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‘It's Something You Just Have to Ignore’: Understanding and Addressing Contemporary Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Safety Beyond Hate Crime Paradigms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 May 2011

School of the Environment and Technology, University of Brighton email:
Activist Researcher email:
Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London email:


In common with the experiences of many other groups – and despite changing legal landscapes and increasing recognition within social policy of different groups’ needs – LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) people continue to face discrimination and abuse, and improving safety continues to be a key touchstone for policy makers and practitioners engaging with LGBT lives. Based on evidence from Count Me In Too, an LGBT participatory research project in Brighton & Hove, UK, the paper challenges approaches to dealing with LGBT safety that narrowly focus on reporting within a hate crime paradigm, and recognises the shift towards multi-agency approaches to LGBT safety. Our evidence shows that many LGBT people differentially recognise or do not recognise abuse, instead ‘normalising’ much of the abuse they experience in order to carry on with day-to-day life. By focusing on the effects of abuse and how it is dealt with by individuals and communities, rather than focusing on what constitutes abuse, we show the importance of addressing LGBT safety in ways that move beyond questions of criminal justice and the reporting of hate crime. We argue for a broader social policy framework that uses multi-agency approaches to community safety for those who experience abuse on the basis of their sexual and/or gender identities, which should attend to how safety services may provide more appropriate contexts of care and support, and which should build upon relevant knowledges within LGBT communities. Fostering solidarities among LGBT people may also empower them to work towards broader social transformation.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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