National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
NATIONAL COALITION of ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS
Media

Annual Report on Anti-LGBT Hate Violence Released

Report shows a 24% increase in incidents over 2006

May 20, 2008

New York – Today, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) and over 30 of its members across the U.S. released their annual report on violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The 78-page report examines data compiled from 2,430 LGBT people who experienced hate violence in regions across the country including: Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Colorado, Houston, Texas, Kansas City, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, the New York City area, Pennsylvania, the San Francisco Bay area, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

NCAVP’s report is the most complete examination of hate violence against LGBT people in the United States. Each year, the FBI publishes its own report on hate crimes, which includes anti-LGBT incidents, but it consistently contains information on far fewer cases than the NCAVP publication because it relies solely on law enforcement reports of such crimes rather than victim service organization data.

Overall, NCAVP’s 2007 report noted an alarming 24% increase in total number of victims reporting incidents of anti-LGBT violence (from 1,954 to 2,430). The number of incidents of anti-LGBT violence rose from 1,486 in 2006 to 1,833 in 2007 (+23%), based on reporting from the exact same reporting regions as the year prior (see comparison chart of victims, offenders and incidents 2006-2007 below). In 2007, total number of offenders also increased about 5% over numbers in 2006.

Additionally, 2007 had the third highest murder rate in the past 10 years that NCAVP has been compiling the Hate Violence Report (see chart of known anti-LGBT murders in the U.S. since 1997 below) with murders more than doubling (from 10 in 2006 to 21 in 2007). LGBT people also reported a 61% increase in sexual assaults perpetrated as hate crimes. While this increase is disturbing, Jovida Ross, Executive Director of Community United Against Violence in San Francisco states: “The fact that more people within the queer community are reporting sexual assaults is a hopeful sign that they are coming out of isolation to heal from trauma. It also demonstrates the positive impact of education and outreach.”

It is worth noting that 2007 saw the most sizeable increases in anti-LGBT incidents in the nation’s midsection. Those regions included: Minnesota (+85, 135%), Michigan (+201, 207%), and Kansas City (+17, 142%). Other regions reporting increased numbers of victims in 2007 over 2006 include San Francisco (+24, 7%) and Pennsylvania (+10, 28%). Encouragingly, regions reporting decreases in numbers of victims in 2007 include New York City with 82 fewer victims than in 2006 (-14%) and Colorado (-27%), which received 45 fewer reports.
Notwithstanding the overall increase, Avy Skolnik, National Programs Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project cautions that the number of violent anti-LGBT incidents is likely even higher. “We know that the 2,430 people who called on our organizations in 2007 are only a small fraction of the actual number of LGBT people who experienced bias-motivated violence,” said Skolnik. “Anecdotally, we constantly hear stories of LGBT people surviving abuse - sometimes multiple attacks per day when that violence comes from a fellow student, a neighbor, a co-worker, a landlord, or a boss.”

The largest increase recorded in 2007 was in Michigan where the Attorney General concluded a three-year campaign against domestic partnership benefits. In February of 2007, the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the trial court's holding that public employers may offer domestic partnership benefits. The result has been the loss of benefits, such as health insurance, for thousands in Michigan.

In Michigan and elsewhere in the U.S., these highly visible political attacks on LGBT communities reinforce the idea that it is acceptable to target LGBT persons with violence. As NCAVP has noted this year, as well as in past reports, there is frequently a corresponding surge in anti-LGBT incidents of violence and crime as these campaigns play out in communities and in the local and national media.

The data in the report is submitted to NCAVP for analysis and derived from a common intake tool NCAVP’s members utilize when directly working victims of violence at their organizations, which are primarily, local LGBT victim service organizations.

PDF versions of the 2007 Report are available at www.ncavp.org along with previous editions of NCAVP’s reports on hate-motivated and domestic violence. For additional or regional contact information, call 212-714-1184.