A counter-terrorism probe was launched for a trans police officer’s safety after she was targeted with around “two million hate comments” online.
After serving with the West Midlands Police for 19 years PC Skye Morden found the courage to come out as trans in 2020. She was fully supported by her colleagues in the police, but nothing could have prepared her for the torrent of online abuse.
It all started when Morden wrote an article about her experience coming out as trans in the police, and some of the hardships she’d faced.
The article immediately went viral worldwide, from Europe to India to the Middle East, prompting a wave of comments so hateful that a counter-terrorism investigation was called to protect her.
“They totalled up around two million hate comments aimed at me,” she told ITV News. “There were 17,000 individual posts about me on Nazi and far-right message boards and forums.
“We can fly helicopters on Mars, but the minute somebody says ‘I’m trans I just wanna go and buy a pint of milk and be myself and not cause anybody any grief’, the world literally seems to me to lose its mind.”
But amidst this “sea of hate,” there was some positivity. Morden has been encouraged by the many people who have reached out to her with thanks after she shared her story.
“Those who have reached out just say, ‘Thank you. My son, my daughter, my brother, my sister, my best friend, my niece, my nephew… they have come out as trans, or they are concerned or confused about their gender identity. They have seen you up there and out there, and that’s given them hope.’
“And you know what, that’s an absolutely incredible thing because that has given me huge amounts of hope.”
While it’s easy to focus on the negative comments online, Morden stresses that the hatred you see on social media is often not borne out in reality, and most people have been accepting and supportive of her transition.
“There is this huge difference and disconnect between online and real world and if you accept yourself and realise that actually most people just want to get on with their own lives and actually don’t care if somebody is trans,” she said.
“I think that needs to be held and that’s really important.”