LGBT+ bullying, harassment and hate crimes
Take a look at some of our tips on how to deal with bullying, report hate crime or support someone else who has been affected.
I’m being bullied because I’m LGBT+, what should I do?
Being bullied can really get you down and sometimes you can feel alone. It’s important to make the brave decision to tell someone. Telling someone that you are being bullied means they may be able to help and support you. You can speak to someone you trust; this could be a teacher, a youth worker, a colleague, a manager, your family or even your best friend.
Don’t delete anything that you receive from a bully as it is evidence that the bullying is taking place. Taking a screenshot or a photo of bullying on social media will also provide proof of the bullying if the bully attempts to delete or edit what has been said.
It’s also important not to engage with the bully. Walking away and getting help makes you the bigger person.
All schools, colleges, universities and workplaces should have an anti-bullying policy. Education providers also have a safeguarding team who look after students’ safety – it’s a good idea to talk to the safeguarding team if you feel comfortable to do so.
I’m being targeted at work because I’m LGBT+, what should I do?
The Equality Act 2010 protects LGBT+ people from discrimination at work and all businesses and organisations that employ people have to follow these laws.
If you’ve been treated unfairly because of your sexuality or gender identity then your employer is breaking these laws. It’s a good idea to start gathering evidence as soon as possible; keep any messages about the problem and write some notes of what happened.
It’s usually best to try and solve a problem informally first - especially if you want to keep working with your employer. If that doesn’t work, you may want to lodge a formal complaint (known as ‘raising a grievance) with your employer, use mediation or take legal action.
Before doing this, it’s useful to speak to your trade union or Citizen’s Advice who can advise you of your rights and help you build a stronger case.
Find more information about this on Citizen’s Advice website.
How do I support someone else who is getting bullied because of their sexuality and/or gender identity?
The most important thing to do is listen to the person who is getting bullied and be there to support them. Sometimes being able to talk about things is all someone needs to lift their spirits.
If you can, tell what is happening to someone in a position of authority so that they can act on it and stop the bullying. If the person is in school or college, you can talk the safeguarding team if the person involved is comfortable with your sharing the information they’ve told you.
What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is when someone commits a criminal offence (e.g. assault, stalking, and harassment) because of their race, religion, disability, sexuality, or gender identity.
The definition of a hate crime is:
"Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender."
Hate crimes are illegal and should be reported to the police.
What is a hate incident?
A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s negative feelings towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.
These incidents may not be a criminal offence but it might feel like it if you think it’s happening because of your sexuality or gender identity.
Hate incidents can come in many forms so if you feel like you’ve been targeted because you’re LGBT+ then you should report it.
How do I report a hate crime or a hate incident?
You can report hate crime and find more information on hate crimes and incidents at www.report-it.org.uk. You can also report a hate crime by calling the police on 101.
Always call 999 if you are in immediate danger.
Why should I report a hate crime or incident?
Hate crimes and incidents can be confusing and frightening but by reporting them when they happen to you, you may be able to prevent something similar happening to someone else.
Staffordshire Police are an LGBT+ friendly police force and we have a good relationship with them in terms of training on LGBT+ issues and supporting people with reporting hate crimes. If you’re nervous about talking to the police, get in touch with us and we can help support you to report hate crimes.