Pride month may be coming to an end, but the conversation will still, and must, continue. We share two stories from this week: data reveals transgender hate crimes are up 81% in the UK, and LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, akt, hosts a royal visit
As the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots approaches, stories and voices are coming to the surface, looking back at the last 50 years and how much, or how little, has changed. Steps have been made in how society sees the LGBTQ+ community, but so much still needs to be done.
While HRH The Duke of Cambridge spoke from a parent's perspective, promising to “fully support” his children no matter what, figures this week reveal the frankly frightening rise in reported transgender hate crime in recent years.
Figures reveal the number of transgender hate crimes has risen by 81%
Data obtained by the BBC reveals the number of transgender hate crimes recorded by police in the UK has risen by 81% this last financial year. Figures revealed that there were 1,944 reported crimes across 36 forces in 2018-19 compared with 1,073 in 2016-17.
Speaking of the latest figures, Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Traditionally, transphobia hate crimes have been significantly under-reported but we are working closely with trans groups to increase awareness and understanding of our staff; as well as to build confidence and trust in the police by the trans community.
“We believe some of the increase may be down to better reporting, however, there is always more that can be done.”
36 out of 44 police forces in England, Scotland and Wales responded fully to a BBC Freedom of Information request for their most up to date figures. Of the 36, only Suffolk Constabulary and Merseyside Police saw fewer recorded crimes in 2018-19 compared to 2016-17.
We need people to realise how severe the situation is for trans people, and to be active in standing up as a visible ally to trans people, in whatever way the can
The most significant, and most frightening data comes from West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police, who saw reported transgender hate crimes more than treble over the three years. In Wales, there were 82 reported crimes in 2018-19 compared to 37 in 2016-17.
Speaking to the BBC, Sue Pascoe was flagged as a vulnerable person by North Yorkshire Police following the amount of transgender hate abuse she had received.
“It’s a sad fact of life that this abuse is going to happen and I’ll challenge it whenever it does,” she said. “The trend for the last five years is nothing but going up and those divisions are in our society generally. For me, it’s one of the scariest times I’ve lived through and I’m 59 now.”
Laura Russell, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at Stonewall said: “These statistics are the real life consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere - from the front pages of newspapers, to social media, and our streets.
“We need people to realise how severe the situation is for trans people, and to be active in standing up as a visible ally to trans people, in whatever way the can.”
The Duke of Cambridge will “fully support” his children if they were LGBT
Earlier this week, the Duke of Cambridge visited LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, The Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) to officially open its new service, YouthSpace, ahead of the annual Pride in London parade and to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Meeting with the young ambassadors of the charity, the Duke spoke candidly about his position as a parent and the challenges still faced by those who identify as LGBT.
Talking about his own children, he said that while he “fully supports whatever decision they make”, what concerns him is the pressures they could face and the difficulties they may ensue.
“I wish we lived in a world where it was really normal and cool,” he said. “But, particularly for my family and the position that we are in, that’s the bit I’m nervous about.” He continued, “But that’s for all of us to try and help correct and make sure that we can put that to the past.”
Meeting some of the young people akt have worked with, who have faced homelessness and mental health difficulties as a result of coming out to their families, the Duke of Cambridge emphasised how important it is for parents to support their children, whatever their sexuality.
One of the young people who spoke with the Duke said: “To hear him say ‘I’d support my own children if they were in the LGBT community’ was great… To know that someone that important has your back is huge.”
On the royal visit, Tim Sigsworth MBE, Chief Executive at akt said: “akt is honoured to be welcoming His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge to our new London service centre, which is the first visit by a member of the Royal Family to a LGBTQ+ youth charity.
“The impact of homelessness is very damaging to LGBTQ+ young people, with high rates and incidences of mental health issues, sexual exploitation, substance misuse, HIV and sexual health issues. In this 30th anniversary year of akt, and as the first charity in the world to respond to the crisis of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, today’s visit from HRH The Duke Of Cambridge is a hugely significant step forward in raising awareness of this important issue.”