ILGA-Europe’s 10th annual report found the UK has dropped significantly in the equality index, moving from the top spot several years ago to 10th place now, which the LGBTQ+ rights organisation attributes mainly to the UK’s increasing hostility towards trans people. The UK is now lagging behind Malta, which holds the number one spot, as well as Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, France, Denmark, Spain, Portugal and Finland.
ILGA warned that in some UK areas, hate crimes have been increasing, which it attributes “in part to an increase in reporting, but also influenced by increasing hostility in UK-wide media towards trans identities and communities”. It cited JK Rowling’s controversial statements on the trans community as an example of media rhetoric which is creating a hostile environment for gender diverse people: “Anti-trans rhetoric continued to cause serious damage in the UK again this year. A prime example is repeated transphobic attacks by author JK Rowling, on Twitter and in her writing.”
The report continued: “Her statements have been harshly criticised by trans people, activists and writers. A growing number of celebrities, including from Harry Potter films, have spoken out in support of trans communities.” ILGA also expressed “extreme concern” over the UK high court ruling to prevent under-16s from accessing puberty blockers without legal permission. However, the UK was not the only place where trans rights are lagging, with ILGA advocacy director, Katrin Hugendubel, saying: “The ILGA-Europe Annual Review 2021 shows a significant growth of opposition towards trans rights across Europe, which is beginning to have a wide and negative impact on legal gender recognition.”