A new report into online behaviour has uncovered a shocking level of transphobic abuse.

Brandwatch and Ditch the Label joined forces to analyse 10 million online posts over a 3 and a half year period to explore online transphobia.

The report uncovered 1.5 million transphobic comments amid the wider conversation around trans people.

Politics and race were the largest themes found within the transphobic comments, while other topics like gender and religion appear at a lower rate. The data didn’t show major differences between conversations from the US and the UK, although parenting and sports are twice as likely to be associated with transphobia in the UK.

Trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf said that she wasn’t surprised by the findings.

As someone who is in the public eye, I experience abuse on a daily basis and I worry that there are people in my community who don’t have the support systems to allow them to access the strength to deal with abusive behaviours. I’ve seen most of the transphobic comments in this report on my timeline, ranging from memes and abuse to actual threats to my safety.

Transphobia is seen as a valid opinion. We never look at racism, sexism or homophobia and say it’s an opinion, so why is transphobia such a ‘free for all’?

The study identified the most common terms of transphobic abuse, while also identifying a “pyramid of hate” to assess the most severe forms of online transphobia.

Larger sites like Twitter and Instagram had the lowest ratio of abuse to general discussion around trans issues, suggesting that people are using these platforms to spark a conversation and educate. That said, it should be noted that the volume of posts on these sites is far larger.

YouTube in particular was found to have an alarmingly high percentage of abuse vs general discussion of trans issues at 78% compared to 12% on Twitter and 5% on Instagram.

Comment sections on news sites made up a lot of the abuse there, and forums (which often offer anonymity) had a high percentages of abusive language.

Alarmingly, events such as president Trump announcing his plans to ban trans people from serving in the military directly correlate with spikes in online hate speech.

Read the full report here.

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