find that 65.9% of trans respondents to the report would have reported the transphobic hate crime through a third party organisation. Recommendations from the report included creating inclusive and engaging targeted campaigns to inform trans people about how to report hate crime and for frontline officers to demonstrate more empathy when dealing with victims of transphobic hate crime. Pretty much the same recommendations that are still being made by Stonewall in this latest report!
What else can be done to increase reporting rates and improve trust with the police? I agree with Stonewall's key suggestion that HR staff in local police forces need to ensure that training for frontline staff is robust so they have clear and concise instructions to follow when they need to make a report of LGBT +hate crime and incidents. Bias and stereotypes need to be debunked, so that all frontline staff are aware of the importance of recording all information received in an impartial manner so there is more of a chance of perpetrators being prosecuted. All police forces should sign up to a diversity programme such as Stonewall's Diversity Champion Programme (25 are currently members) so that training can be designed and delivered effectively with the input of local LGBT+ members. There should be a commitment in the police forces' mission statement or organisational strategy to tackle anti-LGBT+ hate crime in their force area and raise awareness of third party reporting centres that can be approached if the LGBT+ victim is afraid of reporting the crime directly. More importantly, data relating to LGBT+ hate crime should be analysed on an annual basis with reports being made public (released on the police force website) wherever possible and any recommendations to improve the organisational strategy clearly stated in the report.
I also agree with Stonewall's recommendation to the Home Office that they should make anti-LGBT+ hate crime aggravated offences. This recommendation was also made in the Trans Enquiry Report, published by the Women and Equalities Select Committee last year, which also notes that "there are no offences relating to "stirring up hatred against trans people, as there are for race, religion or sexual orientation under the Public Order Act 1986" (https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmwomeq/390/390.pdf p.59). Currently, CPS guidance (updated August 2017) states that the prosecution have to rely on applying section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 uplifts. Section 146 makes it clear that judges have a "duty to increase the sentence for any offence that involves the offender demonstrating hostility based on the sexual orientation or transgender identity (should be gender identity) of the victim (or presumed sexual orientation or transgender identity) or the offence being motivated by hostility towards persons who are of a particular sexual orientation or transgender identity" (http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/homophobic_and_transphobic_hate_crime/). Hostility may be defined as "ill will, ill-feeling, spite, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike" but evidence of this hostility must be provided in order to gain a successful conviction.
The report has also highlighted the fact that there are many LGBT+ people do not feel safe when walking on Britain's streets. 44% of trans people avoid certain streets so they do not become victims of targeted harassment. 14% of trans people do not feel safe in the area they live in. 40% of trans people have said they have changed the way they dress to avoid street harassment. Police officers and Police Community Support officers should engage directly with trans people in their local area and try and find out why they feel unsafe and come up with action plans or "specific interventions" to try and reduce the level of harassment.
The issue of online abuse has received significant attention over the past year and the figures from this latest report continue to demonstrate the need for social media platforms to take decisive action to help protect trans social media users from transphobic behaviour. Non-binary LGBT+ people face more targeted discrimination than binary LGBT+ people (26% of non-binary people experienced online personal abuse compared to 10% of men and 8% of women). 23% of young people have been subjected to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic online abuse, with young trans people most affected (34%). Young LGBT+ people are also more likely to witness online personal abuse targeted towards others in the LGBT+ community; 72% witnessed online abuse in the last month. Nobody deserves to be confronted with misgendering, threats of physical violence or death threats when using social media platforms. Stonewall has recommended that social media platforms take "swift action", keeping tweeters informed of the progress and letting them know what actions will be taken following the outcome of the case. Blocking and muting functions available on accounts are usually effective until a tweeter decides to make up another account to troll you with and then keeps doing it on a regular basis...i.e. targeted harassment. This is why I wholeheartedly agree with Stonewall's recommendation that social media platforms "work with the police and with the Crown Prosecution Service to develop more effective responses to anti-LGBT+ hate online, in consultation with LGBT+ people and organisations". Strengthening of IT education in schools to include lessons on internet safety should help empower young LGBT+ people to report cyberbullying on social media platforms more regularly but LGBT+ people and allies online should be prepared to call out and report targeted cyberbullying and harassment whenever they see it occurring. This will send a strong message to social media platforms that they should continue to address targeted cyberbullying and harassment, especially against trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer and agender people.
Anti-LGBT+ Hate Crime in Lincolnshire:
The report has revealed that 19% of LGBT+ people based in the East Midlands have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their gender identity or sexual orientation in the past year. A Boston Standard article from February 2017 highlighted an increase in reported hate crime, with LGBT+ people and disabled people reporting more hate crime and incidents (http://www.bostonstandard.co.uk/news/lincolnshire-force-sees-rise-in-recorded-hate-crime-but-not-in-the-aftermath-of-brexit-1-7822438). In Lincolnshire, there is a Hate Crime Strategy which has been in place since 2015, with agencies working together to tackle underreporting rates. The strategy, put together by the Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership, highlights that there were 37 hate crimes recorded as hate crime against LGB people on the basis of their sexual orientation and 24 hate incidents recorded against LGB on the basis of their sexual orientation and 11 hate crimes recorded as hate crime against trans people in 2015/16 and 6 hate incidents recorded in 2015/16 (file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Lincolnshire%20Hate%20Crime%20Strategy%202016-18.pdf).
There are several elements to the Hate Crime Strategy. The first relates to available reporting routes.
If you are a victim of anti-LGBT+ hate crime or incident in Lincs, you can report the hate crime or incident directly to Lincs Police if you want, or you can report the hate crime or incident through a number of third party organisations who have agreed to support Lincs' Hate Crime Strategy. These include Lincoln Catch 22, Lincs YMCA, Total Voice, Lincoln Central Volunteering Services, Boston College and Boston Centrepoint. Individuals within those organisations have been specially trained to report hate crimes and incidents to Stop Hate UK, an independent charity which "offers service users immediate practical and emotional support" and operates a 24/7 service, which can be accessed through phone, email, web-chat, online form on their website or through post. Referrals to Stop Hate UK can be made anonymously but Stop Hate UK can also pass on details to Lincs Police with the consent of the victim. Just Lincolnshire, the "single equality organisation" that aims to champion equality and tackle discrimination across the county can also help with reporting hate crime and incidents. If you fill in their online form (http://justlincolnshire.org.uk/assets/downloads/Interactive_reporting_form.pdf) or call in and make an appointment with the wonderfully helpful team (who can help you compile the report), the report can then be passed on to Stop Hate UK and/or Lincs Police. Lincs police's website makes it clear that they will investigate all cases thoroughly and gives advice as to the types of evidence needed to help build the case, including providing a diary format for victims to use to record ongoing incidents of stalking, harassment and anti-social behaviour (https://www.lincs.police.uk/reporting-advice/hate-crime/). The victim may be also asked to "provide a statement to account for what has occurred" whether in written or video-recorded form. Even if the case investigation is then closed, it doesn't mean it will be closed permanently; if more evidence comes to light, Lincs Police pledge to review the case and carry out further investigations. Victims may also get support through Victims Lincs, including "access to a dedicated Complex Case Worker". The City of Lincoln Council website makes it clear that anyone can report a hate crime, including visitors to Lincolnshire and still encourage hate crime and incidents to be reported, even if there were no witnesses to the crime or incident.
The Hate Crime Strategy also states that the "Home Office has supported the development of a website to encourage the development of a website to engage greater reporting of transphobic hate crime and incidents (http://www.tcrime.net/)". I'm sure that Lincs police are making use of this reporting tool and will continue to do so in the future.
It's important therefore that all Lincs residents are aware of what the definition of hate crime entails, how they can report the hate crime and what actions will be taken by the police force to pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice. I believe this includes talking about hate crime as part of key Equality and Diversity training in public, private and third sector organisations across Lincolnshire and talking to secondary school children, college and university students about hate crime as part of pastoral care. I believe the more knowledge a person has of hate crime and the reporting system, the more likely they will be to report the hate crime and incident. Education, as is so often the case, is key.
Direct and indirect discrimination in daily life:
Much of the hate crime and incidents in the UK are taking place in public spaces. 33% of trans people have faced discrimination whilst visiting a cafe, restaurant, bar or nightclub. 47% of young trans people (aged 18-24) have faced such discrimination. 51% of trans people avoid venues because they fear being discriminated against. 35% of trans people have faced discrimination when in a department store or shop. 26% of trans people were discriminated against when visiting a bank or insurance company. 48%, nearly 1 in 2 trans people feel uncomfortable using public toilet facilities. These statistics make it clear that trans people face routine discrimination when trying to carry out day-to-day activities. The testimony from trans people in the survey makes grim reading: 21 year old Flynn has had people asking about their sex and genitals in inappropriate situations and he was sexually assaulted in the street in public with people grabbing their crotch and 28 year old Dylan was being barred from both male and female changing rooms because they "were not perceived as male or female enough to use them". Such behaviour exhibited by customers and staff needs to be combatted and every customer-facing organisation should have an Equality and Diversity policy which makes it clear that the organisation will not tolerate anti-LGBT+ hate crime and incidents being committed on their premises. I agree with Stonewall's recommendation that staff should learn how to treat LGBT+ customers, especially trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer and agender ones with respect. At the very least, all employees should be aware of the need to use a person's correct pronouns (especially if a trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer or agender person mentions the pronoun at the beginning of the conversation) and avoid asking any unnecessary or inappropriate questions. Any insults or inappropriate language uttered by employees should be investigated and disciplinary procedures followed stringently, including the use of formal written warnings, suspension and dismissal for repeat offenders. More organisations in Lincolnshire are beefing up their organisational policies and procedures but anti trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer and agender attitudes within the team need to be addressed head on and employees and customers alike should not be allowed to air their views during business opening hours. There are organisations in Lincoln who will support Lincoln Pride, including Siemens, Bond Housing Group and Lindum Fire Services (http://www.lincolnpride.co.uk/about) but it'd be good to see even more local organisations getting involved and showing solidarity with LGBT+ customers and employees.
Direct and indirect discrimination against LGBT+ in the housing market is equally unacceptable. Flatshare ads are being disseminated with statements such as "No Gay People" or "Preferred Housemate:Straight" (Marlow, 31 years old states that such ads are "quite common" in London). Estates agents are getting away with misgendering trans people and landlords are making completely inappropriate sexual remarks. Estates agents, as with any other customer-facing businesses definately have to ensure that internal Equality and Diversity training is delivered, with managers or team leaders undertaking a specific course such as the NCFE Level 2 in Equality and Diversity (a formal qualification which is nationally recognised and could count towards the Continuing Professional Development annual requirement). This will help boost the reputation of the estate/lettings agency as LGBT+ friendly as clients may recommend the agency online through review websites or social media and this could then lead to more LGBT+ clients choosing to go with the agency in the future. Housing associations must remind all residents of the need to treat fellow residents with respect and dignity and that includes refraining from using homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language. Targeted HBT bullying and harassment must be dealt with quickly, with perpetrators losing their right to continue the tenancy if they refuse to moderate their behaviour and encouraging victims of hate crime or incidents to report the perpetrators to the police as soon as possible so the case can be investigated meticulously.
The fact that LGBT+ social service users, especially from a British BAME background are being discriminated against is quite frankly unacceptable. Every person in the UK has the right to access social services free from being negatively stereotyped and judged and I am wholeheartedly behind Stonewall's recommendation that "mandatory training should be delivered to all social services staff to tackle anti LGBT+ discrimination and meet the specific needs of LGBT+ service users". The aim of the training should be to debunk stereotypes is essential and LGBT+ people should be involved in the creation of training materials and where possible, delivery of the course. Policies and procedures need to be updated by each local authority so that employees understand how to treat trans service users with respect and dignity. Employees who refuse to follow the new policies and procedures should be disciplined and offered the opportunity to undertake targeted training and if they refuse to take that training up, their position should be considered as it is not acceptable for public service members to continue discriminating against service users on the basis of their gender identity or expression/presentation. I also agree with the recommendation for local authorities to design and put up posters or disseminate leaflets that demonstrate to all service users that they are treating LGBT+ service users with respect and dignity. Such activities do not take much time but effective learning materials can really communicate a positive message, especially if LGBT+ social workers and other local authority employees have been involved in the production process.
From a personal point of view as a trans, non-binary Lutheran Christian, I am disappointed to see that LGBT+ people still face discrimination when attending a place of worship in the UK. Drilling down into the report figures, you find that 45% of BAME LGBT+ people have faced discrimination in places of worship compared to 26% of white LGBT+ people of faith. 38% of trans people who attend places of worship also stated they had faced direct discrimination. 27% of LGBT people believe that their religious community doesn't make them feel welcome and lesbians are less likely to feel welcomed than gay men (37% of lesbian respondents and 24% of gay respondents in the YouGov poll said this). These findings demonstrate the need for local faith leaders to play their part in welcoming LGBT+ people and calling out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) language and bullying, especially if they are aware of bullying taking place in their youth and community groups. Christian vicars, pastors, priests, churchwardens, deacons, rectors, sextons, vergers, vestrymen, elders and lay leaders for example should help to debunk stereotypes and support young and old LGBT+ parishioners alike. Giving sermons on Jesus' acts of compassion and reminding parishioners of His message of unconditional love for everyone (Matthew 5:12, Matthew 22:37-39). Unfortunately there are faith leaders and representatives who believe it is their right to make disgusting comments. I'm reminded of David Robertson, the former leader of the Free Church of Scotland who believes that LGBT+ inclusive Sex and Relationships Education at primary school age would lead to "state sponsored child abuse" because children would be taught age-appropriately about gender identity (http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/01/19/church-leader-claims-lgbt-inclusive-sex-ed-is-a-trojan-horse-for-child-abuse/comments/#disqus_thread). His views are vile and aim to spread fear and division rather than a message of love and compassion. He's not a role model to be followed. Instead, LGBT+ faith leaders should encourage the teaching of LGBT+ inclusive SRE as a way of reducing instances of HBT bullying in school and thus reduce the likelihood of those school students becoming perpetrators of anti LGBT+ hate crime in the future. Equally, if any HBT bullying happens during a Sunday School group session, the teacher should call it out straight away and reprimand the bully for not following Jesus' compassionate example. LGBT+ Christians should be aware that there are a number of faith organisations out there they can approach regardless of their denomination, including:
- One Body, One Faith, the Lesbian and Gay Christian movement founded in 1976 and whose aim is that "human sexuality in all its richness" be accepted as a "gift from God gladly to be accepted, enjoyed and honoured as a way of expressing and growing in love". One Body, One Faith (a quote from 1 Corinthians 12:12) advocates for trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer and agender Christians too, with Christians embracing the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity "present within the body of Christ to enrich that mission to be agents of transformation for all (http://www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk/).
- The Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians (EFLGC) set up in 1979 whose aims are to make LGBT+ Evangelical Christians and their allies welcome, valued as people and aware of God's presence and blessing. EFLGC welcomes Christians of any sexual orientation and any gender identity. EFLGC organises regional weekend conferences every spring and autumn and there are regional groups in some areas of the UK. EFLGC members also get two existing members who can provide information and advice (https://www.eflgc.org.uk/).
- Diverse Church (DC), set up by Reverend Sally Hitchiner, an Anglican priest in 2013 after meeting many young LGBT+ Christians who had experienced conversion therapy in an attempt to "cure" them of their homosexuality and others who had become depressed because they had experienced rejection and ridicule. DC won the 2016 award for "Most Innovative Youth Work" at the Christian Youth Work Awards. There are now "over 350 members between the ages of 18 and 30 in the UK and the Republic of Ireland" and they communicate over social media platforms and organise local and national meetings (http://diversechurch.website/)
Christian denominations across the UK are slowly becoming more welcoming towards LGBT+ people, with the Church of England General Synod recently voting to affirm, not just welcome trans people. According to Tina Beardsley, the fact that the Synod vote was so decisive "signals that this church, as an institution, is ready to align itself with the evidence base that endorses trans people's reality and their right to self-determination" (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/11/church-of-england-trans-gay-clergy-parishioners?CMP=share_btn_tw). However, Beardsley did recognise that non-binary people still face discrimination because we dare to challenge the gender-binary norm openly but she hopes that that non-binary people will eventually be accepted as well as trans binary ones.
Discrimination against LGBT+ people in sports participation and viewing has been highlighted in several reports over the last decade. The YouGov polling only adds to that existing body of evidence. 22% of trans people have experienced discrimination when attending a live sporting event and 51% of non-binary people said that they do not feel welcome attending sporting events. 38% of trans people avoid the gym or participating in grassroots sports groups and of those that do attend, 28% were discriminated against. Stonewall's recommendations include gyms and sports organisations making sure they have in place anti-bullying and harassment policies that are LGBT+ inclusive and look into potentially providing gender neutral changing facilities and(or at least) toilets so that trans, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer and agender people can change without fearing being insulted, harassed or physically/sexually assaulted. I agree with Stonewall that local sports venues need to do more to promote local and national LGBT+ sporting role models to encourage more LGBT+ people to consider joining their club and/or attend matches.
As this new Stonewall report has highlighted, there is still a long way to go before we truly achieve equality of opportunity and acceptance of differing sexual orientations and gender identities in the UK. It's incumbent on LGBTQIA+ (I prefer LGBTQIA+ to just writing LGBT+ myself) people such as myself and those who consider themselves allies to speak up against those who believe it's OK to commit hate crimes and incidents in the name of "free speech" or "freedom of expression". Insults should be call out, harassers and bullies reported to the police through third reporting channels or directly, employees should stand up for their colleagues and customers and report HBT language to their line manager so appropriate disciplinary action and faith leaders should continue standing up for their LGBTQIA+ parishioners by preaching a message of love and compassion and empowering them to become active members of their faith community. The #ComeOutForLGBT campaign, launched by Stonewall after they analysed the YouGov polling, shows that the LGBTQIA+ community has plenty of celebrity allies but also allies from all walks of life and from all social backgrounds. Let's continue working together to reduce rates of anti LGBTQIA+ hate crime in the UK and empower more individuals to feel free to truly be themselves in their public as well as private lives.