'There was this sea of hate': Transgender police officer speaks out over torrents of online abuse

By ITV News Journalist Ciaran Fitzpatrick

One of the most senior police officers in the Midlands had said she has been subjected to online abuse from millions of people since coming out as a trans woman.

Skye Morden has been a West Midlands Police officer for over 20 years, most recently specialising in taser and public order training.

After writing an article which went viral talking about her experiences being transgender, she says a counter-terrorism investigation was started to check if she was safe.

"They totalled up around two million hate comments aimed at me," said Ms Morden.

"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," Skye Morden says

She said: "I wrote an article about coming out as trans and about some of hardships that I'd gone through and some of my thoughts and feelings. That went viral beyond belief."

Ms Morden said it got picked up by tabloids and press across Europe and around the world, before adding "and then there was this sea of hate".

However Ms Morden said there have been lots of people that have reached out since hearing her story.

"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. That's an absolutely incredible thing because that has given me huge amounts of hope."

Skye won a Pride of Birmingham Award earlier this year for your continued bravery in speaking out and being a role model to others. Credit: BPM

Skye said she has always known she was trans and had tried to hide it for a huge part of her life, but it wasn't until she found true self acceptance that she was ready to be her authentic self.

She added: "For the first time in my life, I feel calm, I feel relaxed, I feel me. And that is the most important thing."

Her colleagues in the police have been "brilliant." As a result, she said it has allowed her "to thrive, as the true me."

What advice would Skye give to anyone struggling with their gender identity?

Ms Morden said: "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."

"I think that needs to be held and that's really important."

Vanessa Jardine, the Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, said they will continue supporting Skye as much as possible because they believe she is a true role model.

She said: "Every time Skye steps up and in my view is hugely brave and goes out and marches in Pride and it goes onto Twitter and social media, she receives an absolute torrent of abuse."

"It is hugely personal, it's directed at her, threats are made against her and it's absolutely abhorrent what she receives."

"I just want to say to those people out there that are directing this abuse to Skye, to just be kind."

'The threats are absolutely abhorrent...I just want to say to those kind,' Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police says

Ms Jardine added: "You may have a different view to Skye but actually we're all different and we should respect one another and we should be kind to one another and we should be kind to one another."

"She's a brilliant role model for the LGBT+ community and the trans community. She has our full support here at West Midlands Police."

Jardine, who has a new national role where she leads on LGBT+ issues for the National Police Chief's Council, said the force is doing everything they can to tackle the rise in homophobic attacks in the region.

Who to contact if you or someone you know needs help:

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

For more information on being LGBT+ or supporting someone in the LGBT+ community:

  • Gender Identity Clinic: The Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) is the largest and oldest gender clinic in the UK, dating back to 1966. Their helpline is 0208 938 7590.

  •  Just Like Us: Just Like Us is the LGBT+ charity for young people. You can call them on 0300 365 5002.

  • Switchboard LGBT+ HelplineSwitchboard provide an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men and bisexual and trans people – and anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity. Helpline: 0300 330 0630 (10-10 daily).

  • UK Black PrideEurope’s largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQ people.

  • FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)Offers support to local parents groups and contacts, in their efforts to help parents and families understand accept and support their lesbian gay and bisexual members with love and pride. Central Helpline no: 0845 652 0311