8 in 10 LGBTQ People Have Experienced Harassment Online, and 2 in 5 Leave Social Media Because of It

According to Galop’s 2020 Online Hate Crime Report, many LGBTQ people leave social media due to online abuse and harassment.

Of the 700 LGBTQ people surveyed, eight out of ten reported experiencing online abuse, which included hate speech and hate crimes, in the last five years. Half of the respondents had experienced this online abuse ten or more times, and 20 percent had experienced it more than 100 times.

Of those targeted, six in ten were threatened with physical violence, and four in ten had received a death threat or threat of sexual violence.

In response to this online abuse, many reacted by using social media less or leaving all together. Two in five LGBTQ people limited their social media usage following abuse, and one in five either removed LGBTQ information from their profiles or deleted their accounts altogether.

Less than one in ten actually reported the abuse to the police, and under half reported it to the social media company itself. Of those who did report, three in four were left dissatisfied with the response of both the police and social media companies.

One in four victims did not report the online abuse to anybody.

Transgender people were unsurprisingly found to be more likely to experience online abuse than cisgender people, both from transphobic users and within the LGBTQ community itself.

“[Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist] hate speech is pretty constant,” one person surveyed noted. “They tend to be very proactive in pushing hate speech and trying to prevent trans people from having acceptance, human rights, and access to treatment.”

“Transphobia from within the LGBTQ community is common, particularly gay men and lesbians,” another said.

“Despite progress on LGBTQ rights, online platforms remain hostile environments for many LGBTQ people,” said Nick Antjoule, the head of hate crime services at Galop. “This report offers a sobering reminder of the harms caused by online hate. It targets individuals, poisons social discourse, and limits opportunities to live open and fulfilled lives.”

“At Galop, we value free speech,” Antjoule continued. “It is a cornerstone of our society that allows oppressed groups to speak up for our rights, even when we are considered dangerous, immoral, or illegal. However, free speech is increasingly used as a fig leaf to legitimize hared. To remedy that, we hope this report will spur urgent action to create practical, legal, regulatory frameworks to tackle online hate and support those targeted.”