Call for local MPs to do more to combat rising transphobia

We recently wrote to every MP in Warwickshire to call on them to do something about transphobia in politics and the media. We will be publishing the responses and naming MPs who do not reply.

Below is the response from Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington:

Dear The Trustees of Warwickshire Pride,

Thank you for contacting me about LGBT+ hate crimes, on behalf of Warwickshire Pride. I commend the work each of you are doing to support LGBT+ people in Warwickshire.

I appreciate the thoughts that you have shared on this important issue. I am appalled that there were over 4,700 hate crimes committed against transgender people in the year leading to March 2023, a worrying 11% increase on the year before. While some have argued that the rising numbers are a result of better recording of hate crime, I do not believe that this accounts for the scale of the increase. In my view, there is a clear issue here, and reporting alone cannot explain it.

In December 2021, the Law Commission published its report on hate crimes. It highlighted that all five of the protected characteristics are not currently protected equally. Aggravated offences only apply in respect of racial and religious hostility, which can impact sentencing. The report recommended that all protected characteristics should be viewed equally by the law.

I want to see this recommendation accepted, strengthening and equalising the law so that anti-LGBT+ and disability hate crimes are also treated as aggravated offences. Every victim of a hate crime must be treated equally.

I also remain committed to the hiring of an additional 13,000 neighbourhood police officers. This will get police back on our streets and in our communities, so that they can build local relationships to combat hate crime and deter it through their visible presence. Our streets need to be safe, with a police and justice system fit for the future and that the LGBT+ community can trust to combat hate crime and bring the perpetrators of it to justice.

Furthermore, I note the concerns that you have raised regarding the rhetoric surrounding transgender people. The Home Office has acknowledged that the discussion of transgender issues by politicians, the media and social media may have led to an increase in hate crimes.

I believe that all LGBT+ people must be treated fairly, with dignity and with respect. Responsible politicians should take care when discussing these issues and should understand that this is not a debate to exploit, but rather people’s lives.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

Kind regards,

Matt Western MP

Below is the response from Marcus Jones, MP for Nuneaton:

Dear Trustees,

Thank you for your letter which I have read carefully.

I can assure you that the Government takes all forms of hate crimes seriously, and as such has a robust legislative framework in place to respond to hate crimes which target sexual orientation, transgender identity, disability, race and religion. The Government expects the perpetrators of these abhorrent offences to be brought to justice.

I am proud that this country is built on the historic values of unity, inclusivity, tolerance and mutual respect. Hate crime, in all its forms, goes directly against these values and it is completely unacceptable that anyone in our society should live in fear of intimidation or violence. We must stand up for diversity and face down discrimination wherever we see it.

Since the publication of the Hate Crime Action Plan in 2016 I have been encouraged by the progress that has been made, which has seen an increase in reporting and improvements in identification and recording of crime by the police. However, rates of attrition within the criminal justice system remain worryingly high and targeted online abuse continues to present a significant problem. While in contrast to overall trends, under-reporting still exists within specific groups.

As you mention the wide-ranging Law Commission review into hate crime included a number of recommendations around levelling up the protection for disability and LGBT victims, tackling sex and gender abuse, and protecting freedom of expression. The Government is currently reviewing the report and recommendations and I look forward to its full response in due course.

It is welcome that the Government has announced that on an experimental basis, police forces will be asked to identify and record any crimes of violence against the person, including stalking and harassment, as well as sexual offences where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex.

I am also particularly encouraged that the Government has committed to publishing a new Hate Crime Strategy that will set out plans to tackle these abhorrent crimes.

Hate crime of any kind is completely unacceptable. I continue to encourage any constituent who may have been the victim of a hate crime to speak out and contact the police. I welcome the Government’s support of Galop, the leading LGBT anti-violence charity. I understand the charity launched a new specialist hate crime helpline in February 2021.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Marcus Jones MP

We strongly encourage people to write to their own MP about the increasingly bigoted rhetoric used in politics and media regarding the transgender community.