Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Anti-LGBT Violence Up 24%
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: May 20, 2008 - 3:00 pm ET
(New York City) A report released Tuesday shows that violent attacks on members of the LGBT community nationwide grew by 24 percent in 2007 over the previous year.
The 78-page report was prepared by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs with input from more than 30 of its members across the U.S.
The number of incidents of anti-LGBT violence rose from 1,486 in 2006 to 1,833 in 2007, based on reporting from the exact same reporting regions as the year prior.
Additionally, 2007 had the third highest murder rate in the past 10 years that NCAVP has been compiling the report with murders more than doubling from 10 in 2006 to 21 in 2007.
LGBT people also reported a 61% increase in sexual assaults perpetrated as hate crimes.
Part of the increase is attributed to an increase in the willingness of LGBT people to report hate crimes.
"The fact that more people within the queer community are reporting sexual assaults is a hopeful sign that they are coming out of isolation to heal from trauma. It also demonstrates the positive impact of education and outreach," said Jovida Ross, Executive Director of Community United Against Violence in San Francisco.
The report also notes that the most sizeable increases in anti-LGBT incidents in 2007 occurred in the nation's midsection.
In Michigan the number of reported incidents rose 207 percent to more than 200 attacks.
The report blames the increase in Michigan on a three-year high profile campaign against domestic partnership benefits. In February of 2007, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the trial court's holding that public employers may offer domestic partnership benefits. The result has been the loss of benefits, such as health insurance, for thousands in Michigan.
But attacks also rose by 135 percent in Minnesota, 142 percent in Kansas City and 28 percent in Pennsylvania.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report includes higher percentages than those reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI includes bias crimes against gays and lesbians in its annual report on although currently there is no federal hate law that includes the LGBT community. The most recent FBI report, released
The Matthew Shepard Act, which would add sexuality to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law, passed the House in May and the White House threatened to veto it.
In an effort to get around a veto the Senate version tied the measure to the 2008 defense authorization bill. It passed in September (story) and then went to conference where the provision was stripped out.
The FBI report found crimes against members of the gays and lesbians were the third largest reported, at 15.5 percent.
While the FBI report is based on formal complaints to police departments and does not include crimes against transsexuals.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report is based on people who have sought help from member agencies as a result of being victims of crimes.
It is generally believed more people tell peer counselors they have been gay bashed than go to police.
Still, Avy Skolnik, National Programs Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project cautions that the number of violent anti-LGBT incidents is likely even higher that its statistics show.
"We know that the 2,430 people who called on our organizations in 2007 are only a small fraction of the actual number of LGBT people who experienced bias-motivated violence," said Skolnik.
"Anecdotally, we constantly hear stories of LGBT people surviving abuse - sometimes multiple attacks per day when that violence comes from a fellow student, a neighbor, a co-worker, a landlord, or a boss."