Violence against gays, lesbians and bisexuals is increasing, according to a survey published by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. The survey reported 2,445 documented anti-gay attacks, a 2 percent increase over 1996, and 18 murders in 1997. The survey documented 14 areas across the United States, including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Researchers worry that the increase in attacks is the result of increased publicity of homosexuals through coverage of the Atlanta bombing of a gay nightclub and the popular TV show “Ellen.” Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence, a D.C. group, issued their own report documenting 86 hate crimes in 1997, a 25 percent increase over 69 attacks in 1996. GLOV officials claim that the figures probably represent only a portion of actual attacks.
Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, commented “The very people who are targeted are often least likely to report it …. People who are closeted are very unlikely to report anti-gay harassment or violence.”