Homophobia is not on the rise

Jun 20, 2019 by

by Fraser Myers, spiked:

The horrific attack on a lesbian couple on a London bus has rightfully caused disgust and outrage. But according to many observers, attacks like this are a normal occurrence in Brexit Britain – a nation apparently rife with violent prejudice.

The Guardian carried a piece by one of the victims of the attack, which warned that the public’s sympathy for her and her partner was itself proof of the nation’s bigotry: it was only because we are racist and transphobic that we took any interest at all, apparently.

The same paper also produced some incredibly alarming statistics on the apparent state of hate in Britain today. Allegedly, England and Wales are in the grip of a ‘surge’ in homophobic and transphobic hate crime. ‘The rate of LGBT hate crime per capita rose by 144 per cent between 2013-14 and 2017-18’, it reports. Hate-crime hotspots like South Yorkshire and Hampshire experienced even larger surges, it claims, with police-recorded crimes rising by 376 per cent and 189 per cent in the same period, respectively.

To make matters worse, according to LBGT campaigners, this rise in hate crime doesn’t even capture the true extent of the hatred out there. Taz Edwards-White, alliance manager at equalities and diversity organisation Metro, told the Guardian that the hate-crime figures were likely to be ‘the tip of the iceberg’. She and other campaigners say this rise could be down to the rise of right-wing populism.

The truth is rather different. Every year for the past five years, the release of police-recorded data on hate crime has been accompanied by panicked media reports of a hate-crime surge. But as last year’s Home Office report made abundantly clear, large increases ‘are due to the improvements made by the police in their identification and recording of hate-crime offences and more people coming forward to report these crimes rather than a genuine increase’ (emphasis mine).

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