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Essays On Hate Crimes Against Gays

Even before the shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were already the most likely targets of hate crimes in America, according to an analysis of data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

L.G.B.T. people are twice as likely to be targeted as African-Americans, and the rate of hate crimes against them has surpassed that of crimes against Jews.

Politicians have been divided on how to define the Orlando tragedy. President Obama called it both “an act of terror and an act of hate.” But some Republican officials have refused to acknowledge that it could be considered a hate crime.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has omitted any mention of gays when talking about the massacre, and Representative Pete Sessions of Texas has said the site of the shooting was not a gay club.

According to a CBS News poll released on Wednesday, however, most Americans call the attack both a hate crime and terrorism. And the nightclub, Pulse, on its Twitter account, billed itself as “Orlando’s premier gay ultra lounge, nightclub and bar.”

As the Country Becomes More Accepting, Some Become More Radical

Nearly a fifth of the 5,462 so-called single-bias hate crimes reported to the F.B.I. in 2014 were because of the target’s sexual orientation, or, in some cases, their perceived orientation.

Ironically, part of the reason for violence against L.G.B.T. people might have to do with a more accepting attitude toward gays and lesbians in recent decades, say people who study hate crimes.

As the majority of society becomes more tolerant of L.G.B.T. people, some of those who are opposed to them become more radical, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The flip side of marriage equality is that people who strongly oppose it find the shifting culture extremely disturbing, said Gregory M. Herek, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, who is an expert on anti-gay violence.

“They may feel that the way they see the world is threatened, which motivates them to strike out in some way, and for some people, that way could be in violent attacks,” Mr. Herek said.

Last summer, less than two months after the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, a New York City man was arrested and charged with a hate crime for attacking Larry and Daniel Lennox-Choate, the first gay couple to be married at West Point Military Academy.

A few months later in Palm Springs, Calif., a gay married couple, George and Chris Zander, who were also L.G.B.T. leaders in their community, were assaulted outside a local nightclub. Palm Springs officials said they believed it was the second crime there that year that targeted L.G.B.T. people.

In March of this year, Elliot Morales was convicted of murder as a hate crime for killing Mark Carson, a gay black man, in Manhattan three years earlier. Mr. Morales had shouted anti-gay slurs at Mr. Carson and his companion before shooting him.

This week, just days after the Orlando shooting, a judge sentenced Mr. Morales to 40 years to life in prison.

For Many Reasons, Hate Crimes Are Underreported

Finding accurate statistics about hate crimes targeting L.G.B.T. people is challenging, in part, because victims — fearful of outing themselves to family members or employers — might choose not to report an attack, Mr. Herek said.

A recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that most crimes are not reported to the police, and those that are reported are frequently not classified as hate crimes by local jurisdictions.

A recent investigation by The Associated Press found that thousands of city police and county sheriff’s departments had not filed a single hate crime report to the F.B.I. between 2009 and 2014.

Larger cities or cities with a more visible L.G.B.T. community are more likely to have procedures and training in place to detect and reduce hate crimes.

For example, in 2014 only one hate crime was reported for the entire state of Mississippi. In Connecticut, where L.G.B.T. people are arguably more visible and influential, 23 hate crimes based on sexual orientation were reported, Mr. Herek said.

Minority Transgender Women Are Frequent Targets

A look at four years of homicides of L.G.B.T. people catalogued by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs shows that the vast majority of those who were killed were black or Hispanic transgender people.

The group collects data on violence against L.G.B.T. people in 12 states, and is considered one of the most authoritative sources of such data.

It recorded 88 homicides of L.G.B.T. people from 2012 to 2015. The data offers insight into the victims of extreme violence, but the total number L.G.B.T. homicides is most likely much higher since the group is not able to collect data nationwide.

Among those killed last year was India Clarke, a black transgender woman who was beaten and shot in July in Tampa, Florida. Keith Gaillard, the man charged in her murder, was also accused of killing a man believed to be gay less than a week later.

A separate report by the Human Rights Campaign said that more transgender people were killed in 2015 than during any other year on record.

At a time when transgender people are gaining visibility, “transgender women of color are facing an epidemic of violence that occurs at the intersections of racism, sexism and transphobia – issues that advocates can no longer afford to address separately,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in the report.

There is a long history, particularly in the transgender community, of not being treated with respect by law enforcement, social service agencies and the legal system, said Roger Coggan, director of legal services at the Los Angeles L.G.B.T. Center.

“Unfortunately, we just have to accept the fact that stigma based on sexual orientation is still widespread,” Mr. Herek said. “Overcoming those prejudices is a lot of work.”

Hate crimes per one million adults

L.G.B.T.

Jewish

Muslim

Black

Asian

Hispanic

White

Jewish

L.G.B.T.

Black

Muslim

Hispanic

Asian

White

Hate crimes per one million adults

Jewish

L.G.B.T.

Black

Muslim

Hispanic

Asian

White

L.G.B.T.

Jewish

Muslim

Black

Asian

Hispanic

White

Hate crimes per one million adults

Jewish

L.G.B.T.

Black

Muslim

Hispanic

Asian

White

L.G.B.T.

Jewish

Muslim

Black

Asian

Hispanic

White

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation; socialexplorer.com; Census Bureau; Pew Research Center; Williams Institute

The Orlando attack was ...

Mostly terrorism

Mostly hate crime

Both

The Orlando attack was...

Mostly terrorism

Mostly hate crime

Both

The Orlando attack was...

Mostly terrorism

Mostly hate crime

Both

Source:CBS News poll conducted June 13-14, 2016, among a random sample of 1,001 adults nationwide.

Larry Lennox-Choate, left, and Daniel Lennox-Choate at their wedding in 2013, two years before being attacked.Jill Knight/Associated Press

A memorial for Mark Carson, who was murdered in a hate crime.Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

L.G.B.T. homicides by race and sexuality

2012-2015

Latino

transgender

women

 

L.G.B.T. homicides by race and sexuality

2012-2015

Latino

transgender

women

 

L.G.B.T. homicides by race and sexuality 2012-2015

L.G.B.T. homicides by type of attacks

2012-2015

L.G.B.T. homicides by type of attacks

2012-2015

L.G.B.T. homicides by type of attacks

2012-2015

Source:National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

Family and friends at a vigil to mourn the death of India Clarke.Octavio Jones/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire

"The book is an eminently useful collection of social-scientific articles, journalistic essays and interviews, and first-person stories of violence. It makes a start at documenting the endemic hate and violence against gay men and lesbians in the United States and the need to do something about it. Beyond documenting the extent of the assaults, Hate Crimes explores their social context, the various motivations of the perpetrators and the organizations formed to support victims and help stop the violence." (The Women's Review of Books)

"A first-rate interdisciplinary collection: beautifully organized, highly readable, informative, multicultural, and attentive to feminist concerns. A major source on recent U.S. developments. . . . This volume is a 'must read' for anyone in law enforcement, health care, or social services, as well as for educators, social scientists, and lesbians and gay men everywhere. All levels." (Choice)

"Violence against lesbians and gay men is shamefully pervasive and in dire need of remedy. This pioneering book takes a broad and deep look at this much overlooked problem and points the way for future study and action. I recommend Hate Crimes to anyone who cares about this alarming injustice." (Urvashi Vaid, Former Executive Director, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force)

"This book lays an incontrovertible foundation for the reality, seriousness and adverse effects of anti-lesbian and gay violence and does so within a rich context of social-psychological understandings. . . . Empirical research, theoretical discussions, clinical material, personal accounts and public policy implications are all focused, deftly handled and managed into a coherent whole. . . . Whether one is specifically interested in the topic, or simply interested in seeing the level of sophistication and integration gay and lesbian perspectives are capable of, this volume is highly recommended." (John C. Gonsiorek, APA Division 44 Newsletter)

"A very up-to-the-minute account. . . . Herek and Berrill have compiled a series of essays by women and men who are literally creating a new philosophy of the etymology of anti-lesbian/anti-gay crime. There is provocative new material on the psychological effects of continued harassment and how the fear of violence can lead to violence itself." (Lambda Book Report)

"Anti-gay and -lesbian violence is increasingly coming to the attention of police in cities across the nation. We have a responsibility to the gay citizens in our communities to understand the nature of these insidious crimes and use this understanding to develop model responses to the problem. I recommend this book to all in the police community who are interested in learning more about the problem of antigay and lesbian violence." (Darrel W. Stephens, Executive Director, Police Executive Research Forum)

"The papers collected here represent an important milestone, the first anthology devoted exclusively to serious discussion of what is known about antigay prejudice and violence. It is a most thorough and thoughtful book, one that should be read by all Americans who wish to understand the specific dimensions of antigay violence and the general problem of hate crimes in our society. It will be especially useful to law enforcement personnel, legislators, and policymakers. . . . Whether based on sexual orientation, race, religion, or ethnicity, bigotry and the violence it inspires pose a grave threat to the peace and harmony of our communities. The need to alert Americans to this threat is great. We need especially to educate our youth about tolerance and about appreciating the benefits that we enjoy as a result of our culture's rich diversity of peoples, beliefs, and ways of living. This ground-breaking book sounds an alarm and provides tools for understanding the dimensions of hate violence. It deserves your careful study." (from the Foreword by The Honorable John Conyers Jr. U.S. House of Representatives)

"This collection clearly describes the process and aftermath of victimization in crimes where the victim has been targeted because of her or his sexual orientation. This book is particularly important in the aftermath of the antigay sentiment expressed during the recent 1992 Republican National Convention and in the national campaign. . . . These papers clearly and compellingly describe the victims' fears of antigay violence. The final papers contain an important discussion of strategies that communities and public officials should take to support victims of antigay violence and to deter future antigay hate crimes. . . . It should be read by all those who want to understand the fear of violence that is the constant companion of many gay men and lesbians in our society." (Contemporary Sociology)
 

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