Act against hate crime
A TRANSGENDER bar steward has spoken out against homophobic hate crime which affects nine per cent of members from the LGBT community.
A recent report from Stonewall, which campaigns for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, showed that many members of the community are still at risk of suffering violent abuse and intimidation in Britain.
In the south west, 15 per cent of lesbian, gay, bisexual people experienced hate crime in the past three years, and 78 per cent of victims did not report it to the police.
April Fitchett, who is taking hormone treatment while waiting for a date for gender reassignment surgery, has spoken out against her own experiences of hate crime in Swindon.
The 23-year-old, from Liden, said: “I have had abuse thrown at me in the street and I have been threatened.
“Being trans you stand out a little bit to people. I have had people ask if I am a boy or a girl. But I seem to pass quite well with people.
“I think there should be a lot more openness and acceptance than there is, but it is a lot more different now than what it was a couple of years ago, which is probably because now there is more awareness of LGBT than there was years ago.”
Figures from a similar report show that hate crime against transgender and transsexual people are even worse. In a report from the University and College Union into transphobic hate crime in the European Union, 79 per cent of transgender people who responded in the UK had been insulted or harassed, and 67 per cent of those were trans-women.
But Home Office figures show that only two transphobic hate crimes were reported from 2011 to 2012.
April said: “It shows a lot of things are being under reported to the police.
“In some people’s experience when they report it, it’s not really taken seriously. For example, when my friend reported something to the police they asked her what her real name was, referring to the name she used to have.”
However, over the past two years, April has been surprised by the amount of understanding and acceptance she has experienced, especially from her GP, who she approached two years ago to start her journey to transition.
Those looking for support and advice can speak to their GP or hear other people’s experiences by visiting the Swindon Transgender Group website at swindon-tg-group.yolasite.com.