Over the last 6 years this country has experienced a rise in hate crime against minority or disadvantaged groups of people, this isn’t hearsay, its government data. It is no coincidence that when the campaigning to leave the European Union started and the immigration ‘debate’ began hate crime in all recorded areas (Race/Religion, Disability, LGBT+) started to increase. After the vote in 2016 this increased further and has seen a steady year on year rise.
Our region is no exception to this with the rate of increase sometimes being faster than other parts of the country.
Hate crimes against LGBT+ people are disproportionally increasing, in the last year hate crimes against members of LGBT+ population rose by 19%. That equates to over 50 a day, with crimes ranging from verbal abuse to serious assault and murder.
While statistics can be shocking they don’t reveal the damage these attacks can do to people, physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Galop, the countries leading anti-abuse LGBT+ Charity spoke to victims of LGBT+ Hate Crime as part of its research into this. Participants revealed the depth to which their lives had been impacted upon by hate crime;
“I was attacked, they kicked me in the back and punched me, they shouted abuse at me and stole my phone and they broke my back”.
“I ended up losing teeth due to an assault”.
“I still have to walk with crutches because there is no feeling in my right leg and it gives way on me, so I have to use crutches so I don’t fall over”.
“It caused depression and anxiety to the point of attempted suicide”.
“It made me afraid to go out, as I was scared I would be assaulted, [receive] more verbal abuse or worse”.
“It makes me think really carefully about what I say, do or wear to make sure it’s not too gay”.
We live in a very superficial world that is heavily influenced by social media, we frequently hear people telling us that “if you can’t say anything kind, say nothing” when the truth of the matter is that those who don’t want to be kind are growing in number.
It is really sickening to think that in 2021 LGBT+ people still have to endure being treated this way, and still live in fear of assault, when is it going to end?