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In this paper I am talking about Hate crimes against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. I show that though Hate crimes are classified as crimes that are evoked by sexual orientation, race, identity, gender, or religion. Hate crimes are more common amongst the gay and transgender men. I show states with highest conviction rate in 2012. I also show the upward incline in numbers since 2005 until now. I offer explanations as to who commits these crimes and why. Lastly I show the progression of time and how prejudice and hate crimes although upward in numbers are really being accepted in our communities.
Hate crimes and the Homosexual community
After the Civil war the Government passed the first Hate crime Law in America. Recently, in 2009 sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability were added to the categories covered by the law. According to ( Stotzer,2012) these crimes are more common among homosexual men and the transgendered community, because most hate crimes are committed by heterosexual men. Even though lesbian women are victims of hate crimes, statistics show that hate crimes are more common among homosexual men and the transgendered community, because heterosexual men commit most hate crimes (Stotzer, 2012). Studies also find that twenty in 200,000 lesbians, gay men and bisexuals reported being victims of hate crimes. 52 in 200,000 gay men reported being victims of hate crimes. Yet only twenty in 200,000 reported being victims of hate crimes.
Hate Crimes against Homosexual and Transgendered
“There were 15,351 anti-homosexual hate crime offenses during 2002-2011”. (Potok, 2012, para. #). According to the (Intelligence Report, winter 2010, Issue Number: 140. The numbers show that gay men are two times more likely to suffer a violent hate crime attack than Jews. Gays are 3 times more likely to be attacked than blacks, and five times more likely than Muslims. FBI reports say that hate crimes against gay men have been on the rise since 2005. Violent hate crimes against LGBT people grew by 48 percent from 2005 until 2011. In 2010 Census.gov shows that half of all hate crimes were based on sexual orientation bias (Census.Gov, 2010). In 2011 reports show that there were 26 transgendered murders reported in the USA alone. In 2010 the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey in USA found that approximately 75% of sexual-orientation related hate crimes were of a violent nature.(Stozer, 2010)
Physiological Research on Straight Men Who Kill or Physically Harm Homosexuals
Mison (year) states that “[a] murderous personal reaction toward gay men should be considered an irrational and idiosyncratic characteristic of the defendant and should not be allowed to bolster the alleged reasonableness of the defendant’s act”(Dressler, 1995, p.4). Helena L. Alden and Karen F. Parker also state “that homophobia and gender stratification directly influences the incidents of hate crime victimization” (Alden, Parker, 2004). People who commit hate crimes are not limited to but mostly are Caucasian lower-class men who commit the crimes for fun or simply in resentment toward a certain group (Comstock 1991: 60-62; McDevitt and Levin 1993). Studies say that most men who commit these crimes have no physiological defects or problems. This means that these men are committing these hate crimes knowing exactly what they are doing. These studies ultimately prove that the victim is not at fault for the attack. These crimes are being committed out of sheer hate, hence the name “Hate crimes”.
Examples of Hate Crimes against Homosexuals
In 1998 the sad and horrifying murder of Matthew Shepard woke people up to just how serious hate crimes are getting. Matthew Shepard was only 21 years old. He was first robbed, then beaten within inches of his life and left for dead by two men. The two men told shepherd they were Homosexual and wanted to hang out with him. Matthew went with them and was led to a desert where he was beat to death. They did not charge the men with a hate crime; therefore it kept them from receiving the maximum punishment.
Following the attention and emotion evoked by Matthew Shepard’s death People’s eyes begin to open, both in the public and in the political office. 11 years after Matthew’s murder Obama passed an act to include sexual orientation, identity and gender. In honor of Mathew this act was named after him and James Byrd Jr. The Act is the first federal law to extend legal protections to transgender persons (James, 1998).
Gwen Araujo – born Edward “Eddie” Araujo was a pre-operative transgender teen. Eddie was born as a boy and began living life as a girl at the age of 14. Her name was legally changed to Gwen Amber Rose Araujo two years after her death. In the early hours of Oct. 4, 2002, Gwen was killed by a group of men in her hometown of Newark, California then buried in a homemade grave after they found out she was born male. The men were convicted of second-degree murder in connection to the killing of Gwen Araujo who was beaten, tied up and strangled, according to previous media reports. (Heinrich, 2006) States That Have Highest Rate of Hate Crimes against Homosexuals New York and California are the two states with the highest anti-gay hate crime rates.in 2011 in California a three fourths of hate crimes were motivated by the sexual orientation of the victims.
The majority of hate crime reported in that category targeted gay men. “These crimes continue to disproportionately affect LGBT people of color,” (Marroquin, 2012, p. #). The second highest state is New York with a percentage of 19.6 in 2010 and 39.4 in 2011. (Lovett, 2011). In 2011, the most common reported types of bias motivation in hate crime incidents involved: race/ ethnicity religion, and sexual orientation leading at 40.6 percent.(Lovett,2011). Incidents with a sexual orientation bias increased 15 percent, from 119 in 2010 to 167 in 2011 (Lovett,2012). Consequences of hate crimes and conviction rates
Haider (2001) states that “Hate crime policy implementation is shaped by the support and efforts of officers, the tractability of the problem, the support of police leaders, and the presence of state hate crime policies, police resources, and public opinion.”(p.1). The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 required the U.S. Department of Justice to collect data on incidence of hate crimes. This Act was passed by Bush in 1990. As a response to the murders of Matthew Shepard president Obama passed the most recent act in 2009. This Bill helps protect the LGBT community against hate crimes. Hate crime laws seems to be good but due to lack of enforcement a lot has still gone undone. There are still many hate crimes unsolved as well as unreported. Numbers have not gone down but, they have gone up. (Parfaite-Claude, 2012). Conviction Rates are shockingly low. According the Attorney General’s Report, only 51% of cases filed as “Hate Crimes” result in Convictions.
In conclusion, No matter what state you are in the statistics say that anti-gay hate crimes are leading in numbers. Sadly, Crime against persons is number one. Second is crime against Property. What must be taken into consideration is that more than half of anti- gay hate crimes are not reported, Due to fear, pride, or embarrassment. Although America has come a Long way with its hate crime laws and convictions, something more must be done. The enforcers of the law must do their jobs and remain loyal to their promises to their communities. In effect the people will feel more protected, which will in turn help them to feel more comfortable in reporting crimes. The key to overcoming hate crimes is to overcome hate.
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