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Report Released on Hate Crimes Against LGBTQ Communities

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released their “Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay. Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Communities in 2009,” Report this week. The report describes the frequency of hate violence against members of the LGBTQ community, the racial makeup of victims, the gender of those who commit crimes and the age group that is most at risk for attack. The report drew three conclusions: murders are at their second highest rate in a decade, increased anti-hate crime laws have sparked “increased vulnerability” for LGBTQ communities, and there are few resources available to victims of violence due to the economic crisis. In total, there were 22 hate crime murder victims in 2009, 79 percent of whom were people of color and the majority of whom were transgender women. Those who identify as gay make up almost half of the victims of hate violence, and statistics show that the perpetrators tend to be male (77 percent) and are typically a stranger to the victim (40 percent). October held the highest number of reported incidents, the same month Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added “gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability” to the federal hate crime law of 1968. According to a NCAVP press release, to the organization believes there is a disconcerting correlation between “increased visibility and increased vulnerability.” Though the number of hate-violence victims appears to have decreased since 2008 by 12 percent, NCAVP believes there is a significant lack of reporting, due to decreased monetary support for resources. Lisa Gilmore, Director of the Education and Victim Advocacy in Chicago, said “During the past year, NCAVP member organizations lost crucial staff and programming in the wake of the fiscal crisis … We believe that this drastically limited the ability of LGBTQ people to report violence and access vital support.” The report also makes recommendations for both government and service organizations to curb hate crime and forms of harassment, as well as make their resources more helpful and available. For instance, NCAVP calls for the government to include LGBTQ communities in the discourse of “under-served populations” and better train police to handle LGBTQ-related instances of violence. For service organizations, NCAVP suggests building alliances with other groups that serve historically disadvantaged groups and enhancing LGBTQ anti-violence programs.

Sources:

Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay. Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Communities in 2009 (pdf); Feminist Newswire 10/29/09; National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs press release 7-13-10 (pdf)