Owen Jones calls out mainstream media’s ‘anti-trans hatred’ that’s ‘destroying people’s lives’

Owen Jones at the PinkNews Awards

Owen Jones has accused the media of being complicit in the rise of anti-transgender hate crimes.

Shocking new Home Office stats published on Tuesday revealed that reports of hate crimes against trans people have risen by 37 percent in the past year, faster than any other protected group.

There were 2,333 reports of hate crimes against transgender people in England and Wales from April 2018 to March 2019, four times as many as were recorded in 2014/15.

In an interview at the PinkNews Awards, Guardian columnist Owen Jones laid some of the blame at the feet of media outlets that have published anti-transgender content.

Owen Jones: Mainstream media outlets ‘need to take responsibility’ for anti-trans hate crimes.

He said: “We’ve seen a massive surge [in hate crimes] this year, most notably against trans people, and also a big rise in hate crime based on sexual orientation.

“I think the anti-trans hatred is partly being whipped up by mainstream media outlets, who need to take responsibility for what they have done.

“Do they have any sense of regret, any sense of humanity, any sense of remorse? Do they think to themselves, ‘Maybe actions do have consequences and we’ve gone a bit too far?'”

Anti-trans hatred ‘is similar to 1980s homophobia’.

Jones continued: “This media campaign is very similar to the campaign waged against gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the 1980s and 90s.

“We were portrayed as sexual predators preying on children, brainwashing children, as being deviants… we know it has a huge impact on the mental wellbeing of trans people, but we also know it incentivises bigots who feel emboldened.

“It’s time we call this out, because it’s destroying people’s lives and causing suffering on the streets and in communities.”

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Jones at the 2019 PinkNews Awards

Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Jones at the 2019 PinkNews Awards (Paul Grace)

Jones was not the only figure to tackle transphobia at the event, with Labour’s shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler delivering an expletive-filled speech on the issue, after equalities minister Baroness Williams urged activist to “bear with” the government over stalled reforms.

Butler said: “When the minister was on stage and she said ‘bear with me’, I was like, take my jacket! Bear with me? 2016! What’s happened in two years? Then she said, ‘it’s contentious’. What the f**k?

“Being left-handed was contentious once upon a time, being a working woman was was contentious once upon a time, being gay was contentious once upon a time. Who gives a s**t?”

She continued: “Just amend the goddamn act! Every time they delay, every time there’s a void, it’s filled with hatred.”

This is the seventh annual PinkNews Awards, sponsored by Amazon, and taking place at Church House, headquarters of the Church of England.