Nearly three quarters of trans people in the UK have faced verbal abuse in the last year, shocking new figures from a leading LGBTQ+ charity have revealed.
Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, has shared new data which highlights the raft of vile abuse both LGBTQ+, and non-LGBTQ+, young people face in the wake of rising homophobic and transphobic rhetoric.
The figures are part of a new report by the charity called Positive Futures, set to be published on 1 June, which examines the experiences of LGBTQ+ young adults in the UK.
The report will cover a range of topics including wellbeing, home life, school and work, as well as taking into account intersectional identities such as faith, race and disability.
Carried out by market researcher Cibyl on behalf of Just Like Us, the study surveyed 3,695 adults aged 18 to 25.
The research found in the past year 61 per cent of LGBTQ+ young adults have experienced verbal abuse.
Within these figures, a staggering 72 per cent of trans young adults faced verbal abuse in that time frame.
After trans people, non-binary (70 per cent) asexual (68 per cent) young adults were then the most likely to report verbal abuse in the last 12 months.
The research also found nearly half (47 per cent) of non-LGBTQ+ young adults have also faced anti-LGBT+ verbal abuse during the previous 12 months, despite not being queer.
Amy Ashenden, interim CEO of Just Like Us, said it is “devastating” to see a majority of trans young people have faced verbal abuse and it is a “sign of the often terrifyingly transphobic times we are living in here in the UK”.
“The levels of abuse faced by LGBT+ young adults are completely unacceptable,” she said.
“It’s hard to believe that in 2023, LGBT+ young people are still being subjected to verbal abuse and violence, and that anti-LGBT+ attacks are so prevalent that they are even being directed at non-LGBT+ young people.”
‘Vital’ we take LGBTQ+ inclusion ‘seriously’
The Just Like Us research also found that when it comes to physical abuse, both LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ young people face similar levels (25 per cent and 24 per cent respectively).
However, when examined in terms of identity these results shot up for those who are lesbian (30 per cent), asexual (32 per cent) and gay men (31 per cent).
LGBTQ+ young adults were significantly more likely than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts to say the physical abuse they experienced was sexual abuse (50 per cent opposed to 30 per cent).
Within this, young lesbians were the most likely to have faced sexual abuse (57 per cent) whilst asexual young people were the group with the highest likelihood of experiencing domestic abuse (44 per cent).
“It is absolutely vital that we start taking LGBT+ inclusion seriously, and that schools all over the UK give young people positive messages about LGBT+ identities, otherwise I fear that these figures will only increase,” Ashenden added.
“A great place to start for schools UK-wide is signing up for School Diversity Week, so that teachers can access our free and easy-to-use resources and let all of their pupils know that being LGBT+ is something to be celebrated and proud of.”
Most top dating apps are entirely inclusive of trans people, which will come as terrible news to transphobes who are still raging over lesbian dating app HER’s ongoing support of its transgender users.
In recent weeks, HER has faced the vitriol of anti-trans bigots expressing outrage that the platform, which has been trans-inclusive “since day one”, welcomes trans and non-binary people.
And it’s not just HER. Leading dating apps such as Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge and Grindr are all trans inclusive and have zero-tolerance policies when it comes to transphobia on their platforms.
The pile-on faced by HER resulted in its Twitter account being temporarily suspended on Lesbian Visibility Day (26 April), after bigots reported it en masse. It has now been reinstated.
Robyn Exton, HER’s founder and chief executive, told PinkNews that the anti-trans hate was not slowing the team down and, instead, they are using it as an opportunity to double down and “to make our position exceptionally clear”.
Exton explained: “It’s kind of absurd that we’re now getting this vitriol, saying that we’re a lesbian app that is ‘now promoting’ inclusion of trans women. It always has, since day one.”
Transphobes enraged at HER’s policies will be hard-pressed to find a mainstream dating app that specifically excludes trans people.
Arguably the best-known dating app in the world, Tinder is often the first platform people new to the online dating world venture on to – and is open to the entire LGBTQ+ community.
The app has found LGBTQ+ people tend to use Tinder as the first place they are comfortably “out” after coming to terms with their identity, a spokesperson for the company told PinkNews.
The number of LGBTQ+ Tinder members under the age of 30 has doubled in the past three years, data from the platform showed.
A spokesperson said: “Tinder is an inclusive community where our members can freely express themselves, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“Vulnerable communities face outside bias, prejudice and stigma, and Tinder recognises the role it has to support the safety of all members on our platform.
“We’ve collaborated with leading organisations, including HRC [the Human Rights Council], RAINN [The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network] and GLAAD to help us create an equitable and respectful platform where everyone can make meaningful connections.”
Additionally, in 2019 Tinder introduced its “traveller alert” an in-app function that enables LGBTQ+ users to “hide” their profile, should they be alerted by the platform that they have entered a country that discriminates against the queer community.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for OkCupid – which has 50 million registered users worldwide – told PinkNews that the platform supports the entire LGBTQ+ community.
“We were the first dating app to offer expanded gender and orientation options and we now offer users 22 genders and 20 orientation options that include agender, transgender, trans man and trans woman,” the spokesperson said.
“Last year, after hearing from non-binary and transgender daters, we realised there was an opportunity to educate and inform people about the different identities we offer on our app and added definitions to each of our gender and orientation options to help people better understand what these terms mean, and better serve all our users.”
The team is always working to create a “safer, more welcoming experience for everyone”, they added.
‘Transphobia is a violation of our terms’
On its website, Hinge – with its 23 million users – describes trans and gender non-conforming people as an “essential part of the [its] community”.
A Hinge spokesperson said: “At Hinge, we’re passionate about building a welcoming and effective dating app where everyone can find love.
“To support LGBTQIA+ daters in fully expressing themselves and foster an inclusive community, we’ve introduced a variety of app updates.”
These updates include NFAQ (Not-so Frequently Asked Questions), a resource for queer daters, prompts for LGBTQIA+ daters, the addition of pronoun options and more than 50 gender options for users.
“The safety and well-being of our trans daters are always a top priority,” the spokesperson added, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for hate and anyone exhibiting transphobic behaviour on Hinge will be banned from our community.
“If a user experiences transphobia, we encourage them to report it through our hate speech reporting option – which they can do directly within the app and our team will take immediate action.”
They added: “Anyone who reports a user for being trans or non-binary will be banned from our community. Furthermore, we have an ongoing relationship with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to identify and remove any hate speech within our app.”
A statement from the company’s website also says: “We have never, and will never, ban someone based on their gender or gender expression. Being trans is no more a violation of our terms of service than being cis (cisgender refers to anyone who is not trans).
“Transphobia, on the other hand, including reporting someone simply for being trans, is definitely a violation of our terms of service. We have banned members in the past for reporting profiles for this reason and will continue to do so.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure that trans members feel safe and welcome on Hinge and we will continuously work to do just that.”
Perhaps best-known as a hook-up app for gay men, Grindr is proud of its inclusivity and describes itself as a “social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people”.
In 2017, the app introduced more gender options to enable users to be able to express themselves authentically.
This has expanded over the years and the app now hosts a range of community resourcesfor the trans, as well as the wider queer, community, covering everything from FAQs on gender identity to sexual health.
‘Real love is for everyone’
Although launched as a dating platform for solely cisgender, heterosexual people, eHarmony has grown over the years and now specifically labels itself as “LGBT friendly”.
The company website states: “We believe that real love is for everyone and we’re deeply committed to providing a platform that’s safe, inclusive and welcoming for every single one of our members.
“We don’t have a type – eHarmony members represent individuals of all ages, demographics and backgrounds.”
“We’ve learned and grown quite a bit in our 20+ years of helping millions find real love and we have continuously evolved to meet the needs of our members. The work to build a diverse and inclusive environment is never complete.
“We recognise that we have work left to do and we are committed to finding ways to be more inclusive to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, across all facets of what we do.”
The move comes after a suggestion that the association’s board adopt a national sports registration form – which makes menstrual information mandatory.
Questions listed on the form include asking if players have had a period, when they first got their period, the date of their most recent one was and the regularity of their cycle during the previous 12 months.
Dr. Michael Haller, a paediatric endocrinologist based in Florida city of Gainesville, said: “I don’t see why [school districts] need access to that type of information. It sure as hell will give me pause to fill it out with my kid.”