Content Creator Chimwemwe talks about Trans Visibility Day and what our councils need to do to support the trans community in Cumbria.
Trans people are marginalised in many areas of society such as the workplace, education, and healthcare.
Hate crimes against trans people have risen to a horrifying 789% in the past decade and discrimination against trans people in these particular areas of society is widespread with two in five reporting a hate crime in the past year.
This Trans Visibility Day we encourage you to look at what you can do on an individual level to support trans communities in Cumbria.
Cumbria County Council X LGBT+ community in Cumbria
Cumbria County Council hasn’t made an independent report on the LGBT+ community since 2011.
The poor range of services for the LGBT+ community that they investigated in this decade-old report isn’t a reflection of the level of services on offer now such as Pride in North Cumbria, Free Radicals United, Free Radical Arts, and OutREACH.
In Cumbria’s Equality for All report published in 2016, they reused the findings from the outdated 2011 report to confirm the health and social care needs of the LGBT+ community but it doesn’t reflect the present-day needs of the LGBT+ community in Cumbria.
If Cumbria County Council wants to support trans individuals, they must conduct new research into the experiences of trans and the LGB+ wider community to gather new data in areas such as health, education, and the workplace so that new methods of support can be drawn up in these areas many trans people face inequalities in.
On an individual level, you can support trans individuals by writing to your MP and asking for a new report on LBGT+ communities in Cumbria so we have a clearer picture of how the communities are being affected and how to support them in 2022.
COVID19 pandemic impact on Trans people
In Cumbria’s equality impact assessment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council couldn’t identify data on a national and county level on the number of people seeking gender-affirming surgeries.
The LGBT foundation found in their ‘why LGBT people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19’ report that gender identity clinics froze their waiting list in response to the pandemic leading to trans individuals having poor wellbeing and gender dysphoria.
This was already an issue before the pandemic and Stonewall's research identifies that two in five trans people experienced a lack of understanding of their specific health needs and faced delays in getting gender-affirming treatment.
Trans people require allyship from the cis population when it comes to gender-affirming surgeries.
To support trans people with this you could donate money to a GoFundMe so they don’t have to wait years for their gender-affirming surgeries like in the case of Bella Misandria Wardle Fitzpatrick, better known as Nosebleedfitz a TikToker from Carlisle who raised £20k for their surgery.
In an interview with the Daily Star, you can hear how life-changing this can be for people like Nosebleedfitz:
“I want everyone to know just how much I appreciate it. I've never directly asked anyone to donate to it, I just made the page and everyone has been amazing and so supportive.”
Hate Crime Nationally and in Cumbria
The government's most recent report into hate crime found over the past decade from 2012 to 2022, police reports showed that hate crimes against trans people had increased by a staggering 789%.
From 2020 to 2021 over half of trans people had experienced a negative incident outside of the home.
A shocking 88% of trans people didn’t report the most serious type of incident they’d experienced.
This is perhaps because 48% of Trans people expressed dissatisfaction with the way the police handled the most serious incidents reported.
Cumbria’s hate crime statistics showed last year that there were 121 reports of homophobic, transphobic, and genderphobic hate crimes and transphobic hate crimes made up 24 of those incidents.
In a report from the News and Star Pam Eland project manager at LGBThq an LGBT+ charity based in Cumbria believed those numbers were higher:
“I think the numbers are not showing ‘the reality’ because people won’t report hate crimes.”
Pam added that the lack of trust around the police and society were factors as to why people fear reporting hate crimes and proving it can be difficult.
Despite the North West being one of the areas with the lowest hate crime figures, this could reflect the lack of people coming forward to the police in the county.
Last year Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall undertook a survey asking people for their stories of hate crime, and the data obtained by ITV Border revealed more than 25% were abused because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
In an interview with ITV Border Peter McCall expressed that support would be given to victims of hate crime, reminded the perpetrators of hate crime that it’s still a crime, that the force would seek prosecution when necessary, and will take incidents of hate crime seriously for victims.
Trans people need allies to help them come forward when faced with all types of hate crime abuse. If you witness transphobia, even if it's online, go to the police and report the hate crime.
Transphobic abuse is usually not an isolated incident meaning they face discrimination in areas they should feel protected such as the workplace, healthcare, education, and at home.
If you witness transphobia in any of these places you should call it out and report the discrimination to the police, local healthcare complaints office, unions that deal with discrimination, and safeguarding officers within schools.
Witnesses are extremely important for evidence with 70% of hate crime victims being verbally abused and nearly 50% being intimidated.
To support victims of transphobia you can go to LGBThq website where you can find support information on their hate crime reporting centre or you can contact the police on 101. In an emergency always call 999.
Supporting Trans people on an individual level
A great way to support trans people is to reinforce gender euphoria. Unlike gender dysphoria which causes uncomfortable psychological and emotional feelings attached to their assigned gender at birth.
Gender dysphoria can look like deadnaming, a term for when somebody uses a Trans person's pretransition name. gender euphoria is a powerful feeling of happiness experienced as a result of moving away from one’s birth-assigned gender. Gender euphoria can look like calling trans people by their correct pronouns or using their new name in conversation.
It could even be reinforcing their gender identity by complimenting them on attributes that align them with their identity colloquially known as passing.
If you are still curious about learning how to support the trans community, Stonewall has this incredibly useful Q&A The truth about trans.
Another way you be an ally to the trans community is by heading to local LGBT+ organisations and campaigning and protesting alongside them. You can find links to Cumbrian LGBT+ community organisations here:
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