Updated: Sunday, 5th July 2020 @ 5:57am

'Travelling is too dangerous if you're trans': Transphobic hate crimes go unreported EVERY DAY, say victims

'Travelling is too dangerous if you're trans': Transphobic hate crimes go unreported EVERY DAY, say victims

By Steven Brown

Hate crimes towards Manchester’s transgender community are continually going unreported due to their fractured relationship with police, claim members of the LGBT community.

Shocking hate crime figures released by Greater Manchester Police today reveal that less than 10% (303) of the 3,547 recorded in 2013 are over sexual orientation.

Of those, a mere 17 relate to hate crimes against transgender people – a figure that many in the LGBT community feel is dramatically misrepresentative.

Numerous transgender people have come forward to MM to describe the nightmare of travelling by public transport, whether it be buses, trains, trams or even taxis, where they can be subjected to taunts, abuse and even violence.

Alex Drummond, a member of the trans community, said: “I mostly avoid public transport – it’s just too dangerous for a trans girl.

“I wouldn’t travel by bus because it tends to attract the roughest of boys who are the biggest problem.

“If I travel by train I go first class but need to avoid a day when football fans will be on the train.

“Many trans folk avoid public transport for the same reasons.”

Jenny-Anne Bishop, the Coordinator for Transforum and part of the All Wales Hate Crime Research Project, told MM about her experience of being a victim of hate crime when she was going to Hampshire for a job by train.

“I waited for a while and when the taxi came there was a man in the front seat and by his actions he was some friend of the driver,” Jenny-Anne said.

“I asked if this is the taxi for Miss Bishop and he replied ‘you’re a fucking tranny’ and I said ‘no I’m not’.”

Jenny-Anne said he continued to insult her and eventually she was forced to call the police.

The man demanded to know why she had done this.

“I said ‘it is hate crime. I feel threatened by you’. I was quite shocked and upset about this. I wanted to get on the train and go home,” added Jenny-Anne.

Hate crimes are regarded as offences that target a person because of hostility towards their religion, race, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity or some other prejudice.

 “I felt quite threatened and scared as I was alone when it happened,” added Jenny-Anne.

Another transgender person (who preferred not the be named) told MM that riding on the Metrolink service into Manchester was often a terrifying experience, so much so that she now actively avoids it.

On one occasion she had been endured a torrent of abuse and even spat upon by a group of youths while riding on the Metrolink.

“If somebody or even a group of people decide to abuse you on a tram you feel trapped,” she said.

“Between stops there is little you can do. I know there is an emergency button if I was ever violently attacked, but when it is verbal abuse it is hard to know what to do. It was horrible.

"The first time I reported the incident to the police, but nothing came of it. It happens too often to me to even bother now, I just have to try to forget about it.

"From speaking to other members of the trans community, many feel the same. There must be transphobic hate crimes going unreported every day."

Metrolink is a proud supporter of Manchester Pride and provides wristband wearers with free city centre travel on trams during the Pride weekend.

They take a zero-tolerance attitude towards any hate crime on the public transport network and encourage anyone with information about it to contact Greater Manchester Police so it can be looked into.

There is CCTV and help points that are present on every tram and Metrolink stop and the staff work closely with GMP and have a number of measures in place to benefit passenger safety.

Joint patrols with the police are also regular events and tram drivers have direct contact with the Metrolink control room in the unusual event of an incident on board a tram requiring support.

A TfGM spokesperson said: “They reserve the right to prosecute individuals or groups and have done so in the past if a crime is committed on our property or against a member of TfGM staff.

“The message is simple: Do not do it.”

Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, are trying to stamp out homophobic hate crime and their research shows that one in six lesbian, gay and bisexual people have been a victim of hate crime over the last three years.

More than three quarters of victims did not report what they had experienced to the police, according to Stonewall.

A soon-to-be published report commissioned by the GMP worked with members the trans community to help design the survey.

However out of the 215 people asked only 102 responded and 91.2% said they were targeted because of their trans appearance/identity.

According to the report more than 30% said they were very dissatisfied with the police when they did report it.

All Wales Hate Crime Research Project have produced many surveys about victims of hate crime and according to the Time for Justice Report 46% of transphobic hate crime victims admitted they had thoughts of suicide.  

Of the transender hate crime victims that do not report incidents to the police, almost a quarter (21%) stated they did not do so because of a previous bad experience, according to Stonewall.

This week is Greater Manchester’s Hate Crime Awareness Week and the Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd is expected to host a discussion on tackling hate crime.     

Jenny-Anne hopes that members of Manchester’s trans community will come to the meeting so that they can tell Mr Lloyd what it is like to be a trans person.

She added: “We must teach children that difference is a positive thing.”

Anyone who witnesses any sort of hate crime should contact the police or phone the Hate Crime Number directly on: 0800 405050.

Picture courtesy of Stephen Shingler, with thanks.

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