Hate violence against the LGBTQ community: Experts weigh in on who is most at risk and who is most at fault

Tuesday the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (Facebook, Twitter) held a press conference to discuss the release of their 2012 report on hate violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-affected communities in the US.  Chai Jindasurat, NCAVP Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, acted as moderator.  He explained the NCAVP report documents 2,016 incidents of anti-LGBTQH violence in 2012, which is a 4% decrease from 2011.  Despite the slight decrease, the report found several disturbing multi-year trends that depict people of color, transgender people, and gay men as particularly victimized groups of anti-violence.  The report also found a considerable increase in police violence and misconduct, with 48% of survivors reporting incidents of police misconduct.

Speaking to the pervasiveness of anti-LGBTQH violence in the country, there were speakers from Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and New Orleans.  From Chicago, Lisa Gilmore, Director of Education and Victim Advocacy at the Center on Halstead Anti-Violence Project (Facebook, Twitter), was “saddened and outraged to report that rates of anti-LGBTQ homicides are still disturbingly high.”  There were 25 anti-LGBTQH related homicides in the United States in 2012, the 4th highest number ever recorded by NCAVP.  In Chicago, there is also a disproportionate rate of anti-LGBTQH homicides and violence against people of color and transgender people and a trend of underreporting anti-LGBTQH violence.

Next, Maria Carolina Morales, Program Co-Director for the Community United against Violence in San Francisco, CA, (Facebook, Twitter) explained that transgender women and LGBTQ people of color continue to be subject to severe and fatal anti-LGBTQ violence and they are most marginalized from institutional protection and support.  People who fall into these groups also deal with poverty and unemployment on a greater scale.  Moreover, LGBTQ immigrants often do not report violence out of fear of deportation.  Morales and the CUAV hope to transform the culture of heterosexism and misogyny in San Francisco, while providing solid employment, housing, and healthcare resources for LGBTQ communities.  Ejeris Dixon, who spoke next, is trying to do the same thing in New York with the NYC Anti-Violence Project (Facebook, Twitter).  Dixon’s recap of the disturbing trends in the report drove home the idea that advocacy groups must band together to address rampant anti-LGBTQ violence, especially that inflicted by police.  “Current and historic experiences of hate violence at the hands of law enforcement reduce trust, safety, and access to critical emergency services for the LGBTQ community,” she said.

Milan Nicole, Youth Organizer of BreakOUT in New Orleans, LA, (Facebook, Twitter) shared her personal experience with police discrimination.  At 16, Milan was solicited by an undercover police officer.  Milan was not working as a sex worker, but was arrested regardless and charged with felony prostitution.  In urban areas, transgender women are frequently profiled and charged with prostitution.  Many of these women have been rejected by their families and deprived of education, resorting to sex work to survive.  Many of them are not sex workers but are charged all the same because of discriminatory police policies.

In light of the report, the NCAVP recommends educating law enforcement about the LGBTQH community’s experiences with violence and banning police profiling.  The group also advocates an end to homelessness by providing access to job training programs, housing, and safe schools.  Their stance is that there should be an increase in research on anti-LGBTQH violence on local, state, and federal levels and there should be an increase in funding for anti-violence support and prevention programs.

For more information on the reports, please visit http://www.avp.org/about-avp/coalitions-a-collaborations/82-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs.