“An increasingly hostile environment”

Hate crimes against trans people in Scotland have doubled since 2015, the Daily Record reports. It’s almost as if having almost all of your country’s newspapers and high-profile social media users constantly portraying you as perverts, paedophiles and rapists has an effect.

I’ve written before about the false claim that the rise in numbers is fuelled by “snowflakes” reporting arseholes misgendering them on Twitter. It isn’t, because being an arsehole isn’t a crime (although there are laws about malicious communications such as harassment and threatening behaviour online). Hate crimes are crimes that are aggravated by hatred towards particular groups; if something isn’t a crime, it can’t be a hate crime and won’t be recorded as such.

Most hate crimes happen in the street, in public spaces or in the workplace. For trans people they tend to be verbal abuse, physical attacks or sexual assault. Stonewall’s investigation into trans people’s lives is full of saddening statistics and horrific experiences.

We aren’t rushing to report fabricated hate crimes; quite the opposite. I haven’t reported the various incidents I’ve experienced, which have been humiliating and sometimes frightening; I know I should but I also know that the people who did it won’t be caught. Four-fifths of trans people feel the same: according to Stonewall, 79% of us haven’t reported hate crimes we’ve experienced.

What happens instead is that we become more afraid. Many trans people won’t come out at work for fear of trouble, fear that’s entirely justified: one in twelve trans people has been physically attacked at work by a colleague or customer. Two in five of us adjust how we dress to try and avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention; nearly half of us avoid certain streets altogether because we don’t feel safe there.

The constant drumbeat of anti-trans bullshit in the media and on social media fuels that. We’ve seen the same pattern in all kinds of bigotry: when racists, homophobes or transphobes believe that they’re “thinking what everybody else is thinking”, it emboldens them.

Here’s Esme, from Scotland, as quoted by Stonewall.

We are constantly questioned on our existence, treated hostilely and ridiculed in the name of debate. We are constantly exposed to hate and criticism in media and daily life as the public respond to the media’s attitudes.

It’s exhausting, and there’s no end in sight.