28 Jun 2023

Responding to the impact of homophobic and transphobic hate crime

By Peter Dunn, Counsellor at The Eaves

With LGBTQ+ Pride Month in mind, it is worth reflecting on the implications of hate crime for LGBTQ+ people.

Many LGBTQ+ people have experienced homophobic (or transphobic) victimisation, or ‘hate crime’. In 2008 for my PhD research, I interviewed gay men and trans women about their experiences of hate crime. Some of the most striking findings were that:

• Many participants had been victimised by neighbours. Some had been assaulted or had their home damaged. Many endured abusive comments shouted at them in the street. Home is not necessarily a safe place and hate crime cannot be avoided by staying away from gay venues.
• Many LGBTQ+ people do not talk easily about their experiences.
• The failure of bystanders to intervene in homophobic attacks was common and was particularly upsetting for victims. One man who was stabbed in the street by someone shouting homophobic abuse said: “I don’t remember hearing anyone say stop it, you’ve gone too far… I remember seeing this sort of circus ring of people around me, watching, and afterwards in the hospital I felt terribly ashamed… too ashamed to tell the doctor what had happened.”
• Many described the added emotional damage caused to them by being targeted solely for who they are.

Like the man quoted above, many LGBTQ+ people feel shame after being victimised by hate crime, even though they have done nothing wrong. This can make it harder to talk about these experiences.

If you are talking to LGBTQ+ people, it may be worth bearing in mind that they have probably experienced some of these terrible things. They may not have felt able to talk about it before. Or they may have tried, and not been heard, or were blamed.

The Eaves

The Eaves has multiple practitioners who specialise in supporting LGBTQ+ people. We have highly trained Counsellors, Psychologists and Psychotherapists available across Surrey in Guildford, Godalming, Haslemere and Farnham. Support is available to individuals of all ages, Monday to Saturday between 9am and 9pm.

To read more about Peter Dunn, or to enquire about her lastest availability, please see her full profile here