The ILGA-Europe has published its review on the rating of 49 European countries and their laws, policies and situations for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people.
The key takeaway from this is that there has been "a severe rise in 2021 of anti-LGBTI rhetoric from politicians and other leaders," which has resulted in an increase of violence towards the community. This was reported Europe-wide.
The statistics for the UK are severely depressing - the country has fallen from 10th to 14th on the list. Here's a snapshot:
- In England and Wales, homophobic hate crimes increased by 7%.
- In England and Wales, transphobic hate crimes increased by 3%.
- In England and Wales, hate crimes based on sexual orientation increased by 12%.
- In Scotland, homophobic hate crime increased for the sixth year in a row.
- In Northern Ireland, homophobic incidents increased by 16% - a record high since 2004/2005.
- In Northern Ireland, transphobic hate crimes have increased, but the law only covers sexual orientation, so must be treated as homophobic incidents.
- In the UK, mainstream newspapers ran one or more anti-trans articles every day.
- The government cut funding for anti-LGBT+ bullying programmes.
- 46% of LGBT+ students feel unsafe at school.
- 91% of LGBT+ students have heard negative language about being LGBT+ in the past year.
- 82% of LGBT+ students in Northern Ireland have contemplated suicide. For non-LGBT+ peers, the figure is a quarter of that.
- 79% of LGBT+ students in Scotland have contemplated suicide.
- 73% of LGBT+ students in Wales have contemplated suicide.
- 67% of LGBT+ students in England have contemplated suicide.
- LGBT+ students are twice as likely to be bullied than non-LGBT+ students.
The report is stark - and I'm not even mentioning the challenges faced by LGBT+ asylum seekers in the UK, nor the conversion therapy ban being stalled - the furore about self ID; the LGBT+ Advisory Panel for the government quitting; an active hate group gaining charity status; the media assault on Stonewall; LGBT+ homelessness, gender affirming healthcare ... the list could go on and on.
What kind of country do I live in where my very existence is threatened with violence?
The figures I've highlighted above are disgusting - and the government should be thoroughly ashamed but they won't be, because it's clear to see that they don't care about LGBTQ* people or the community.
So what does this mean for me? I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, making materials that represent all people. In June, I'll be starting the LGBT Foundation Champions training which I hope will lead me on to future endeavours. And possibly I'll start becoming more active in physical activism ... the anxiety that has held me back before needs to be taken under control because the LGBTQ* community is suffering in this country. I'm going to further my efforts to get involved with an LGBTQ* charity. I'm also going to be unapologetically queer, proudly gay and an ally to the lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex communities.
So, here is my call to action - what are YOU going to do to help reverse this worrying trend of bias, violence and hate against the LGBTQ* community?
I'd also be grateful if anyone could point me in the direction of similar reports for outside Europe.