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Eye-opening new report reveals vile transphobic hate speech is being fuelled by race and politics

Patrick Kelleher October 25, 2019
Transphobic hate speech is often motivated by race and politics online.

Transphobic hate speech is often motivated by race and politics online. (Pexels)

A new study that investigated transphobic abuse online has found that much of the hatred is motivated by race and politics.

Anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label and Brandwatch investigated 10 million public posts over the course of three and a half years online to better understand transphobic hate speech.

Of those 10 million posts, 1.5 million contained transphobic language or abuse.

Researchers discovered that transphobic discussions are most often wrapped up in conversations about race in the United States, and in the UK the biggest driver of transphobia is politics.

Gender, religion, sport and healthcare were also major motivators of transphobic hate speech online.

Many people were also found to use their status as a parent to justify their views by saying things like: “As a mother of two kids…”

Topics such as gender, religion, sport and healthcare are also major motivators of transphobic discussion.

As a trans woman of colour, being subjected to these comments is extremely difficult to navigate, and I don’t feel that social media platforms are doing enough to tackle this very real issue of transphobia online.

The study also revealed that the most commonly used transphobic slur by far online is “tranny”, making up 80 per cent of the insults studied. The second biggest transphobic slur used is “shemale”, making up 10 per cent of transphobic slurs.

Transphobic abuse is most likely to occur on video sites and forums, and researchers believe that the anonymity of users on some of these websites may be fuelling some of the hate.

Study shows ‘inhumane’ way transgender people are treated online.

Liam Hackett, founder and CEO with Ditch the Label said the study does not make for light reading.

“It shows the many inhumane ways that transgender people are being targeted, harassed, and abused online every day,” he said.

“It is my hope that this report will bring the scale of the problem to public attention and encourage an urgent review of hate speech guidelines online and within the law.”

Meanwhile, trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf said she was saddened by the results of the study – but said they were not surprising.

“I’ve seen most of the transphobic comments in this report on my timeline, ranging from memes and abuse to actual threats to my safety,” she said.

“As a trans woman of colour, being subjected to these comments is extremely difficult to navigate, and I don’t feel that social media platforms are doing enough to tackle this very real issue of transphobia online.”

More: anti-trans, Hate crime, hate speech, Transgender, transphobia

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