The LGBTQI+ community are five times more likely to experience hate crimes by a complete stranger than, suggests recent statistics.
According to research carried out by Stonewall, an LGBT equality charity, studies indicate that a shocking 1 in 5 people have experienced a hate crime whether physically or verbally due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This figure has risen by 78% since the year 2013 and unfortunately shows no signs of decreasing.
What is concerning about these figures is that a lot of incidents involving hate crimes and the LGBT community go unreported to the police, with a study showing that 4 in 5 people that have experience such hate did not report it to the police, for reasons such as fear, ‘snitching’ or not being taken seriously.
A victim of a several hates crimes, Bradley Hames, 18, says: “Possibly the worst one took place in London. Me and my ex left work and got on the bus to head home, I think it was about 2am and a bunch of teenagers started screaming at us and then one swung for me, but my ex pushed in-front of me to protect me and he ended up getting hit. The next day he his face was swollen, and his cheek was bruised, it was so scary.”
When asked if this incident was reported to the police Hames said: “Well, the whole bus had to be terminated and had to be escorted away by the police. The guys never got caught because they couldn’t track their oyster card details, so the case just had to be dropped.”
The rise in such figures are causing widespread panic amongst the LGBT community, causing them to constantly look over their shoulders even when walking down the street. The most common form of hate crime is verbal abuse and with as many as 9 in 10 people claiming to have experience such behaviour.
“I’ve met very few LGBT people who haven’t experienced some form of hate crime if I’m honest. I find it so crazy because in the last 5 years LGBT hates crimes have risen by something like 70% or 80%, even though as a whole the country is becoming more progressive” said Hames.
This kind of discrimination has left many people in the LGBT community fearing for their lives and worrying about how they will be perceived by the public in an open space. 17% of victims have been customers of local cafes, restaurants bars and clubs and even 1 in 7 have been harassed or discriminated in a shop due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This behaviour has to stop. I have worked here for 12 years and I have come to realise that the people that steal can and will come in all different shapes, sizes, colours, genders and everything else. I represent a store therefore discrimination is just unacceptable and will ultimately get me into a lot of trouble” said Israel Saria, 48, security guard at a department store.
Please visit Stonewall.org.uk for more information on how you can make a visible stand against LGBT hate crimes.