Eight transphobic posts are shared online every minute in the UK and US, a new report has found.
The posts uncovered by the report range in severity from the expression of transphobic attitudes, through to acts of anti-trans bias and discrimination, and even threats of violence and genocide.
"As a trans woman of colour, being subjected to these comments is extremely difficult to navigate," activist Munroe Bergdorf said in response to the findings. "You have to be dead inside to not let it bother you and it’s made even harder when you experience it all the time and the people perpetrating it don’t seem to be sanctioned for their behaviour."
Bergdorf also said that she was "interested to see the relationship between transphobia and racism and do feel that racist people see transphobia as a tool to legitimise their racism".
"I’ve had transphobic comments on photos of me mixed in with Nazi speech a number of times," she added.
The report found that on Twitter and Instagram, a relatively low percentage of posts about trans-related issues were abusive. This suggests that these social media platforms are being used to "spark a conversation and educate", the report said.
On YouTube, the report uncovered a much smaller number of posts about trans-related issues, but a massive 78% were found to be abusive, compared to just 12% on Twitter and 5% on Instagram.
Comment sections on news websites were also found to contain a high percentage of anti-trans abuse. Forums, which often allow people to post anonymously, contained a high volume of anti-trans abuse as well.
Liam Hackett, CEO of Ditch the Label, told Refinery29 that he encourages everyone to read the report, saying: "Unless you are trans, have a loved one who is trans or are an activist, it’s easy to be in the dark about the problem. The reality is, transphobia is growing at an alarming rate and online abuse can and does spill into physical violence offline."
Hackett also urged LGBTQ allies to call out transphobia whenever they see it in a social media post, forum comment or online article.
"Switch off the shows that ridicule trans people and stop buying the papers with transphobic headlines," he added. "There are already movements, such as Stop Funding Hate, aiming to make media outlets and their advertisers accountable for the hateful content they produce or fund."