By Matt Horwood, Director of Communications and Campaigns 

Despite working at akt since 2018, it still astounds me that over three decades after the charity was established, the need for our work is rapidly increasing rather than decreasing.

This applies in particular to trans young people, who made up almost half of our service users last month. 

More broadly too, the percentage of our service users who identify as trans is higher this year than for the same period last year. 

And unfortunately, it’s not just our services that trans young people are overrepresented in.

Our latest research found that, before becoming homeless:

  • Almost two thirds of trans young people were stopped from expressing their identity by family members. This was 28 per cent higher than LGB people who aren’t trans.
  • 14 per cent of trans young people have had abusive content published about them online by family members, e.g., images and videos. This was 10 per cent higher than LGB people who aren’t trans. 
  • 17 per cent of trans young people we spoke to had been forced to do sexual acts by family members.

And while experiencing homelessness:

  • 70 per cent of trans young people experienced physical health problems. This was 12 per cent higher than LGB people who aren’t trans.
  • 46 per cent of trans young people struggled to keep or find a job. This was six per cent higher than LGB people who aren’t trans.
  • 62 per cent of trans young people found it hard to maintain or develop relationships. This was nine per cent higher than LGB people who aren’t trans.
  • Almost half of trans young people experienced transphobia (43 per cent), or dead naming (40 per cent) when accessing support from a local authorities or homelessness charities.

While disturbing, those numbers might not come as a shock.

Trans people have faced a huge spike in vitriol and violence in recent years, in our national media, online and in their everyday lives.

Given this, it’s no surprise that so many trans young people continue to face abuse, rejection or are kicked out of home by the people who are meant to be there no matter what. 

And so now more than ever, it’s vital we do all we can to best support trans people, especially the most marginalised and vulnerable, like the young people akt supports.

Last week, thousands of people came together in London, marched and held space to celebrate trans lives and protest for their liberation. 

This week, Mhairi Black MP delivered a powerful Pride speech on the urgent need for trans allyship. As part of this, she highlighted the fact that research continues to tell us: the majority of LGB folk very much support trans rights. This coordinated hate comes from a minority of people.

Pride month might be over, but as individuals we should all be thinking about how we use our own platform or position to better support trans people. For example, hanging up a trans flag at work, including your pronouns in your email signature or donating to vital services that are there for the trans community. 

We can only hope that, by this time next year, there will be less trans young people facing homelessness and in urgent need of support. 

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