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Report: Anti-Trans Violence Soars Even as Anti-Gay Hate Crimes Decrease

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday September 1, 2021

A new report on hate crimes statistics for 2020 shows that while crimes motivated by sexual orientation decreased slightly last year, anti-trans violence and harassment continues to rise, NBC News reports.

The figures, drawn from information collected by the FBI, show that while reported crimes of violence and harassment in which sexual orientation was a factor decreased, at the same time "reports of incidents motivated by gender-identity bias jumped by nearly 20 percent for the second year in a row," the NBC article detailed.

But the official data might fall short of reflecting the reality. "Anecdotally, trans people have reported facing bias-motivated violence much more often," the NBC story noted. "Advocates have said the discrepancy between FBI data and trans people's lived experiences is a common theme when it comes to data collection on LGBTQ people."

A 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality looked at the experiences of almost 28,000 transgender adults, and found that 46 percent said "that they were verbally harassed in the previous year, and nearly 1 in 10 (9 percent) said they were physically attacked in the previous year for being transgender."

NBC further pointed out that many LGBQ people might not be eager to report hate crimes, citing a 2013 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs that showed "less than half (45 percent) of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV who experienced violence reported their incidents to police, in part because of past experiences of police hostility and mistreatment."

The article also factored in what trans equality advocates have long said: That anti-trans violence, including murder, is likely to be underreported due in part to reports being skewed and inaccurate: Namely, "law enforcement agencies often use trans people's birth names, also known as their deadnames, and their sexes assigned at birth in reports of their deaths," NBC News noted.

Earlier this summer, "Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., reintroduced a bill to improve collection of data about sexual orientation and gender identity in violent crimes and suicides," NBC News recounted.

In a statement, Sen. Maloney said, "The epidemic of violence against transgender Americans — particularly transgender women of color — is only getting worse."

Sen. Maloney acknowledged efforts by the Human Rights Campaign since 2013 to |track bias crimes targeting LGTBQ+ people, including a yearly tally of lethal anti-transgender violence. The HRC's tracking shows that 2020 was a record-breaking year for deadly violence targeting trans people, particularly trans women of color. Tragically, 2021 is on track to match or exceed last year's total.

While the HRC has invested the effort and resources needed to track such violence, Se, Maloney noted, "Congress still hasn't acted to enable local law enforcement to do the same."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.