Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people surge, FBI says

LGBTQ Hate Crimes 2022

Venice Pride flies the world’s largest rainbow pride flag at Windward Plaza during the 2018 event. The FBI has found an alarming rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, according to its annual crime report for 2022. Photo: Adam Fossier

The FBI has found an alarming rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, according to its annual crime report for 2022.

The FBI data reveals a 13.8% increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation and a striking 32.9% surge in those targeting gender identity compared to the previous year.

Specifically, the report documented 1,947 incidents relating to sexual orientation in 2022, up from 1,711 in 2021.

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Additionally, incidents concerning gender identity rose to 469 from 353. Within the gender identity category, 338 instances were specifically anti-transgender, and 131 targeted individuals who were gender-nonconforming.

The Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, expressed grave concern over these statistics, emphasizing the situation’s urgency.

“The rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected,” Kelley Robinson, HRC’s president, said in a statement.

She pointed to a “constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures” and a wave of discriminatory bills, especially those aimed at transgender individuals, contributing to this dangerous climate.

Robinson also shed light on the incompleteness of the data, indicating that numerous cities and states have been reporting either incomplete or no data on anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes. She stressed the need for a comprehensive account of such crimes to counteract this escalating violence effectively.

The FBI’s report also outlined that race- and ethnicity-motivated hate crimes continue to constitute the largest category, accounting for 56 percent of all hate crimes, followed by religion-based hate crimes and those targeting sexual orientation.

Notably, more than one in five hate crimes stems from anti-LGBTQ+ bias.

This alarming data comes against an unprecedented influx in anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation. Over 550 bills have been introduced across 43 states, with more than 80 being passed into law — more than double the number from the previous year, marking a disturbing upward trend. Some of this legislation has been propelled by extremist Republican candidates eyeing the presidency, accompanied by increased anti-transgender rhetoric and violence.

In June, responding to the hazardous legislative environment and rising violence, HRC declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ individuals for the first time in its over 40-year history.

The organization had earlier, in November 2020, released a “Blueprint for Positive Change,” urging the Department of Justice to bolster efforts to ensure local law enforcement agencies report hate crime statistics annually.

Despite some advancements made by the Biden-Harris administration to enhance reporting compliance, HRC says that further action is essential for a more accurate and exhaustive accounting of hate crimes.

Robinson emphasized the need for collective action to combat this trend.

“If we’re going to bring a stop to that violence, we need a full accounting of just how many hate crimes are taking place – and that requires every jurisdiction stepping up,” she said.

This article originally appeared on Advocate.com, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Equal Pride.

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Christopher Wiggins

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