Lies, damned lies about statistics

Yesterday, the BBC reported a massive increase in hate crimes against trans people. The online response was utterly predictable: the anti-trans faux-feminists decided that Stonewall had managed to infiltrate every level of every police force in the UK in order to churn out fake statistics; in slightly less unhinged circles a very worrying number of people argued that hate crimes against trans people “serve them right” for “shoving their lifestyles down people’s throats”. That old classic.

More insidiously, many commenters claimed that the numbers were a reflection of trans people as easily triggered snowflakes who go clutching their pearls to the police at the slightest provocation – a trope that’s often published by some of the worst anti-trans bigots in the media and clearly believed by too many people. Some of them shared links to supposed free speech martyrs who’d been visited by the police, apparently unaware that in every single case the people concerned had been warned – not prosecuted; warned – after engaging in months-long campaigns of abuse and harassment against specific people. Which, y’know, is illegal.

The idea of trans people and LGBT people generally as touchy offence-seekers is completely at odds with the reality, where many of us hide our identities to avoid abuse: many LGBT people aren’t open about their relationships at work for fear of abuse and discrimination; many trans people, trans women especially, don’t present in their correct gender at work because of similar fears. Simply holding our partners’ hands in public is too dangerous for two-thirds of us to contemplate.

And as for reporting abuse, here’s a key bit of information courtesy of Stonewall:

If hate crimes against trans people are up by 81%, and 80% of hate crimes against trans people go unreported, there’s clearly a very serious problem.

Meanwhile in the US, where bigotry is even more visible than it is here, trans women of colour – the very group that kicked off the Stonewall riots and the modern LGBT rights movement – face an epidemic of murderous violence. The linked article is a hard read.