It has been revealed that hate speech spread by politicians and the press has resulted in one of the most “violent years for LGBTQ+ people in over a decade.”
A report released today by the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) claimed that the rhetoric led to “life or death consequences” last year.
In the 12th annual report for the group, the report stated that “attacks on LGBTI people with a conscious and deliberate will to kill and injure have increased to unprecedented levels.”
And when it comes to the UK, both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were accused of “causing serious damage” to LGBTQ+ rights. Of course, Johnson has regularly publicly supported moves that marginalise members of the LGBTQ+ community, such as since-reversed plans to remove trans people from a ban on conversion therapy – and his support of banning trans women from elite sports.
As we all know, the anti-trans ideologies haven’t left Number 10 since Johnson’s resignation, with Sunak picking up where he left off. The new Prime Minister has previously stated that “trans women are not women” and that equality law should clarify that “sex means biological sex rather than gender.”
However, as the report reveals, it’s not just hate speech that is rising, with anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes reaching “dramatic numbers” in the UK in 2022. “The Home Office’s annual statistics report highlighted that homophobic hate crimes increased by 41 per cent and transphobic hate crimes by 56 per cent, in England and Wales,” the report said – marking the largest annual increase since 2012.
Shockingly, homophobic hate crimes have doubled in the last five years, rising from 10,003 in 2016-17 to 26,824 in 2021-22. Violence against trans people increased by 240% during the same period, which ILGA-Europe credits to “hate speech from politicians and anti-trans media reporting.” Sadly, conservative media over the past year has regularly sought to aimlessly attack trans issues, with huge media personalities, including Piers Morgan, regularly spreading hateful rhetoric.
Overall, ILGA-Europe said the year didn’t start off too well for the UK after the Council of Europe compared it to Russia and Poland in January 2022. The human rights organisation that stretches 47 member states said the UK has seen “gender critical and anti-trans narratives which reduce the right for equality” fuelling “virulent attacks” against queer people.