Scotland Puts Transphobic ‘Haters’ on Notice

The Scottish government has a new anti-hate crime campaign against homophobia and transphobia, and it is not pulling any punches in telling the “haters” to back off.

The campaign, which is part of the wider #ReportHate drive under the One Scotland government initiative, targets bigots, transphobes and homophobes, as well as disablists and racists. Created in the form of short letters, the billboards send an uncompromising message that Scotland does not tolerate hatred.

The campaign is backed by the police force as well as a number of human rights groups who are seeking to stamp out hate crimes in Scotland.

Below are just a couple of examples of the messaging that will appear in advertising spaces throughout Scotland in the coming weeks:

Anti Transphobia campaign

Stop transphobia campaign. Credit: One Scotland.

Anti-disablism campaign. Credit: One Scotland.

Anti-disablism campaign. Credit: One Scotland.

The campaigns are particularly powerful because of their uncompromising language. Gone is the simple “report hate crimes” messaging we saw five or so years ago across Scotland and the wider UK. Now there is a very clear intent here to actively pursue those people who think targeting minorities is acceptable.

This is important, because it robs the people perpetuating this aggression of their assumed status and empowers people in the community — who are by far the majority — to act when they see an incident.

The new campaign is particularly necessary for trans rights, because it comes at a moment when we’re seeing anti-trans campaigns under the guise of feminism and public safety. What they actually equate to, however, is anti-trans scaremongering the likes of which we saw a decade ago when the moral panic over gay rights was beginning to emerge in a definable way.

This has manifested with national newspapers running anti-trans scare stories, discrimination from council workers, and hijacking of pride events. All of this has translated into some scary statistics.

Research published in January of 2018 found that a third of all trans people in the UK had experienced at least one hate crime during the previous year. This was deemed the “tip of the iceberg”, because we know from other data that trans people and other gender or sexual minorities often do not report hate crimes for reasons ranging from that they do not feel the crime was serious enough (even though it is definably harmful and illegal) to that a fear of not being believed or possibly being subjected to yet more discrimination.

Trans people are at an elevated risk of suicidal ideation, substance abuse and wider mental health problems because of this kind of discrimination. There is a pressing need to drive down hate crime figures and help safeguard trans people and other members of the public.

Police Chief Superintendent John McKenzie spoke at a recent event to launch the “Letters from Scotland” campaign, saying, “Police Scotland treats all hate-related crimes and incidents as a priority. It is recognized that hate-related crimes and incidents pose a significant threat to victims, their friends, families and wider communities, and the potential impact of such crimes cannot be underestimated. We continue to work tirelessly to ensure we respond to all reports of hate crime and I would encourage anyone who has been the victim of, or witnessed, a hate crime to report it.”

Clearly, this campaign alone cannot cure the stigma that trans people face, but the tone it sets is critical in communicating to the public that if they report a hate crime — whether it is related to their gender or more widely to other personal characteristics like their race — it will be treated seriously and the victim given the respect they deserve.

There is still a lot of work to do to make sure that trans people feel safe and valued in our society, but this kind of campaign from Scotland is a step in the right direction for letting all minorities know that they will be believed when they report a hate crime incident.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

45 comments

Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 months ago

I want one of those mini rainbow flags.

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Dave fleming
Past Member 4 months ago

Keep up the good and mighty work Scotland.

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Lesa D
Past Member 5 months ago

thank you Scotland...

thank you Steve...

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Dave fleming
Past Member 5 months ago

Well done scotland the brave , Hate needs to be stamped out for good .

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Amanda M
Amanda M5 months ago

Well done, Scotland! If enough of us vote against the Rethuglican Religious Reich next month, we can take a giant step towards sticking it to Twitler and his minions! And after yesterday's blatant attacks of terrorism against Democrats (thanks in no small part to Twitler's attacks on Democrats and the media!), I'm hoping enough people are righteously pissed and will vote against the RRR! Scotland is showing the TRUE way to behave!

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Caitlin L
Past Member 6 months ago

thanks

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Hannah K
Past Member 6 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Carol C
Carol C6 months ago

Kudos to Scotland! If only this kind of compassion could spread worldwide, this planet would be a much healthier place for all of us.

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Tania N
Tania N6 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Tania N
Tania N6 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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