This year has been one of two extremely divisive votes: the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as President. Following in the wake of the Brexit vote, we saw a rise in racist and xenophobic attacks as people saw the Brexit decision as permission to be racist.
However, the vote is also having an impact on the LGBT community as it appears to have also driven an increase in LGBT hate crimes. Brexit has “opened up the door to prejudicial opinions”, according to charity workers.
It has been told to MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee that LGBT people were told “you’re next” my people dishing out homophobia and using the Leave vote as an excuse.
This information comes to us thanks to the charity group Galop which records LGBT hate crimes and provides advice to victims. Apparently, they have registered numerous Brexit related attacks on LGBT people in the months following the EU referendum.
Nick Antjoule, the charity’s hate crime manager, had this to say: “I know that during the debate about leaving the EU there was lots of rhetoric around opening up the door to voicing prejudicial opinions that perhaps otherwise might not have been.”
“Obviously, a big part of this was race and faith, lots of negative opinions voiced as part of the debates in relation to race and faith. I can’t help feeling that as part of that it helped opened up to door to prejudicial opinions about other communities being voiced as well. By way of example, we’ve had several people come to us saying that they’d been verbally abused by people saying ‘now we can get these people out of the country and you’re going to be next’ to people who are visibly LGBT. So there’s a very visible link there.”
Galop released figures which showed LGBT hate crimes rose a shocking 147% between July and September when compared to last year.
Nick Lowles, the director of anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate, has said that the Leave vote has “emboldened” people with discriminatory views.
He continued: “I think what’s happened is that a small group of people felt emboldened by the result to express anger and hatred. The referendum debate obviously gave a green light to people who wanted to express their prejudice but it didn’t change society as a whole.”
According to The Independent, who did an analysis on police figures, attacks have risen faster and further than ever in anti-EU areas.
These figures are very troubling indeed, as it does indeed back up the claims that the Brexit vote has opened the door for not only racism and xenophobia, but outright attacks and discrimination of anyone “different”. Across the Atlantic, there are similar repercussions being felt in the wake of Trump’s election. Hopefully this period of unrest will settle down in both countries, but the cynic in me says it’s only on the rise.