A new study has found that many trans and gender variant people in Ireland frequently experience severe forms of bias and discrimination, including verbal abuse, harassment, and aggravated physical or sexual assault.
The report entitled ‘STAD – Stop Transphobia and Discrimination Report 2014-2016’, was conducted on behalf of the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) by the University of Limerick’s Hate and Hostility Research Group.
The report contains a total of 50 reports (46 from the Republic of Ireland and four from Northern Ireland), detailing a total of 62 anti-transgender hate crimes (57 in the Republic and five in Northern Ireland) were reported to STAD as having occurred during the period 2014-2016.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Chair of TENI Sara R. Phillips added:
“Despite recent advances in transgender rights, including the ground-breaking Gender Recognition Act 2015, many members of our community continue to encounter levels of prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives that undoubtedly constitute hate crime. It is also worrying that among those identified in the report only one in ten chose to report such incidents to Gardaí.”
Co-director of the Hate and Hostility Research Group at the University of Limerick, Jennifer Schweppe, who, together with Dr Amanda Haynes, authored the report, said:
“The offences reported included rape, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, assault causing harm, threats to kill, and public order offences. People also reported the impact that these incidents had on their confidence, including increased isolation, fear, anxiety or the negative impact that such experiences had on their transition.”
Remarking on the recommendations of the report, TENI’s new Chief Executive Stephen O’Hare said:
“It is widely accepted that Ireland lacks an adequate legal framework to combat this sort of crime. Despite recent observations from respected national and international human rights monitoring bodies on the need to introduce measures which are effective, proportionate and dissuasive, progress has been slow. This leaves many trans and gender variant victims of transphobic hate crime with no obvious legal remedy.”
Ireland’s only laws governing bias motivated crime / hate crime is the Prohibition on Incitement to Hatred Act 1989. This law almost exclusively governs incidents of hate speech but not hate crime. Since its enactment there have been very few, if any, successful prosecutions under the 1989 Act.
The Hate and Hostility Research Group has published widely on the topic of hate crime. See https://ulsites.ul.ie/hhrg/
A copy of the report will be available for download at http://www.teni.ie