Official figures have shown that homophobic hate crimes have reached their highest level on record in Scotland.
According to annual statistics from the Crown Office, there were reportedly 1,486 crimes motivated by sexual orientation in 2019-20, up 24% from 1,194 in 2018-19.
The increase in areas such as Aberdeen and Dundee was even greater, with a 68% increase in the former and 41% increase in the latter.
The 1,194 figure is a significant increase from the 452 homophobic attacks in 2010-11, when hate crimes were included in legislation. With the exception of 2014-2015, hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community have increased year on year.
Statistics also revealed that sexual orientation aggravated crime is the second most commonly reported type of hate crime in Scotland after racially-motivated attacks.
Anti-trans hate crime remained consistent with 41 charges, up one from 40 in 2018-2019.
Deejay Bullock, founder of Aberdeen-based LGBTQ+ support charity Four Pillars, told Press and Journal that he was “very alarmed” by the increase of homophobic hate crimes in Scotland.
“I don’t believe this can be attributed to increase reporting, which means there is a current increase in hate crimes on the LGBT+ community,” he said.
“This is not acceptable and we will be working with Police Scotland immediately to establish a strategy to combat this rise and any future crimes.”
Despite the increase in sexual orientation aggravated crime, Scotland is considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTQ+ equality.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Scotland will make history as the first country in the world to introduce LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons to their school curriculum.
In 2021, all public schools will receive lessons in issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community such as same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and the HIV and AIDS epidemic.