A transgender woman from West Suffolk is courageously telling her story of being a victim of transphobic crime to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR).
The National Day, which takes place tomorrow, memorialises those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, whilst raising awareness of hate crime.
The day coincides with the release of a poster featuring Shannon, aged 46, which is part of an initiative to encourage victims or witnesses of transphobic crime to come forward and report incidents to Suffolk Police.
A transphobic hate crime is: “Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”
Shannon has been a victim of harassment recently and has praised the support she received after reporting these incidents.
She said: “Suffolk Constabulary and Suffolk Hate Crime Service have supported me several times on transphobia.
“If you don’t report it you might as well say its ok for transphobic crime towards us to happen. It’s not ok, so please find the strength to report it.
“I’ve been there, I’ve been a victim of transphobia so I know what it’s like and I won’t tolerate it especially when it’s thrown at Trans kids.
“Hopefully the poster will inform people that it’s ok to report transphobia and that Suffolk Constabulary do take it seriously.”
The poster featuring Shannon will now be distributed at police stations across the county and is available for any community groups who would like to display it.
Matthew Rose, Chief Inspector for Community Safety said: “We are very proud to support Transgender Day of Remembrance, so that we can show our determination to stop crimes committed because of prejudice, and support the victims of such crimes.
“We are keen to increase awareness and reporting of Transgender Hate Crime, so we are grateful to Shannon for bravely telling her story.
“As part of our commitment we have a network of trained LGBT Link officers based around the county, who offer advice and support to victims of homophobic and transgender hate crimes, as well as professional support to investigating officers.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I want to make it absolutely clear, and it is a central component of the Suffolk Police and Crime Plan, that there is no room in our society for bigotry, intolerance and prejudice.
“The transgender community have every right to live their lives in freedom and security like everyone else. I completely support the work of the Suffolk hate crime partnership and their work to help build a more tolerant society.”
Deborah Charles, Community Safety Co-ordinator at Suffolk County Council, said: “We are really pleased to be producing this new Transphobic Hate Crime poster on International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“It is important that Suffolk Trans community recognise that Suffolk Police do take Transphobic Hate Crime seriously and will support you.
“I would like to thank Shannon for suggesting this poster and for being brave enough to go public and share her experiences.
“No one should suffer hate crime in silence, I would encourage any victim of Hate Crime in Suffolk to report what has happened to them but also importantly for witnesses to come forward and inform us what they have seen.”
Suffolk County Council is hosting an event to mark TDoR at Endeavour House, in Russell Road, Ipswich, from 12-2pm tomorrow.
The event is being organised by Gender Xplored, the Trans group within Suffolk with support from Suffolk County Council staff Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Network.
Also attending will be Norfolk and Suffolk NHS, Suffolk Police and the Hate Crime Service who will all have display stands in the Atrium.
Members of the public are invited to attend between 12-2pm with the Hate Crime Candle being lit at 1pm.
Joni, from Gender Xplored said: “As a diverse group of transgender and non-binary people, Gender Xplored are happy that TDoR is being recognised in Suffolk.
“Violence against people who identify as a gender other than that assigned to them is a problem across the globe and we greatly appreciate the prominence being given to this issue by organisations such as Suffolk County Council.”