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Is the UK really one of the worst places to be trans?

Attendees at a Pride march in London this year. Credit: Getty

November 2, 2023 - 11:45am

The UK has been ranked one of the worst places in Europe to be trans, according to a new survey. That may come as a surprise, given that transgender people have the same legal rights as everyone else in this country. But an organisation called Transgender Europe claims the UK has gone backwards, from being a “progressive leader” 10 years ago to a place “where anti-trans hatred is widespread in the media and government agendas”.

Really? That’s quite a big claim, so let’s have a look at the countries which score highly on the 2023 trans rights map. Singled out for praise is Malta, a country criticised by the UN for “patriarchal attitudes” that hold women back. It’s the only country in Europe where abortion is illegal in all circumstances, including rape and incest, but the government has promised free “gender-affirming” surgery to men who want to be women, so it gets the thumbs-up.

The UK has been marked down because it doesn’t have a law permitting self-ID, which would remove all safeguards from the process allowing individuals to change their legal sex. The existing law is already disastrous for women, something confirmed yesterday when the Scottish Court of Session ruled that men with a Gender Recognition Certificate are entitled to be treated as women, effectively removing the right of lesbians in Scotland to bar “male lesbians” from their meetings. 

But the most egregious claim made by Transgender Europe is about the UK being a hotbed of trans “hate”. It quotes official figures showing an increase in “transphobic hate crimes” without acknowledging the Home Office’s warning that “police-recorded crime figures do not currently provide reliable trends in hate crime” and “should also not be seen as a measure of prevalence of hate crime”. They could simply show a greater willingness to report incidents, a caveat that’s blithely ignored by organisations and MPs who want to paint as bleak a picture as possible.

And what do these “hate crimes” consist of? They’re entirely subjective, and include behaviour that isn’t remotely hateful, such as “misgendering”. The UK’s biggest police force, the Metropolitan Police, has made the astonishing admission that “evidence of the hate element is not a requirement” when someone reports a hate incident. The Crown Prosecution Service says it flags a hate crime when an offence is motivated by “hostility”, but admits there is no legal definition of the word. It can mean “ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, unfriendliness, antagonism, resentment and dislike”. I doubt whether being “unfriendly” to someone is widely accepted as amounting to hate.

This is why many people, myself included, believe that the entire concept of “hate crimes” is nonsense — and an invitation to make accusations in bad faith. The idea has been used by trans activists to bolster specious claims about transgender people being more oppressed than anyone else, even though organisations like Stonewall have had an inordinate influence on public policy. 

Happily, the UK is pushing back, recognising that most people don’t want gender-neutral toilets, men in women’s hospital wards and trans-identified males taking women’s places on sports podiums. If the UK has slipped down some extremely partisan index of trans rights in Europe, it means there’s growing resistance to the demands of transactivists. In this country at least, people have begun to realise that biological sex matters.


Joan Smith is a novelist and columnist. She has been Chair of the Mayor of London’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board since 2013. Her book Homegrown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists was published in 2019.

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R M
2
R M
5 months ago

In practical terms “hate crimes” are to progressives what blasphemy laws are to theocrats.

A means to coerce, condemn and punish those who diverge from approved doctrine or even fail to espouse approved doctrine sufficiently vehemently.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago

“Is the UK really one of the worst places to be trans?”
I certainly hope so.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
5 months ago

Surely you knew a few female impersonators at public school / Oxbridge?

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I still do and we know him as ‘Fairy’, but he isn’t a militant and thus part of the ‘gang’.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
5 months ago

You beat me to it

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
5 months ago

According to transactivists, any policy that doesn’t preference males over females is hate. These men are narcissists and professional victims.
I hope the UK continues to push back. Misogynistic decisions such as those made by the Scottish Court of Session are disgraceful, and must not be countenanced.

S Wilkinson
SW
S Wilkinson
5 months ago

To be fair to the Court their ruling only reflects the practical impact of laws which our legislators were warned would have unintended consequences. At least their ruling means those consequences can’t now be dismissed and ignored.
We need to start by repealing the GRA.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
5 months ago
Reply to  S Wilkinson

Agreed. I hope this is a step in that direction, but any ruling so divorced from material reality — you’re a man unless you have a certificate saying you’re not — is disturbing.
It seems lesbians like myself must re-closet socially — meeting privately, in private homes, by word of mouth — to protect our women-only spaces. Unless, of course, Scottish authorities believe a GRC trumps property rights as well as biology.

Last edited 5 months ago by Colorado UnHerd
carl taylor
CT
carl taylor
5 months ago

If you’ve not been accused of ‘transphobia’ on social media in the last few years, you must be doing something wrong.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
5 months ago
Reply to  carl taylor

You transphobe!

William Cameron
WC
William Cameron
5 months ago

It seems that the definition of transphobia is not agreeing 100% with biological untruths.And objecting to permitting naked male bodied people into the girls showers.

Last edited 5 months ago by William Cameron
Matt M
Matt M
5 months ago

Only one of the worst places in Europe. This is not good enough! Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Hungary all score lower than us. TERF Island needs to up its game!

Last edited 5 months ago by Matt M
Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

Trouble is, there seems to be a lot less upping going on than there used to be.

Anthony Peters
AP
Anthony Peters
5 months ago

Go to Whitehall and listen to the demands for the Jews to be killed and pushed into the sea. Wanna know what real hate crime is but is not acted against? But not wanting a person with a p***s in a a women’s group is?

Shame on this country.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
5 months ago

Rankings of transphobia, anti-trans hatred and oppression, identified by worthless parasites such as Transgender Europe and the UN, are correlated in inverse proportion to a particular county’s adherence to objective scientific reality and the protection of women and children against a sick, deranged cult that has temporarily captured our institutions.
To be at top of a list compiled by these repulsive, contemptible creeps whom history will judge as the an inexplicable conquest of evil and unreason, is the greatest honour any country could receive from these pathetic, intellectual worms.

Last edited 5 months ago by Marcus Leach
Roddy Campbell
RC
Roddy Campbell
5 months ago

It’s heartening to observe that the Trans activist lobby is becoming ever more ridiculous and specious in their claims. Very soon, only the utterly bonkers will take them seriously.

A sort of political reduction ad absurdism: but in this case, self-perpetuated. It can’t come too quickly.

They should have included the Muddle East in the survey. Of course, if they had, guess what: Britain would no doubt still come top!

Last edited 5 months ago by Roddy Campbell
Right-Wing Hippie
RH
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago

The original point of “hate crime” legislation was to prohibit crimes whose intent was not merely to harm the victim, but also to terrorize the community of which the victim was a part; so, for example, a cross-burning on the lawn of an African-American was not intended merely to intimidate that particular individual, but all local African-Americans. However, over time, as was almost inevitable, the definition of “hate crimes” mutated to include any crime that was motivated by the victim’s protected status, and then, again inevitably, any crime in which the victim was of protected status and the perpetrator was not, even if the perpetrator was not motivated by any malice towards the victim based on their protected status. The end result, which was probably foreseeable, is a two-tiered justice system, wherein a “cis” person committing a crime against a “trans” person is judged worse (and punished more severely) than a “trans” person committing a crime against a “cis” person, regardless of the motives involved. So if a “cis” person assaults a “trans” person to steal their shoes, that’s a hate crime and the perpetrator will be locked up until doomsday, while if a “trans” person assaults a “cis” person because the latter is “cis”, that is not a hate crime, and may, in fact, be a laudable act of civic resistance.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
5 months ago

I have always thought it odd that murder is punished more severely if it is motivated by hatred. I would expect murder to generally be motivated by hatred (unless it was committed by a psychopath).

Right-Wing Hippie
RH
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago

If I’ve learned anything from Poe, it’s that murder can be motivated by just about anything, up to and including your landlord’s creepy eye.

JP Martin
JM
JP Martin
5 months ago

Agreed. In my opinion it also undermines equality by placing a different value on victims.

R M
2
R M
5 months ago

I’m going from memory here, but I seem to recall the legislation included the element of victim perception from the start. i.e an allegation will be treated as a hate crime if the alleged victim perceives it to be related in any way to a protected category.

It’s an open invitation to bad faith accusations and now that racially charged concepts like “white privilege” are being taught as facts in schools, most of the UK is starting off guilty anyway.

David Morley
DM
David Morley
5 months ago

However, over time, as was almost inevitable, the definition of “hate crimes” mutated to include any crime that was motivated by the victim’s protected status

Yes – but none of this started with trans. It’s not new.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago

Another example of the pernicious and destructive influence of NGOs. I’m sure Transgender Europe is almost wholly funded by the EU itself and maybe a handful of wealthy, radical benefactors.

Samantha Stevens
SS
Samantha Stevens
5 months ago

I wish the US would get a clue. We have Self-ID in the state where I live, and the creepy men in dresses are appearing everywhere. 6 foot 2 men with shovel hands appearing with red lipsticks in women’s spaces. It’s dreadful.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
PP
Peter Kwasi-Modo
5 months ago

Whenever anybody says anything that does not conform to the trans lobby’s party line, the trans lobby immediately denounces it as hate speech. Nicola Sturgeon does that here in Scotland, then Nicola says that anyone who opposes her trans policy is transphobic, homophobic, mysogynist and racist. (So nothing hateful in Nicola’s utterances, then). The “hate” label is just the way that the trans lobby and their politician friends avoid having to give rational justifications for new rules on gender self-ID, etc.

Last edited 5 months ago by Peter Kwasi-Modo
Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
5 months ago

How very sensible – “hate crimes” are complete nonsense. The crime is an action. The action which constitutes the crime is what we need to control, not the thinking of the criminal.

By the same token, we need to eliminate the “mental illness” defense. Far far far too many of the “mentally ill” who commit murder and other heinous crimes do so with careful planning and sophisticated pre-thought.

Rob N
RN
Rob N
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Absolutely. You should be punished for your actions and consequences NOT for what went on in your head. When I did law years ago we were taught that mens rea (the thinking that caused the crime eg jealousy) was only relevant to the investigation of who committed the crime (the actus reus). It was the latter that made it a crime. Maybe I misremember but it makes sense.

And not guilty due to insanity is ridiculous. You should still be guilty and serve your time. The insanity might require extra detention.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

The mentally ill rank among the most devious people I’ve had the misfortune to encounter.

Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
5 months ago

TERF island !!! About the only positive thing coming out of Britain

David McKee
DM
David McKee
5 months ago

I hope the UK is one of the best places in the world to be trans.

On the other hand, I hope it’s one of the worst places to be a trans activist.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
5 months ago

Transideology is a part of Queer Theory. If you’re wondering why is it being taught in schools, here is your answer:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2043610616671056

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Why is it that all writings that promote trans ideology are couched in loftily obscure and abstract language, as though disdainful of the reader, and making it virtually impossible to extract any meaning? Having read the article, I am left with the uncomfortable feeling that this is a push to see minor attracted individuals as acceptable.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The “minor attracted individuals” might be as much as 4-5% of the population. They have and will always exist but until recently there was a moral framework for opposing their monstrous desires. Now they couch their inhumanity in lofty PhD-ese and piggyback on the other ‘liberation’ movements, who as we’ve seen are often untroubled by their presence – until the dreaded TABLOIDS finally take notice.

Right-Wing Hippie
RH
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

When you’re at war with reality, plain speaking is the language of the enemy.

R M
R M
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

“Why is it that all writings that promote trans ideology are couched in loftily obscure and abstract language”

To avoid scrutiny.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
5 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Thank you for drawing this article to our attention. As others have indicated, the writing is typical of the sort of ‘obscure and abstract’ language favoured by those promoting transideology and similar trendy nonsense. However, although the writing is impenetrable and seemingly designed to keep outside scrutiny at bay, its message opposing the concept of childhood innocence – if broadcast through teacher education programmes – will further empower similar ideologues involved in sex education (and other subjects) in schools to confuse and damage young children.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
5 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

(My earlier attempt to reply has been removed by Unherd: no idea why. Very annoying!) Thanks for bringing this article to our attention: a grim indicator of the kind of impenetrable nonsense which may be used by, say, teacher educators to promote an ideology that could be very harmful to impressionable children when applied in schools.

M Doors
MD
M Doors
5 months ago

Lol… just the title made me laugh so i’m pretty sure the answer is no (now I shall read the article).

Gerry Quinn
GQ
Gerry Quinn
5 months ago

Free speech is considered a hate crime. It’s as simple as that.

Tyler Durden
TD
Tyler Durden
5 months ago

The UK and Swede have been the foremost states to fight back against gender ideology in its sinister medical and transhuman incarnations as regards interventions on autistic children.
It has been a noble combat that the Americans should best observe and a gradual doing so on a state level.

John Tyler
JT
John Tyler
5 months ago

Hate crime; thoughtcrime. 1984 lives!

Ewen Mac
Ewen Mac
5 months ago

Pretty much every corporation, most public institutions and most senior politicians are tripping over their rainbow shoelaces in order to display their obedience to the Church of Gender Ideology, but admitting that doesn’t align with the ‘cruelly-marginalised’ narrative, so “worst place to be trans” it is.
It also helps to cultivate a sense of “original sin” ie: you can never be kind enough to compensate for the harm done to these poor souls, so just keep trying harder, for ever.

Last edited 5 months ago by Ewen Mac
j watson
JW
j watson
5 months ago

Of course the alleged claim by the Transgender Europe Group total twaddle and all of us, albeit to different degrees, are fortunate and blessed to live in the UK when one considers the vast majority of other options.
It is of course a delightful irony that an Unherd article, and many of the usual commentators, are now defending our sensible balanced liberal approach which will push back when necessary but be generally tolerant and ‘live and let live’.
Generally concur that the phrase and use of ‘Hate Crimes’ has become too simplistic and infantalising. Incitement to commit violence should be the line on which the Law steps in. That of course is not a simple arbiter as language can be used in a deliberate way to send a message but provide a defence to the conveyor. As Head of Met Police has asked, would be good if Braverman got on and tightened the Law to back up her rhetoric and unless anyone forgotten Tories still got an 80+ majority and 12mths to do it, so no excuse.

Caroline Galwey
CG
Caroline Galwey
5 months ago

Great news! Go TERF Island!

David Morley
David Morley
5 months ago

This is feminism being rerun as farce. We’ve seen all this before. Why would trans activists not use tactics which feminists used in the past to their advantage. The only thing they can be criticised for is lack of originality.

Peter Gray
PG
Peter Gray
5 months ago

Let’s face it; the whole trans movement is another effect of modernism. Reject all the old stuff, even if it requires mutilating your body, get the new stuff, beauty, common sense, and taste be damn.

Aldo Maccione
AM
Aldo Maccione
5 months ago

Could be rephrased as “UK is one of the worst places for a militant minority to bully the majority into submission”.
Sounds like a good place to me…

Matt Kanaris
MK
Matt Kanaris
5 months ago

Who cares

Champagne Socialist
CS
Champagne Socialist
5 months ago

Today’s 2 minutes hate was particularly active!
Back to your miserable little lives now!

0 0
0
0 0
5 months ago

Oh here you are. Was waiting for your snivel. Never disappoints