History of violence against LGBT people in the United States

A memorial in May 2013 where Mark Carson, a 32 year old black gay man, was shot to death by another man who trailed and taunted him and a friend as they walked down the street in New York City's Greenwich Village.

The history of violence against LGBT people in the United States is made up of assaults on gay men, lesbians, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex individuals (LGBTQI), legal responses to such violence, and hate crime statistics in the United States of America. Those targeted by such violence are perceived to violate heteronormative rules and contravene perceived protocols of gender and sexual roles. People who are perceived to be LGBTQI may also be targeted.

A hate crime is simply defined as when individuals become victimized because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.[1] Hate crimes against LGBTQI people often occur because the perpetrators are homophobic or transphobic. Violence targeted at people because of their perceived sexuality can be psychological and physical up to and including murder. These actions may be caused by cultural, religious, or political mores and biases.

Federal hate crime statistics

In 2014, the FBI reported that 20.8% of hate crimes reported to police in 2013 were founded on perceived sexual orientation. 61% of those attacks were against gay men.[2] Additionally, 0.5% of all hate crimes were based on perceived gender identity. In 2004, the FBI reported that 14% of hate crimes due to perceived sexual orientation were against lesbians, 2% against heterosexuals and 1% against bisexuals.[3]

The FBI reported that for 2006, hate crimes against gay people increased from 14% to 16% in 2005, as percentage of total documented hate crimes across the U.S.[4] The 2006 annual report, released on November 19, 2007, also said that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are the third most common type, behind race and religion.[4] In 2008, 17.6% of hate crimes were based on the victim's perceived sexual orientation. Of those crimes, 72.23% were violent in nature. 4,704 crimes were committed due to racial bias and 1,617 were committed due to sexual orientation. Of these, only one murder and one forcible rape were committed due to racial bias, whereas five murders and six rapes were committed based on sexual orientation.[5]

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Jay Boyarsky attributed a surge in anti-gay hate crimes, from 3 in 2007 to 14 in 2008, to controversy over Proposition 8. However, the DDA cautioned against reading too much from small statistical samples, pointing out that the vast majority of hate incidents do not get referred to the District Attorney's office.[6]

In 2011, the FBI reported 1,572 hate crime victims targeted based on a sexual orientation bias, making up 20.4% of the total hate crimes for that year. Of the total victims, 56.7% were targeted based on anti-male homosexual bias, 29.6% were targeted based on anti-homosexual bias, and 11.1% were targeted based on anti-female homosexual bias.[7]

Violent acts against LGBT persons





On April 29, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend federal law to classify as "hate crimes" attacks based on a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity (as well as mental or physical disability).[42] The U.S Senate passed the bill on October 22, 2009.[43] The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009.[44]


See also


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