Hate Crime Rates in the U.K. Increase Nearly 80 Percent, New Report Finds

· Updated on May 28, 2018

A disturbing report from YouGov released this week shows that homophobia is alive and well in the United Kingdom: Around one in five LGBTQ people claims to have been the victim of a hate crimeor 21 percent.

The number of people targeted for their sexual orientation has increased more than 78 percent from four years ago.

The survey, which polled more than 5,000 members of the LGBTQ community, revealed a number of alarming findings. Forty-one percent of trans people allege that they have been the victim of a bias attack in the past 12 months. Nearly a third of LGBTQ people with disabilities (27 percent) say they’ve been subjected to abuse or violence in the same time span. A slightly higher percentage of queer people of color (34 percent) claim to have been targeted for a hate crime.

LGBTQ people surveyed by YouGov attest to the difficulty of being visible in daily life, even despite recent advances in equality. The U.K. legalized same-sex unions in 2013.

The survey respondents claim that they’ve been spit on, punched, stalked, and sexually assaulted. George, 29, claimed that someone poured a drink over his head at a bar and called him a “faggot.”

Ffion, 42, was tossed out of a cab by the driver after kissing her girlfriend. Ava, 56, said that someone threatened to slit her throat.

Thirty-six percent of LGBTQ people claimed that they were concerned about holding hands with a same-sex partner in public, in fear they would be harassed. This figure climbs to 58 percent among gay men.

Researchers note that this data should be taken into context. When the survey was conducted four years ago, queer and trans victims were less likely to report a hate crime. But even as things have somewhat improved, that remains an issue in the current survey. Results show that 56 percent of trans youth between the ages of 15 and 24 and 33 percent of queer young people have been harassed or attacked in the past year. But just 12 percent reported it to police.

Ruth Hunt, CEO of the LGBTQ rights group Stonewall, said that the results of the YouGov survey should serve as a “call to action for everyone who supports equality.”

“This report warns against complacency,” Hunt said on Wednesday. “We now need to work together, to bring forward the day when no individual faces hatred or discrimination simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Stonewall, who released the findings on its website, timed the survey to coincide with the group’s “Come Out for LGBT” campaign. The London-based equality organization is asking people to help create “a world where everyone, everywhere can be themselves” by combating homophobia in their daily lives.

You can sign the pledge on Stonewall’s website.

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