PUBLIC transport in the region is a no-go for many transgender people and abuse remains an every day occurrence, according to a leading trans-rights activist.
Last month a woman was subjected to ‘transphobic’ abuse while travelling on a train between Durham and London Kings Cross.
Police are appealing for witnesses after four men repeatedly abused the woman on Sunday January 19 before leaving the train in Durham.
North-East trans-rights activist Emma Roebuck warned that levels of hate crime are still rising as she gave an insight into everyday discrimination faced by the transgender population.
She said: “Public transport is a dangerous place. As a transperson going from A to B, you’re at risk and many avoid getting buses or trains as they know they are going to be targeted.
“Abuse can be a daily occurrence and every morning you get up and put on an emotional blanket to protect yourself from what you know to expect when you go out the front door.
“It can be anything from having someone look at you like you’re something on the bottom of their shoe to physical violence.
“You get comments and you become public property, with people thinking they have a right to touch your boobs or ask if you still have your genitals.
“People will say you should be shot and they’ll threaten to beat you up.”
She urged victims of abuse to report their experiences as Durham Constabulary described hate crime as “massively underreported”.
Inspector Colin McGillivray said: “The biggest problem we face is the gap between actual and reported incidents.
“We’re committed to actively investigating incidents of hate crime and dealing positively with offenders but to do this, we need people who have been victims to come forward.”
Ms Roebuck said: “There’s not a lot of trust between the trans and gay communities and the authorities because of how they were treated historically in the days when you could get arrested for kissing a man in the street.
“But you must keep reporting because it is the only way to improve lives and do something about it.”
She added: “There are still three people a week murdered for being transgender. We need to examine how to change minds through rational argument and common sense.”
Anyone with information about the incident onboard the train should contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040.