A survey by the advocacy group Stonewall has found that half of gay men in Britain would not feel comfortable holdings hands with their partner in the street. The research also revealed that one in five people who identify as LGBT have been the victim of a hate crime in the last 12 months.
The survey, which questioned 5000 LGBTQ individuals, also showed that 81% of those who experienced a hate crime did not report it to the authorities. The Home Office said that all hate crime was ‘completely unacceptable’ and that it ‘should be met with the full force of the law.’ It is also believed that despite hate crimes are being more accurately recorded and that there has been a genuine increase.
The figure for hate crime was even higher for transgender individuals, with 41% becoming a victim in the last year. It also found that those living in the North East of the country, 35%, were significantly more likely to be the subject of a hate crime compared to those living in the North West and Yorkshire where the figure was 18%.
Stonewall said that despite the UK being apparently one of the most progressive countries in the world, we still have a great deal of work to do before everyone ‘can feel safe, included and free to be themselves.’
Baroness Williams, the minister for combating extremism, commented on the findings saying that there is no excuse for people being targeted because of their sexuality. ‘We are clear there can be absolutely no excuse for targeting someone because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We put victims at the heart of everything we do, which is why we work closely with partners to support victims of LGBT hate crime.’