Trans hate crime rise is ‘tip of the iceberg’

Hate crimes against people from the transgender community have seen a rise in being reported
Hate crimes against people from the transgender community have seen a rise in being reported
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Hate crimes against people from the transgender community have seen a rise in being reported - but police chiefs know they are only the tip of the iceberg.

During 2014/15, there were 15 hate crimes against transgender people reported to Lancashire Police.

The trans community has always been there but it used to be very hidden from people

But this year, just from April to the end of August, there had already been 13 transgender hate crimes reported.

In the last five years, there have been 93 transgender hate crimes reported to Lancashire Police.

PC Ian Ashton, community cohesion officer at Lancashire Police overseeing hate crimes in West Division covering Blackpool and Lancaster, says: “The trans community are where the gay community were about 15 years ago.

“The trans community has always been there but it used to be very hidden from people.

“There is now a lot more information which is making people aware of the trans community and there are more people who are out and trans.

“Everyone is different and to target someone because they are trans or because of their gender identity is not acceptable.

“We would not want to see anyone targeted because of who they are.

“However, we know there is a reluctance for people to report transgender hate crimes to the police.

“This may be down to a fear of reprisals or because how they have been dealt with by the police in the past or because they do not want to be identified.

“We want people to come forward and report any hate crimes and incidents to us.

“A lot of people who are victims of hate crimes might not necessarily want to go to court. They just want it to stop.

“There are ways of us protecting people where they can remain anonymous.

“It is not just about arresting people and taking them to court.

“As a police force, we want to know these things are happening so we can put something in place from a police point of view.

“We also have third party avenues and other agencies that people can report hate crimes through to us.

“But we want to break down barriers and allow people from the trans community to have the confidence to speak to us.”

A West Lancashire transwoman, who did not want to be identified, said: “My parents and society in general didn’t talk about it and when they did, it was treated with ridicule.

“I would be called a freak, a pantomime dame, a bloke in a dress, a weak excuse for a human being and that I would end up homeless, penniless and living in the gutter.

“The police are now far more aware of hate crime than they used to be and what they need to do to step in.”