Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox was recently caught up in a transphobic attack in Los Angles. Addressing the issue in a 10 minute video to her Instagram followers, she said that ‘it’s not safe if you’re a trans person’ when a man ‘aggressively’ asked for the time whilst she was walking with a friend in the park. The man then proceeded to ask the friend if Cox was ‘guy or girl?’
Cox played Sophia Burset in Orange is the New Black and became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy Award. She said she has dealt with similarly transphobic incidents a lot in New York but that ‘it never fails to be shocking.’
This report from the US comes as UK crime statistics reveal that there has been a 25% increase in reports of transphobic hate crimes in the UK. The story of Tyler, a student from east London who tried to take his own life after he was bullied for being transgender is another harrowing, though not uncommon example of hate and abuse individuals experience.
Tyler’s abuse came amid a surge of transphobic hate crimes in London. In 2011, there were 59 transphobic attacks that were reported to the Met Police. At the end of 2019 this figure had increased to 283 recorded in a year. However, Commander Melanie Dales said that ‘the numbers are not reflective of the amount of actual transgender hate crime that there is’ as a lot of individuals fear coming forward.
Leni Morris, CEO of the LGBT+ anti-hate charity Galop said most transgender people experience at least one form of hate crime every year. The Met Police has said that it plans to appoint 250 advisors specialising in LGBT+ hate crime who would be trained to recognise the issues faced by London’s transgender community.
This issue extends far beyond London, and with numbers of hate crimes seemingly on the rise the need for an effective method of addressing this situation is more necessary than ever.