Lucy Spraggan fears lockdown has led to a flare up of homophobia as people who have spent time sending abuse online migrate to spewing vulgarity and offensive comments in the real world.
The 30-year-old singer-songwriter is openly gay and has been back in the dating game since she split from her wife, Georgina Gordon, in November 2019.
However, the star has come under attack while out and about at a festival and has also had homophobic insults thrown at her in recent months – and she thinks lockdown has contributed to a rise in such incidents.
With the public forced to contain themselves at home for months on end over the past two years due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Lucy thinks ugly online habits have started to spill in the offline world since lockdowns lifted.
She told The Sun: “I’ve never had much homophobic abuse in my life but since we came out of lockdown I’ve had four separate incidents.
“And a man just called me a ‘slag’ on the train for no reason. It feels like something has changed and I feel it at the shows at the moment.”
Lucy went on to explain that another man yelled abuse at her while she was walking with her girlfriend at Boardmasters festival in Cornwall earlier this year.
She said: “I was walking along with my girlfriend and a couple of friends – and a guy just turned around, looked at us holding hands, and was like: ‘D**es!’
“We just looked at each other like, ‘What?’ The nature of people sitting in their house on their computer for two years where you can make a comment with no consequence . . . it has washed out into outdoor society.”
Figures released earlier this month confirmed that police have recorded higher homophobic hate crimes during the ongoing pandemic.
The Guardian reported: “Reports of sexual orientation hate crimes recorded by UK police forces rose from an average of 1,456 a month from January to April this year to 2,211 on average from May to August.
“From January to August this year, at least 14,670 homophobic hate crime offences were recorded, compared with 11,841 in the same period of 2020 and 10,817 in 2019.
“During the same time period, police recorded 2,129 transphobic offences – well above the 1,606 offences in 2020 and 1,602 in 2019.”
It was also reported that transphobic attacks had reached a three year high during the same time period.
While the true figure of such attacks is believed to be higher due to victims deciding not to report such incidents.
Hate crime is defined by the Home Office as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”.