More LGBT Folks Have Been Killed In 2017 Than In All Of Last Year

According to BuzzFeed News, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has reported an alarming statistic regarding LGBT hate crimes.

Based on their report, more LGBT people have been murdered since the beginning of 2017 than in all of 2016 combined, (this does not include the 49 victims of the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando). 

In the month of August alone, 33 LGBT people have been murdered, compared to 28 in August 2016. In other terms, there was one anti-LGBT murder every thirteen days in 2016, and this year, the murder rate has increased to one every six days.

Of all the LGBT people killed in 2017, fifteen were trans women of color, and at least twelve were gay men. The murders have been committed in a variety of states throughout the country, from California to New York.

A wake-up call

Without obtaining the official numbers, the NCAVP collected data based on the murders reported in the media, from family and friends of victims and other non-profit organizations in the country.

These figures include any death in which the victim was targeted based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. According to one researcher at the Center for Homicide Research, the NCAVP's estimates are probably low, as smaller communities are less likely to report these homicides, and many hate crimes are hard to identify as such.

According to the NCAVP, there is no clear reason for the surge, but it may be due to increased reporting in the media, more precise identification of the victims, or a potential increase in anti-LGBT violence overall.

In any case, Beverly Tillery, executive director for the NYC Anti-Violence Project in partnership with NCAVP, says the statistics are a cause for alarm. 

"I think whether it’s an increase in reporting, an increase in violence, or some combination thereof, it should be a wake-up call for us across our communities that hate violence is not going away, it’s certainly not decreasing, and it’s symptomatic of larger and deeper problems in our society that we still haven’t addressed."

The influence of the Trump administration

Speaking with BuzzFeed, Vanessa Panfil, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, said the increased violence may be motivated by the Trump administration's backlash against LGBT progress this year. 

After revoking the protections Obama put in place giving trans people the right to use the restroom of their choosing and banning trans people from the military, Donald Trump has put the LGBT community at greater risk of violence, as those who commit these crimes feel emboldened by the government's lax stance.

BuzzFeed also reports that twenty-eight American states have no laws protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination in the workplace or when obtaining housing.

Two other states, Wisconsin and New Hampshire, do have such laws, but they only apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation, not gender identity.

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