The FBI published data last year that hate crimes were on the rise. According to their report entitled, 2016 Hate Crime Statistics, there were roughly 1400 hate crimes directed toward the LGBTQ community defined as crimes perpetrated due to sexual orientation or gender identification. Now in the grand scheme of our population 1400 may not sound like a lot. But those are 1400 individuals who were attacked and/or assaulted and/or murdered due to their sexual orientation or gender identification. That is 1400 too many.
That is also a 5% increase from 2015.
When this was published in 2017 the rate of murder of transgender individuals was already increased from the previous year.
I believe the actual number of hate crimes is higher, but many are not reported.
I personally don’t think it’s a coincidence that there is an increase in hate crimes toward the LGBT community after we elected officials who are openly anti-LGBT.
In my clinical practice I’ve heard many individual’s stories of discrimination and being victim to assaults due to sexual orientation or gender identification. I’ve heard from clients and in my own personal life that they have been spit on, punched, thrown against walls, jeered, followed, etc. I’ve yet to meet some one who has reported any of these experiences to the authorities.
I’ve met people who have come away with black eyes and broken bones or dislocated joints, and they have not reported these crimes. I’ve actually never met someone who has pressed charges. This is why I think this is a gross underestimation of actual hate crimes.
The saddest stories are those where the perpetrator is a family member who reacts with violence when their child comes out to them. I have spoken to individuals who have walked away with broken bones after coming out to their parents.
This happens in the United States. Not just in the South. But also in the Northeast. It happens in towns and homes right next door to you.
I’ve been questioned by transgender clients in the past year about what my medical record will say and who it could be released to. They have said they live in fear of our new administration and they don’t want to be put on a list somewhere by the government.
I thought it was cool when my medical record system added gender identification as an option. But to my clients it is a vulnerability.
The Queer community feels unsafe. I see and hear it daily.
Nothing will change this uncertainty and fear unless we vote. Vote in the 2018 elections. Vote in the 2020 elections.
Don’t turn a blind eye to the hatred fostered by this administration. It is real, we are feeling it, and it hurts.