Hate crimes against transgender people are rising faster than any other in Scotland, it has emerged, as new figures published by the Scottish Government showed reports to police have soared in the past year.
New statistics published by the Scottish Government have revealed that the number of hate crimes recorded against transgender people has soared by 68 per cent from 2020/21 to 2021/22 and has increased more than threefold over a seven-year period.
Green MSP Maggie Chapman said the sharp rise incidents has been “fuelled by a cynical campaign of vicious lies” over Scotland’s gender recognition reforms.
According to the statistics, hate crimes where transgender was the aggravator has jumped from 53 in 2014/15 to 110 in 2021/21 and 185 in 2021/22.
The total number of hate crimes has increased slightly over the space of 12 months from 6,720 recorded in 2020/21 to 6,927 for 2021/22.
Hate crimes against people due to their sexual orientation has also risen from 1,110 in 2014/15 to 1,683 in 2021/21 and 1,855 in 2021/22.
The number of hate crimes targeting disabled people has also climbed over the years, moving from 269 in 2016/17 to 435 in 2020/2021 and 552 in 2021/2022.
The most common aggrevator for recorded hate crimes, race, has seen a slight decrease from 5,178 incidents in 2014/15 to 4,316 in 2020/21 and 4,263 in 2021/22.
An MSP has warned that the toxic debate around gender recognition for trans people in Scotland has led to more transgender people being targeted.
Greens equalities spokesperson, Maggie Chapman, said: "We should all be angry about the appalling increase in transphobic incidents in Scotland.
“This awful rise must also not be viewed out of context. It has been fuelled by a cynical campaign of vicious lies and smears spread about our trans siblings.
"Much of it has been whipped-up and encouraged by powerful voices, such as those with significant public platforms and those in the UK government who want to distract from their own failings.”
She added: "This abusive behaviour must never be normalised. Prejudice and bigotry ruin lives. Behind every one of these crimes is a real person who has been attacked just for being who they are.
"My heart goes out every single person who has been targeted and abused. I stand in solidarity with them and their friends and allies. This poisonous transphobia has absolutely no place in a modern and progressive Scotland."
According to the study, 27% of transphobic hate crimes were carried out online, 28% took place in public and 23% took place at a private property. The vast majority of transgender identity aggravated hate crimes were reported to the police by the victim.
In almost 90% of transgender identity aggravated hate crimes in 2021/22, the perpetrator should prejudice towards those from the transgender community based on “words used, action taken or perceptions of the victim”.
But the Scottihs Conservatives, the only Holyrood party who oppose the gender recognition reforms, have lablled Ms Chapman's claims as "malicious, unfounded and untrue".
The Tories' equalities spokesperson, Rachael Hamilton, said: “No-one should ever be targeted or attacked for their gender identity, and this rise in hate crimes against transgender people is appalling.
“However the idea that this has been ‘whipped up’ by the UK Government is malicious, unfounded and untrue. While the debate about the SNP’s gender recognition reforms has evoked strong feelings on both sides, the UK Government and the Scottish Conservatives have used sensitive and respectful language throughout."
She added: “By contrast, it has been a minority of supporters of this Bill – such as Maggie Chapman – who have used some of the most inflammatory and divisive language when discussing this sensitive issue.
“We have always been clear that trans people deserve support, respect and recognition – but this must not come at the expense of the rights and safety of women and girls.”
Police Scotland's superintendent Claire Dobson said: “Targeting anyone because of who they are is deplorable. Hate crime should have no place in society and we are working to increase awareness and encourage reporting.
“We want anyone who experiences hate crime, including when our officers and staff are targeted, to report it in the knowledge they will be treated fairly, with respect and the circumstances investigated professionally.”
The Scottish and UK governments have been contacted for comment.