Majority of harassed gays suffer in silenceEspecially if they're not Gay, but Trans.
A new study has found persecution of those who do not fit the heterosexual norm is rife in Queensland.Think about that. Can anyone imagine any other minority group in a civilised, western country where 38% - over one in three - have been physically assaulted - usually be strangers - "with a weapon, knife, bottle or stone"? And nearly half having been assaulted using punches and kicks? Can anyone imagine this not being front-page news if it was revealed?
A survey of 1,100 homosexual, bisexual and transgendered people found the overwhelming majority had been harassed or abused and most are suffering in silence.
The gay-hate study found abusers are usually young men who do not know their victim and 75 per cent of victims do not report the incidents to authorities.
Dr Berman says people suffer in silence for a host of reasons.
"Sixteen per cent do not believe their report would be dealt with fairly, 9 per cent feared further violence or discrimination and 8 per cent feared being outed," he said.
Even though the latest study examines Queensland, Dr Berman says gay hate crimes are common Australia-wide.
He says smaller studies in Victoria and New South Wales delivered similar results and it is time the matter is taken seriously.
Key survey results:
Received verbal abuse:
- 76 per cent of males
- 69 per cent of females
- 92 per cent transgender male to female
- 55 per cent transgender female to male
Physical assault without a weapon:
- 32 per cent of male
- 15 per cent of females
- 46 per cent transgender male to female
- 45 per cent transgender female to male
Physical attack with a weapon, knife, bottle or stone:
- 12 per cent of males
- 6 per cent of females
- 38 per cent transgender male to female
- 9 per cent transgender female to male
- 12 per cent other
Source - AAP/Speaking Out: Stopping Homophobic and Transphobic Abuse in Queensland.
It's reasonable to say that the sample size is small: but then, so is the Universal Set, the set of all MtoF people in Queensland.
The saddest thing? Australia is one of the more trans-friendly countries in the world. Most other places are worse.
As for me... I've not been a victim of an attack, verbal or otherwise. Well, not in the FtoM category, anyway. The trigger for me deciding to abandon any further attempts to retain a male social role was in July, 2005. When I was accosted by some drunks on my way to work from where I'd parked the car. They called me a "Butch Dyke" and a "Drag King", and threatened to "Convert" me.
So I'd be in the 69% of "gay" females enduring verbal abuse instead.
While I might not identify as "transgendered", and certainly not "gay" or even "lesbian"... I don't have the privilege of deciding that. Not even in books describing how those like me are attacked.
It helps to have a sense of humour about such things. And to be prepared to use a carkey to put an attacker's eyes out. To be afraid enough to be safe, but not so terrified as to stop living a reasonably normal life.
Looking back on it... I should have reported it to the Police, shouldn't I? It never occurred to me to do so. What would I say? "Hi, I appear to be in the middle of a natural change from male to female that no-one understands and..."
I'd do that today. But I was so disorientated, going through Hormone Hell, not knowing what was happening or if this was survivable, my whole life turning upside-down, that I wasn't thinking clearly. It didn't seem that way, but obviously I was trying to retain some shred of sanity in a Universe gone crazy, and I just didn't have time for trivia like that.
Trans and Intersexed people are too accepting too. Usually since childhood, we have to face the fact that that's the way things are. We have no standard for comparison, we don't realise (except as more than an intellectual abstraction) that this is not normal. All of us being attacked or threatened verbally? Well yes, of course, you can't be thin-skinned about that or you'd kill yourself (but half of us do, don't we?). Nearly half of us attacked, often with weaponry? Well, you just have to be careful, don't you. Besides which, how many women get raped? (But comparatively few by random strangers using weapons)
It's sometimes difficult to realise that not everyone is in this situation. That to many, there's a credibility gap, they don't believe that in a normal, civilised society, anyone could be treated this way.