THE UK has tumbled down a list of "safe" LGBT countries with hate crimes reaching “dramatic numbers”.

Rainbow Europe now ranks the UK 17th out of 49 countries in the continent for achieved LGBT rights. Nine years ago, it was ranked 1st.

The report highlights how the Scottish Government’s attempts to make obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate easier through the Gender Recognition Reform Act were thwarted by a UK Government block on legislation that was “widely welcomed” by much of civil society and the Council of Europe.

Trans broadcaster India Willoughby has described it as a “damning indictment” of the UK.

The report also points to figures in annual Home Office statistics which state that homophobic hate crimes increased by 41% in the year to March 2022 and transphobic hate crimes went up by 56% in England and Wales.

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It cites the fact hate crime law in Scotland, which covers LGBT people as protected groups and strengthens protections, is yet to be brought into force.

The Crown Office published its annual Hate Crime in Scotland report in June, finding that the number of transphobic hate crimes increased by 87% in just one year.

The report details how the UK is yet to bring in a number of key policies which would help to improve equality including a ban on conversion practices and recognition of trans parenthood.

It highlights how politicians have continued a crackdown on trans rights, with ex-prime minister Boris Johnson initially announcing trans people would not be included in a so-called "conversion therapy ban". The UK Government has since said the ban will include practices aimed at transgender people.

The overall score given to the UK for achieved LGBT human rights is 53%. This is lower than France, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Belgium and Greece.

Green MSP Maggie Chapman said: "This fall is the direct result of the brutal campaign of smears and disinformation that has been waged against our LGBTQIA+ community and our trans siblings in particular.

"These words and actions do not exist in a vacuum. They have consequences and my heart and thoughts go out to everyone who has had their life affected by this resurging bigotry and hate.

"The issue is about far more than the UK's ranking on a list, although that emphasises how much worse things have got in a short period of time.

"There is a real human cost, and I have heard so many stories from trans people who are feeling far more exposed and at risk as a direct result of policies and attitudes being argued for by leading politicians and media outlets.

"It makes it all the more vital that we are able to implement the gender reform that our parliament voted for and to take the steps that are so badly needed to transform trans healthcare and ban conversion practices." 

It notes how anti-trans rhetoric continues to “cause serious damage” in the UK, with continued “hostile reporting” by mainstream newspapers. The report cites two trans journalists who pulled out of working on the Guardian’s coverage of Pride due to its “transphobic articles and posts online”.

There are major concerns around the treatment of LGBT people in education as well.

It was reported in February that the UK Government pressured the Equality and Human Rights Commission to withdraw its guidance resource for schools on supporting trans students in 2021. Rainbow Europe says the guidance could have helped schools prevent bullying and support children.

LGBT Youth Scotland’s "Life in Scotland" report found that 57% of trans students, 58% of bisexual students, and 70% of lesbian and gay students had experienced bullying in school. Only 10% of LGBT youth thought that school was a “good place” for LGBT students.

That report also found that the rate of LGBT young people thinking Scotland was a “good place for LGBT young people to live” dropped from 81% to 65% in just five years.