Erasing Lesbians, Transing the Gay Away.
In Part 1 we looked at demographic data to address whether LGB people really were ‘being erased’ – and the answer was a resounding ‘NO’ given the increases year on year among the LGB population of the UK.
In Part 2 we are going to unpick the idea that gay people are transitioning in order to avoid homophobia.
Note – data updated as at 22/11/22
In order to address this one we need a reliable way to compare both homophobia and transphobia – so let’s use reported hate crime stats for England & Wales.
Estimated unreported hate crime is similar between the two groups so that won’t skew anything.
It’s worth noting that that hate crime for sexual orientation is a ‘double whammy’ for trans people, who are often victims of hate crime targeting both their transgender status and perceived sexual orientation. According to Stonewall’s LGBT in Britain Hate Crime Report 2017 this accounts for 18% of sexual orientation hate crime, but this doesn’t change anything in terms of year on year trends.
So, what are the figures themselves?
I took multiple data sets, all from the official government statistics – 2014/15 (which covered from 2011/12 to 2014/15) and 2019/2020 (which covered from 2015/16 to 2019/2020), 2020/2021 and 2021/2022. This gives us the following table.
|Trans||% chg yr / yr||Sexual|
|% chg yr / yr|
Overall, Sexual Orientation hate crime year on year trends are significantly less than Trans hate crime – taken as an average by almost half (15% vs 27%).
Something worth noting is why the volume of sexual orientation hate crime is significantly higher (5 to 6 times higher) than trans hate crime, despite LGB people being about 2.5 times the trans population in size.
The reason for that is that cisgender LGB people are significantly more likely to be ‘out of the closet’ than their transgender counterparts.
There are less trans people ‘in the wild’, so less people to abuse – which can skew the figures a bit, but we can adjust for that. We know that 65% (51% in 2018, Stonewall LGBT in Britain Work Report) of trans people hide who they are at work, so we can use that to adjust vs population figures and compare rates of abuse, as a snapshot at least.
Note : This section has been updated on 22/11/22 with more accurate data, and will be updated again once the relevant 2021 Census data is released.
The population for England & Wales in 2020 was 59,719,724 people, which gives us 1.65 million LGB people (2.7%) and 597 thousand trans people (1%) – but only 209 thousand openly out trans people.
What that gives us (applying to the 2020 hate crime figures) is that LGB people as a group are subjected to 0.0095 sexual orientation hate crimes per person per year, and trans people 0.012 trans hate crimes per person per year.
So as we can see, the chance of sexual orientation hate crime is still significantly lower for LGB people.
(0.007 vs 0.01 in 2019 vs 0.0096 vs 0.012 in 2020)
If we apply the population data from 2020 to 2022’s hate crime stats as a rough comparator, we get 0.16 hate crimes per LGB person per year, versus 0.21 hate crimes per trans person per year – about 30% higher.
So why would any LGB person transition to ‘escape from homophobia’ into a group that is more likely to be abused, at a rate substantially higher than that of their existing group?
They wouldn’t. Would you?
Ok, so data doesn’t support the idea – what about personal stories or anecdotes?
These are often characterised as ‘internalised homophobia’, which is entirely subjective.
This is a difficult one, because a person’s experience is just that – their experience, no one else’s. But these experiences are used by trans hostile activists as if they are universal to all trans people , when this is completely untrue.
I wanted to look at experiences outside of those weaponised by trans hostile groups, which took a bit of digging but I eventually found a couple. Outside of trans hostile groups these stories seem to be quite rare.
If they’re genuine (trans hostile groups have a history of fabricating such stories to bolster their claims), then what they reveal are not people transitioning because of homophobia, but isolated people who are questioning who they are, needing to explore that – and doing so without access to help or therapy.
It’s a damning indictment of the availability of mental health support in the western world, and one I can attest to after being told by every mental health provider I approached that they wouldn’t even consider helping because it’s too complex – despite being suicidal.
Interestingly, the couple I found claimed not to be from homophobic households or envionments, which would seem to indicate external homophobia was not a factor.
Looking at the weaponised stories perpetuated by trans hostile groups, it’s a similar tale, and one exclusively focussed around people assigned female at birth.
That in itself seems to be a remarkably sexist standpoint, but what is striking while reading these is that what’s being described as internalised homophobia actually seems to be internalised sexism. The person didn’t ‘fit’ within the framework of what they thought was allowed under the label ‘woman’, so sought to exist outside of that framework in a binary fashion because that’s the only frame of reference they had.
This displays why rigid label definitions, stereotypes and enforced adherence to binary genders and attractions are incredibly harmful, because it removes the space to explore and exist as who you are – you can’t do that if you’re forced from one box into another, something those opposed to trans people really like to enforce.
Another underlying theme in these narratives is the idea that ‘transitioning would fix everything’.
As anyone in the trans community would tell you, that is definitely not the case. This is often pointed out, but sometimes ignored by those who think they have all the answers already.
Finally, and most interestingly with these stories of regret – there is no mention at all of any transphobia they were subjected to. As any trans person will tell you, transphobia is ever present, and the biggest factor in a trans person detransitioning.
What we can see here is that some people claim to have transitioned due to internalised homophobia, but there is no way to verify this is the case – and from the narratives I went through, they would appear to be deeply mistaken in this regard. In some cases I would go so far to say that they were themselves told this was the case, rather than it being a personal revelation.
These narratives are presented as a universal trans experience by those opposed to trans people, and while we can’t entirely dismiss these experiences, we can point out that these instances are not representative of the community as a whole – where transition regret is remarkably rare at less than 1%.
A final aspect to this claim is that some gay people transition because their parents are homophobic, preferring a transgender child to a gay one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that, because those that hold homophobic views also hold transphobic views, and often other bigoted views too. I cannot find a single evidenced instance of of a homophobic person who is accepting of transgender people – not one. We do have a lot of evidence that LGBTphobic views are consistently held by those across religious, socially conservative and far right groups though.
From a data perspective this claim is like a sieve, it holds no water.
From a ‘personal’ perspective, it relies on the narratives and experiences of a tiny, unrepresentative sample of people who found that transitioning wasn’t right for them, and are presented and promoted as if that’s the case for all trans people.
In the final part of this series, we look at the most complex and insidious claim of all – the idea that LGB people are being told they’re really transgender through ‘affirming’ therapy, and that transitioning is really conversion therapy.