Gay men, lesbians targeted the most for hate crimes in L.A. County, report says

Image: Courtesy of Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

Gay men, lesbians, and LGBTQ organizations were the largest group targeted for hate crimes in Los Angeles County in 2016, including a gay man who was murdered by his father, according to a report released Thursday.

RELATED: North Hills father sentenced to prison for murdering his gay son

It also is the first time in 15 years that the number of homophobic hate crimes outnumbered anti-black hate crimes. At that time, 237 homophobic crimes were reported and 203 anti-black crimes were reported, according to the report.

In its report, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations said 482 hate crimes were reported, one less than 2015, and 114 of them were against gay men and lesbians; LGBTQ organizations were targeted four times. In 2015, gay men and lesbians reported 120 hate crimes.

The 2016 total is the highest figure since 2011. By comparison, the California Attorney General’s office reported an 11.2 percent statewide increase in hate crimes for 2016.


The report includes descriptions of seven hate crimes against gays and lesbians. For example, on May 23, 2016, in Koreatown, a married Latina couple were confronted by a Latino male, who asked the couple if they are gay and punched one of the women in the face. The victim’s wife and another witness held the suspect until police arrived and arrested him.

Here are significant findings in the report.

  • Sexual orientation was the second largest category with 23 percent of the hate crimes, compared to 24 percent in 2015
  • Anti-gay male crimes represented 86 percent of all sexual orientation hate crimes compared to 87 percent in 2015.
  • Anti-lesbian crimes were 13 compared to 15 in 2015.

Sexual orientation hate crimes have had a higher rate of violence than crimes based on race or religion.

  • 81 percent of homophobic crimes were violent compared to 64 percent of racial crimes and 36 percent of religious crimes.
  • 2016 was the third consecutive year that the rate of violence in sexual orientation crimes exceeded 80 percent.
  • Hate crimes targeting gay men were violent in 80 percent of the cases, but lesbians experienced violence 92 percent of the time.
  • The most common criminal offense was simple assault (44 percent), followed by intimidation (19 percent), vandalism (15 percent), and aggravated assaults (13 percent).
  • Latinos were the largest group of victims in sexual orientation hate crimes, 43 percent, followed by whites at 24 percent.
  • Black victims experience 23 percent of sexual orientation hate crimes, even though they represent 9 percent of L.A. County’s total population.
  • Gender-based crimes spiked 77 percent compared to 2015, from 22 to 39, and 31 of them were anti-transgender.
  • 69 percent of the transgender victims were Latina.

Image: Courtesy of Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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