Hate crimes against LGBT people have increased over the years and this is very alarming as it appears the more rights LGBT people get then the more they are subjected to hate crimes as we have seen over the years. In 2016 the number of hate crimes give us some very alarming numbers and they also show us that we have a long way to go to cure this ignorance that exists around the issue in this country and really throughout the world.
Looking at just the United States we can see the amount of hate crimes against the LGBT community are happening more often and becoming more violent and deadly and this all started with the vicious torture and murder of the precious Matthew Shepard back in the fall of 1998 at the hands of two hateful and ignorant young men. This tragic event shook the nation as well as the LGBT community and is a tragedy that still brings tears to the eyes of all who loved Matthew and stand for civil rights. Mathew was just twenty-one years old when he lost his life far too soon and this was not even the first time he had become a victim of a hate crime.The way that he lost his life that night is too graphic to mention here and it is very emotional to even write about but we all should know what a hate crime does to the person, their family, and even we strangers who grew to love them.
At the time of this event hate crimes based on sexual orientation were not covered by the federal hate crimes act as well in Wyoming where this crime took place and the family of Matthew as well as the LGBT community and Democratic lawmakers would fight years to make it a hate crime to attack an LGBT person just as other hate crimes are covered by the law and eventually would be successful only to have it shot down in Conference Committee even though it was passed by Congress in September of 2000.
Finally, on October 22, 2009, the Senate passed The Matthew Shepard Act by a vote of 68–29 and President Obama signed the measure into law on October 28, 2009. This was a major step towards protecting LGBT individuals from hate crimes just like many other minorities are protected and have been for some time. President Obama met with the family of Matthew as well as other victims of hate crimes whom have waited a long time for this to become law and he should be thanked for doing the right thing and making this law at last.
Despite legislation finally being on the books hate crimes continue to happen and they continue to devastate the LGBT community as well as their families whom lose them and are left to mourn their precious lives whom left this earth much too soon. This legislation was a long time coming and finally gives these families the closure that they needed as well as hope for the future. Still, hate crimes continue to happen and will always exist as long as there are hateful and violent people in the world but we have to always fight against these acts of ignorance and violence and stand up for the victims as they could be us at any moment.
Another high-profile hate crime case happened on New Year’s Eve 1993 in Nebraska when 21-year old Brandon Teena was shot and killed in another brutal hate crime. Now, this happened five years before the murder of Matthew Shephard but didn’t gain media attention nationally like Matthew’s case did but was made into a movie years later. This was yet another horrific hate crime that was preventable but cost the life of yet another precious child. This case showed that hate and ignorance was alive and well in America and it took the life of a person of such brilliance and compassion who did not deserve to die.
Teena lived such a happy life but a life of secrecy and fear that no person should have to feel or do in this country or anywhere throughout the world. This case as well as the case of Matthew are just two out of dozens of hate crimes committed against LGBT people throughout this country that still happen today and on a daily basis. Thankfully there are now laws that prosecute the people who commit these crimes but they still happen as ignorance is active on this issue and it continues to happen nationwide year after year.
When we look at the numbers as of 2016 we see that the growing trend of LGBT hate crimes remains steady and people in this community and those who love them suffer and continue to suffer while many ignore the growing reality of the hate that exists in the United States against LGBT people. There are many in our own state and federal government who ignore that this is even a problem and they often are just as much to blame for these hate crimes as the people who commit them as they refuse to acknowledge that it happens, it does and far too often.
Lets look at the specific statistics on LGBT hate crimes that are sadly current and show the reality of the world LGBT people live in today and by doing this we can only hope to educate people on this growing problem and how the fight is far from over and how we need to protect and stand for LGBT people all across America. Here are some eye-opening numbers on the hate crime culture that exists in the United States of America in the year 2016, it is very alarming.
• 20.8% of all hate crimes are done to the LGBT community
• Half of hate crimes against LGBT people are done to gay males
• 72.3% of LGBT hate crimes are violent in nature
• Transgender hate crimes are on the rise over last decade
• LGBT people are twice as likely to be victim than other minorities
These numbers should alarm anyone as it shows the growing trend in hate crimes against the LGBT community and it shows that even though we have ant-hate crime legislation that we still have a big problem with violence against the community in this country that we must do something about it before it gets worse. We as Americans must always stand up for each other no matter who we are and sometimes we do not do that. The numbers just mentioned are astounding and the worst part is that crimes against LGBT people in the United States are getting worse and continue to rise year by year. The violent nature of these crimes also are on the rise and that is cause for concern being that we are a nation that can be very violent and LGBT people are a vulnerable minority that deserve to be protected not only by our laws but also by each other and that is something we as a people must focus on going forward.
As we tally the numbers it can be an emotional experience as nobody should have to be subjected to violence or hate and to know that it happens at such a growing rate to people in this community that already has been through so much is simply unacceptable and something that we must come together on and change if we are to have any hope of changing the violent and divisive culture that we live in. Hate crimes are always wrong but when they are done to people who have nobody to stand up for them and who have endured such pain and discrimination then something must be done about it and that is exactly what we must do. We have to change the culture in this country and abroad on this issue as if we cannot protect and stand up for the most vulnerable then we fail as citizens of our nations. Hate crimes are crimes where the perpetrator commits acts of violence against people different than them based on those differences and have devastating consequences for the victim as well for the community that hate crime was intended to harm and these are always acts of intolerance and hatred that must be opposed whenever we see them occur. The hate crimes that are committed against LGBT people and the LGBT community traumatize a community who has been victimized over and over in many different ways for decades and decades so they have extreme harmful effects.
As a community we can do certain things to fight back and the number one thing we can do is to support those in our communities who have been victimized as well as educate the public on what the LGBT community is about and who they are as many are misled and misinformed on who LGBT are and this misinformation that is spread can lead to these hateful attacks that take lives and destroy entire communities as well as families. We also can alert the authorities when we see suspicious activity that could have signs of hate in those communities and make sure we speak up when we see something out of place, this can be extraordinarily helpful too. The best thing we can do is be ourselves and not let the people who commit these hateful acts win as when we stop being who we are and stop pushing for LGBT rights and equality then we let them have power over us and win and that is the last thing that we should do, we should always fight. By being ourselves we also show the younger generations of LGBT people that we will not go back to the dark days where LGBT people were in the closet and we will stand and fight not only against hate but against all forms of discrimination.
Sadly in Trump’s America hate crimes will increase as his fans are much worse than your typical Republican and have hate and violence in their hearts as we have talked about on other posts. The hate will continue to happen and not just to LGBT people but to people from every diverse background across this nation, the threat to those who are in the LGBT community is especially great though and they must be protected and stood up for first and foremost. Donald Trump has shown again and again that he does not value or care what happens to LGBT Americans and we all have to step up and defend their rights as well as defend them against hate and violence. There is far too much homophobia that exists in this country and we all must do what we can to fight that division and hate and help those who are voiceless.