Keep your guard up

We are living in an amazing time for gay culture. Soon one of the last institutional inequalities will be gone and there will be legal same sex marriage (or there is depending on when you read this). Gay people can already adopt, serve openly in the military, and can’t be fired for their sexual orientation. As we said, it’s a great time.

But recent news should remind us that we still have to be wary of dangers. Steven Simpson’s death is back in the press as Jordan Sheard, 20, gets a lenient sentence for setting his balls on fire.  Sheard is sentenced to three and a half years for manslaughter.

The most up to date figures from the government show that gay hate crime is the second only to race hate crime. In England and Wales  there were 4,252 cases of LGB hate crime between 2011 and 2012. There was also 315 cases of transgender hate crime.

Although homophobic crime is not as high as racist crime LGBT people are still at risk. In Scotland LGB reported hate crime rose by 46 per cent to 652. Although this is likely due to people feeling they can approach the police it is still a worrying figure.

A report from the Crown Prosecution Service shows provides more information about the cases of homophobia from 2011-2012 specifically towards older people. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the government body that brings criminal cases to the courts.

The CPS report showed that the three areas of England Wales that showed the biggest increase of reported homophobia and transphobia were the East Midlands (28%), the South West (12.5%), and London (4.3%).

This OpenHeatMap shows what the prosecution numbers were across England and Wales during 2011-2012.

For legal reasons little can be said about the victims except that 57.6% were men while 29.8% were women. But more can be said about the defendants in the trials. A significant majority were men (84.2%) and most of them were white British (72.6%). The largest age group was 25-59 (54.6%) while the second largest was 18-24 (28%).

Interestingly the CPS reports figures for the number of hate crimes done by kids 10-17. These figures have dropped substantially. The number of defendants who are 10-13 is now 1.7% (down from 2.3%). While the defendants who are 14-17 has more than halved to 11.8% from 24.8%.

Although these figures are for older LGBT people there is likely little difference with younger LGBT people. To avoid contributing to these stats make sure you are sensible when out-whether it’s in your high heels or not. Don’t be overly fabulous if you don’t know the area. Don’t walk by yourself in dodgy neighbourhoods. It’s unfair that we still have to watch what we do, but best to be safe. Bullies pick on easy targets, don’t be one of them.


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