Trans broadcaster India Willoughby under ‘Counter Terrorism Unit protection’ after death threat
Trans broadcaster India Willoughby is unable to lead a normal life, she says, because she’s under the protection of a special police unit, after receiving what has been described as a credible death threat.
In February, the British TV personality revealed that a death threat, targeting her for being trans, had been hand-delivered to her accountant’s address by the neo-Nazi National Action – a group proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK parliament.
India was targeted along with Black activist, academic and lawyer Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who received a similar note.
At the time, the Metropolitan Police said it was “taking this matter seriously” and launched an investigation, led by its Counter Terrorism Command. Since then, Willoughby been living under their protection.
She told PinkNews the situation had completely changed her life. “I can’t use social media like an ordinary person,” she said, explaining how she now had to be really careful about posting images that could reveal where she is or has been.
Her safety was obviously paramount, she said, but the fact that her life had become restricted was “just so unfair”.
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India first spoke of the protection she was under when commenting on attacks made on the trans business executive, Bobbi Pickard.
India Willoughby is still active on social media, despite concerns on what she shares, but revealed that even the most minor of comment results in an onslaught of vicious transphobia.
“I can’t even go on social media any more and say ‘Wasn’t that a great film?’ or ‘I really recommend this book’, with[out] 100 comments on my feed calling me a pedophile or a groomer or a man,” she explained. “It’s instantaneous and suffocating.”
She is currently involved in a “long process” with police regarding “one particular transphobic troll” who has been monitoring her online activity.
India Willoughby doesn’t ‘see anyone coming to our rescue’
Willoughby blames both the UK Government and media for the growing hate directed towards trans people, and wants people to think more about the consequences of their words.
“Most people in the country are not anti-trans, but this drumbeat that we have at the moment that trans people are a threat… inevitably seeps into the public consciousness. Sadly, I don’t see anybody coming to our rescue at the moment.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a quick turnaround for trans people.”
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