LGBTQ Agenda: US hate crimes up in 2022, report says

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday October 24, 2023
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President Joe Biden, seen here during his nationally televised Oval Office address on the Israeli-Hamas war, last week also called attention to the increase in reported hate crimes against LGBTQ and Jewish people. Photo: AP
President Joe Biden, seen here during his nationally televised Oval Office address on the Israeli-Hamas war, last week also called attention to the increase in reported hate crimes against LGBTQ and Jewish people. Photo: AP

Reported anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were up nationwide 16% last year, as reported hate crimes in general rose 6.9%, according to statistics released October 16 by the FBI.

The statistics were part of the federal government's "Crime in the Nation" report, which found there were 11,634 reported hate crime incidents in the United States last year.

Of those, 58% were based on a victim's real or perceived race, ethnicity, or ancestry with crimes targeting Black Americans accounting for over half of reported racially-based hate incidents.

The next largest category was hate crime incidents based on religion — 18%. Over half of those targeted Jewish people.

The third largest category was sexual orientation — 17%. The majority of those targeted gay men, accounting for 9.2% of all the reported hate crime incidents in the report.

Gender identity was the cause of 4% of the reported hate crime incidents, with 72% of those being anti-transgender. The other 28% targeted gender-nonconforming people.

Of the reported hate crimes, 622 targeted the entire LGBTQ community as a "mixed group," comprising 5.3% of the reported hate crime incidents, according to the report.

President Joe Biden issued a statement October 16 calling attention to the increase in hate crimes against LGBTQs and Jewish people.

"The data is a reminder that hate never goes away, it only hides," the president stated. "Any hate crime is a stain on the soul of America."

Reported hate crime incidents on the basis of sexual orientation rose 13.8%, and reported hate crime incidents on the basis of gender identity rose 32.9%.

The federal data tracks with statewide information released by California Attorney General Rob Bonta's office earlier this year, which as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported also showed Black Americans, Jewish people, and gay men as the most targeted groups.

The FBI report and Biden's remarks came on the heels of Hamas' attack on Israel, which led to increased tensions and reported hate-motivated crimes, and other incidents, against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab Americans. On Sunday, October 15, the president expressed he was "shocked and sickened" to learn a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy had been stabbed to death in Illinois, allegedly by his family's landlord. His mother was also stabbed but survived, according to media reports.

"To those Americans worried about violence at home, as a result of the evil acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas in Israel, we see you," Biden stated. "We hear you. And I have asked members of my team, including Homeland Security Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and Attorney General [Merrick] Garland, to prioritize the prevention and disruption of any emerging threats that could harm Jewish, Muslim, Arab American, or any other communities during this time. My administration will continue to fight Antisemitism and Islamophobia."

The FBI San Francisco office held a town hall in the Castro in August urging people to come forward in reporting hate crimes, as the B.A.R. previously reported. Neither the FBI San Francisco office nor the U.S. Department of Justice returned requests for comment for this report by press time.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson, a queer Black woman, issued a statement of her own regarding the latest report. HRC had declared earlier this year a national state of emergency for LGBTQ Americans "following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year," its website stated. HRC has tracked over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures from coast to coast.

"The rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected," Robinson stated. "The constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures, alongside the relentless passage of discriminatory bills, particularly those targeting transgender individuals, in state legislatures, created an environment where it was sadly foreseeable that individuals with violent tendencies might respond to this rhetoric.

"The FBI's data serves as another alarming indicator of the state of emergency our community finds itself in," she added.

Robinson stated, "We also know that this data is incomplete, that too many cities and states are reporting incomplete data, or even no data at all, on hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community."

"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 concluded.

Biden touted a reduction in reported hate crimes against Asian Americans of 38%. These had risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reported violent crime in general declined 1.7% after several years of increases, the report stated. Reported cases of homicide and non-negligent manslaughter fell 6.1%.

The State of California offers help for victims or witnesses to a hate crime or hate incident. This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

LGBTQ Agenda is an online column that appears weekly. Got a tip on queer news? Contact John Ferrannini at [email protected]

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