The news reported this week that “a 13-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with attacking members of a LGBT youth club”, according to the BBC.
stonewall.org.uk defines homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crimes or incidents as “motivated by the offender's hostility or prejudice towards lesbian, gay, bi or trans people. It is a hate crime if someone shouts homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse at someone in the street, or physically attacks them because they think they're gay, lesbian, bi or trans.”
Homophobic hate crimes have been in the news for some time now. And it sadly looks like reports of angry behaviour of different people towards members of the LGBT+ community are getting more and more.
According to the BBC “recorded reports of homophobic abuse in the UK increased from 5,807 in 2014-15, to 13,530 in 2018-19. But during the same period, the number of prosecutions fell from 1,157 to 1,058 - from 20% of all reports to 8%.”
Lee Broadstock, the secretary for the national LGBT+ police network said: “We have seen an increase in confidence in victims to report it to us and I think that’s where that increase has come from. We have improved confidence of people to report, but they are reporting some of the lower-level incidents, some of the shouting in the streets, a lot of the online hate is being reported to us.”
People are no longer afraid to report abusive behaviour, which is the first step in correcting this huge problem.
Although in the past decades different laws have been passed to protect victims of hate crimes, it looks like it is still not clear what these include and not enough training for them to be successfully applied.
In the paper ‘Legislating to Address Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community in the Commonwealth’ by Kay Goodall and Mark Walters they state: “It is important to note that U.S. law enforcement agencies reporting hate crime statistics do not collect statistics based on gender identity. In addition, in a study of eight comparative police departments, local law enforcement agencies often did not have the training to distinguish between a hate crime based on the sexual orientation of a victim and one based on a victim’s gender identity (Cronin, McDevitt, Farrell and Nolan, 2007).”
According to the research overview ‘Hate Crimes and Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People” by Michelle A. Marzullo and Alan J. Libman 68% of people favour including sexual orientation and gender identity in federal hate crimes law.
‘Prevention of Homophobia Through Education’ believes there is a strong link between homophobic hate crimes and education.
“The education of people working with children and youth in the area of providing information about sexual orientation, gender identity, homophobia prevention, hate crime and hate-speech is almost non-existent. As a result, homophobia and prejudices against the LGBTI community are still present in the society, often even more so between youth, what often leads to bullying.”
We do live in a time of change. Sometimes and in some parts of the world, these changes come quicker or slower. But the fact that after this big debate LGBT+ history is starting to be taught in schools is great news and will help fight homophobia and hate crimes.
We do live in a time of change, however, these changes take different lengths of time to be implemented and accepted depending on the country/region. But the fact that after this big debate LGBT+ history is starting to be taught in schools is great news and will help fight homophobia and hate crimes.
In the USA, Illinois marked the fourth state to require schools to teach LGBT+ history. In the UK BBC reported earlier this month that “it is up to primary schools to choose what they teach about same-sex relationships and that they encourage schools to teach children about LGBT+ issues, if they “consider it age appropriate”.
According to Laura Russell, the director of campaigns policy and research at Stonewall, the rise in hate crimes showed there was a long way to go before the LGBT community was accepted in British society. “We are still not living in a society where every LGBT person is able to achieve their potential and not have to live in fear of physical or verbal violence for being who they are,” she said.
When an LGBT+ person is fully accepted into every society, homophobic hate crimes will only be taught in schools as LGBT+ history.