Thursday 17 May is the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOTB). The day aims to draw the issues faced by LGBT people across the world to the attention of decision-makers, the media, local authorities and the public.
So, what is the reality for LGBT people living in Wales today?
- the number of lesbian, gay and bi people in Wales who have experienced hate crime has increased by 82% in five years, from 11% in 2013 to 20% in 2017;
- almost one in four LGBT people (23%) have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months;
- half of transgender people (52%) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months;
- one in ten LGBT people (11%) have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse or behaviour online directed towards them personally in the last month, this increase to one in four trans people (24%), and
- four out of five LGBT people (82%) who experienced a hate crime or incident did not report the incident to the police.
- Officially recorded hate crime statistics for Welsh police forces in 2016-17 are):
The Stonewall survey also found that one in five LGBT people (19%) who visited a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last 12 months have been discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, which increases to 32% for trans people. More than third of LGBT people (36%) say that they avoid certain bars and restaurants due to fear of discrimination, while more than half of trans people (55%) avoid certain venues.
One in ten LGBT people (10%) who were looking for a house or flat to buy or rent in the last year felt discriminated against. One in eight LGBT people (14%) accessing social services in the last year have been discriminated against, while almost three in ten (28%) who visited a faith service or place of worship in the past 12 months experienced discrimination.
Tackling hate crime
In May 2014 the Welsh Government published its Tackling Hate Crimes and Incidents: A Framework for Action, which aims to prevent hate crime, support the victims of hate crime and improve the multi-agency response to hate crime. This framework is supported by an annually updated delivery plan, along with annual progress reports, with the latest delivery plan and progress report being those for 2016-17.
Reporting hate crime
While Victim Support has been commissioned by the Welsh Government as the Official National Hate Crime Report and Support Centre for Wales, with the aim of increasing the reporting of all hate crimes and hate incidents and to offer support to victims of these offences, Stonewall’s LGBT in Wales: Hate Crime and Discrimination suggests that more needs to be done.
It recommends that the Welsh Government should develop and deliver a new national framework for tackling hate crime and supporting victims, working with devolved and non-devolved agencies to increase reporting rates, improve responses and support for victims.
Stonewall also suggests that all police forces should:
- Improve training for all its police officers and frontline staff to identify and record homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes, better support victims and bring perpetrators to justice;
- Engage regularly with LGBT people, and analyse hate crime trends in their area, including across protected characteristics, to target prevention towards those LGBT people most at risk; and
- Improve confidence in reporting by publicly communicating their commitment to tackling anti-LGBT hate crimes and making reporting easier, working with local LGBT groups and third party reporting centres.
- The Leader of the House will make a statement on the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on Tuesday, 15 May.
Article by Megan Jones, National Assembly for Wales Research Service