As part of Hate Crime Awareness Week, we spoke to Bea from Scunthorpe about her experiences. Transgender hate crime is one of the lowest reported in our area, making up 7.6% of all hate crime reported in Humberside. However, it has risen significantly in recent years and we would ask anyone who has been subjected to transgender hate crime to report it.
What does being transgender mean to you and what, if any changes, have you had to make?
I’m transgender, bisexual, I have functional neurological disorder (FND) that puts me in a wheelchair, and I have Tourette’s syndrome which is a registered disability.
Being transgender to me means living as my true, authentic self and not hiding any more. Having Tourette’s and being in a wheelchair due to FND have made me feel vulnerable as I can be targeted due to my tics, targeted during a seizure, and being in a wheelchair makes me in many ways defenceless.
I have been beaten up, spat on, shouted at, and harassed for being different. This makes me feel weaker.
Since coming out, I avoid many areas and won’t go socialising in “regular” places, I aim for LGBTQA venues instead. Also, I avoid busy places due to my tics.
How do you feel when you’re targeted due to your protected characteristic?
When I’m targeted, not only is it deeply upsetting but there is lasting damage as it causes my anxiety to rise. I feel lost due to questioning why people hate me for who I am, and sometimes angry that I can’t be free to live as me.
What would you change or what would you like to see happen with regards to hate crime?
I would like to see hate crime be taken more seriously by the Crown Prosecution System (CPS), for many things seen as hate incidents be recognised as hate crime as they should be, and for police forces nationwide to all have the same stance.
How are we working with you and the communities?
Very well through the Independent Advisory Group (IAG), but the frontline regular staff are not as clued up as the Community Cohesion Officers (CCOs).
What could we do better?
Be more visible about campaigns for minority communities, maybe have more campaigns all year round which show equality isn’t political.
Thanks to Bea for giving up her time to speak to us.
You can report hate crime in various ways: