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Report: Hate-Based Violence Against LGBT Community On The Rise

In a year of both wonderful advances and devastating violence against LGBT people, it can be hard to take stock of where we stand as a community — and of the disparities that occur within the queer community itself.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has just released its 2015 Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence, an important resource documenting a turbulent year. The report came out the day after the brutal attacks on mostly-Latino LGBT people and allies in Orlando, and gives us context for the discussions of anti-LGBT violence that have erupted in the shootings’ wake. The report reminds us that anti-LGBT violence is deeply intersectional: As we saw in the Pulse shootings, it is often trans people and LGBT people of color who bear the brunt of hate crimes.

Statistics from the report demonstrate that anti-LGBT violence comes in varied forms — including verbal harassment, physical assault, and sexual violence — and affects LGBT people differently based on identity and background. LGBT people who experiences multiple forms of marginality experienced increasing incidences of violence, and certain groups were more likely to experience certain kinds of violence. For example, people of color were twice as likely as white people to experience physical violence. Undocumented people were four times as likely as documented people to experience physical violence. Lesbian survivors, on the other hand, were twice as likely as non-lesbians to experience verbal harassment.

As we saw horribly two weeks ago, anti-LGBT bigotry can be deadly. It is more deadly for those who experience multiple forms of marginality. In 2015 homicides of LGBT people jumped from 20 victims in 2014 to 24 victims in 2015. Fifteen of the victims were of color; three were Latino and twelve were black. Sixteen of these victims were trans and gender-nonconforming, and a full 13 were trans women of color.

How can communities address hate? The report suggested building up support systems for queer people and addressing factors that exacerbated queer people’s experiences of violence, like poverty and unemployment. It also contends with the issue of policing.

Particularly in the wake of Orlando, many activists critique the increase in police presence at queer events as part of their sustained criticism of police violence against communities of color. This report demonstrates the ways in which LGBT people can sometimes be harmed by the police more than helped. Of those survivors who reported incidences of hate violence to the police, 41% said that the police were indifferent and 39% said the police were hostile. That is, a full 80% of survivors did not feel that the police were concerned about their experience of hate crime. Those who reported negative experiences with the police experienced verbal abuse (33%), physical violence (16%), slurs or biased language (8%), and sexual violence (3%). Accounting for this relationship between race, anti-LGBT violence, and policing, the writers of the report recommended decreases in over-policing of LGBT people and encouragement of community-based programs for combatting violence.

NCAVP releases periodic reports on not only anti-LGBT hate crimes but also on intimate partner violence within the LGBT communities. I think this model of considering violence both against the community and within it is a really useful way for us to think about marginality and the way it compounds violence of many forms — from the very structure of our society (legal, legislative) to the interpersonal (hate crimes) to the most intimate experiences of our bodies and hearts.

As we saw far too painfully recently, anti-LGBT violence persists, especially among queer people who are multiply marginalized, and it is lethal. But the brutality of attacks such as Orlando are also the product of a climate of hate that is often expressed and sustained through smaller violences that LGBT people experience everyday. Learning about the scope of the problem — especially for straight people or queers whose privilege may shield them from worse violence — is an important step toward creating a climate in which all queer people may live in safety and dignity.

You can see the 2015 report, and reports on LGBT intimate-partner violence, here.

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing her masters.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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