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Report: Anti-LGBT murders rose 11 percent in 2011

2011 saw the highest number of anti-LGBT murders since 1996, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Project’s annual report



Washington Blade, Gay News, Hate Crime
Washington Blade, Gay News, Hate Crime

The victim of a brutal anti-gay attack underwent two surgeries in which his badly severed jaw was reattached with two permanent titanium plates. He spoke to the Blade this week on condition of anonymity. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs on Thursday reported that the number of anti-LGBT murders in 2011 rose 11 percent from the previous year.

The NCAVP’s annual report documents 30 anti-LGBT homicides across the county. While it showed that incidents of anti-LGBT hate violence decreased 16 percent from 2010, the number of anti-LGBT murders in 2011 is the highest that the agency has documented since it began to issue it began to issue its annual report in 1996.

“It’s definitely shocking to see the increase in the number of murders,” said Hassan Naveed, vice chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence in the District of Columbia.

NCAVP further noted that 87 percent of the 30 anti-LGBT homicide victims in 2011 were LGBT people of color—trans women comprised 40 percent of those who lost their lives to anti-LGBT bias-motivated crimes.

Anti-violence advocates maintain a lack of housing, employment and legal protections leave trans people particularly vulnerable to bias-motived crimes.

A 2011 National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force survey found that nearly a fifth of respondents said they had been homeless at some point in their lives because of their gender identity and expression. The report further indicated that rates of unemployment among trans and gender non-conforming people are twice as high—and four times as high among trans people of color—than the national average. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents said they experienced what NCTE and the Task Force described as “a serious act of discrimination” in employment, education, the health and legal system and in other areas.

DeeDee Pearson was a trans black woman who was killed in Kansas City, Mo, last Christmas Eve. Her friend, Paige Dior, who said she has repeatedly experienced anti-trans violence herself, said Pearson “lived the street life” because she had nowhere else to go.

“Transgender people are normally rejected from their families, so we go out and create our own,” said Dior on an NCAVP conference call with reporters. “When DeeDee was killed on Christmas Eve; it was very, very devastating.”

Metropolitan Police Department statistics note that there were 43 reported bias-related crimes based on sexual orientation in the District of Columbia in 2011, compared to 35 in 2010. The MPD reported 11 anti-trans crimes in the District in 2011, compared to 10 in 2010.

Ejeris Dixon of the New York City Anti-Violence Project noted that the anti-LGBT bias-related crimes documented in the NCAVP report are only “the tip of the iceberg.” She and other anti-violence activists note that many victims remain afraid to report these attacks because of their immigration status or previous experience with law enforcement officials.

The D.C. Trans Coalition, GLOV, the Rainbow Response Coalition and other local anti-violence organizations have begun to lay the foundation for a system that would allow victims of anti-LGBT crimes to report attacks to service providers without going through the MPD. Naveed maintains this initiative would provide what he described as a far more accurate count of the number of anti-LGBT bias attacks in the city.

“The NCAVP report definitely does highlight the need of an inclusive and sensible reporting system for the LGBT community here in D.C.,” he said. “By allowing this system to come into use, we’re really going to see numbers closer to the truth here in D.C.”

Service providers in other cities have also implemented similar independent reporting mechanisms.

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has recognized the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center as a place where victims of anti-LGBT bias crimes can come forward. The agency is then able to bypass the police and directly report these incidents to local prosecutors.

“We have been pretty successful with law enforcement so that option has not been exercised a lot, but it does exist,” noted Jake Finney of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center.

Equality Michigan also offers victims of anti-LGBT crimes the option to report attacks through the Internet or their hotline. Nusrat Ventimiglia, the group’s director of victim services, told the Blade that her organization also works with the Ruth Ellis Center and other service providers in Detroit and across the state to reach those who remain disproportionately vulnerable to bias-related violence.

Back in California, the Los Angeles Police Department in April issued a set of guidelines designed to improve the way its officers treat trans Angelenos. These include the use of names and pronouns that are consistent with a person’s gender identity and expression and the creation of a separate housing unit for trans prisoners in city jails. The new regulations further prohibit officers from searching or frisking a person to determine their sex.

The LAPD has also adopted a policy that bars officers from asking about a person’s immigration status.

“We inform undocumented people that they can report crimes that happen against them,” said Finney. “Knowing your rights is really empowering for people.”



Federal judge halts enforcement of Fla. trans healthcare ban

Advocacy groups challenged Senate Bill 254



A federal judge has halted enforcement of a Florida law that bans gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

In his 44 page ruling, Judge Robert Hinkle of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida has barred the state from any further enforcement action against transgender youth or their parents from seeking appropriate gender-affirming care.

Hinkle’s ruling allows Florida parents challenging the ban to access necessary medical care for their trans children while the legal challenge to the bans continues. The ruling blocks enforcement of Florida state Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine rules banning established medical care for trans adolescents as well as provisions in Senate Bill 254 that codify those rules into state law with added criminal and civil penalties.

In his summary Hinkle wrote: “Gender identity is real. Those whose gender identity does not match their natal sex often suffer gender dysphoria. The widely accepted standard of care calls for evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary team. Proper treatment begins with mental health therapy and is followed in appropriate cases by GnRH agonists and cross-sex hormones. Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate.”

In today’s ruling the court indicated that the plaintiff parents are likely to succeed in their claims that SB 254 and the Boards of Medicine rules unconstitutionally strip them of the right to make informed decisions about their children’s medical treatment and violate the equal protection rights of trans youth by denying them medically necessary, doctor-recommended healthcare.

The challenge to the Boards of Medicine and SB 254 healthcare bans is likely to proceed quickly to trial.

The families are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Human Rights Campaign, which issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a powerful affirmation of the humanity of transgender people, the efficacy of well-established, science-based medical care, and of the rights of parents to make informed healthcare decisions for their children. The court recognized the profound harm the state of Florida is causing by forcing parents to watch their kids suffer rather than provide them with safe and effective care that will allow them to thrive. We are incredibly relieved that these Florida parents can continue to get healthcare for their children while we proceed to challenge these bans and eventually see them fully overturned.”

Read the ruling:

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Events roundup: Federal gov’t celebrates Pride month

Bidens to host White House Pride reception on Thursday



U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Photo courtesy DHS)

The White House, U.S. federal agencies, and Congress are honoring Pride month with a slate of official and unofficial events this year, many taking place this week.

Details for some events have not yet been announced, so this article will be updated when new information becomes available – such as details about the U.S. State Department’s Pride reception, which is expected to happen later this month.

  • The U.S. Department of the Interior kicked off Pride month with a celebration on June 1, where DoI Secretary Deb Haaland raised the Progress Pride Flag alongside members of Interior’s LGBTQ community.
  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs hosted a flag raising ceremony on June 1 at the John A. Wilson Building. The Mayor’s Office is also sponsoring a District of Pride Showcase at the Lincoln Theatre on June 29.
  • On June 2, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security held a flag raising ceremony at the agency’s headquarters with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
  • Speaker Emerita U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the Washington Nationals Night OUT game on Tuesday, Major League Baseball’s longest-running annual Pride event. The Speaker will be honored this year for her advancement of LGBTQ civil rights throughout her career in Congress.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense’s DoD Pride, an LGBTQ employee resource group for service members and DoD civilian employees, will hold its annual Pride month event on June 7 at the Pentagon.
  • President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are hosting a Pride month celebration on the South Lawn of the White House on June 8, which will feature a performance by singer-songwriter Betty Who.
  • The LGBTQ Victory Fund’s June 22 Federal PAC Reception will feature LGBTQ members of Congress: U.S. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Robert Garcia (D-Calf.), and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.).
  • On June 28, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff are hosting a reception in celebration of Pride at the Vice President’s residence, in collaboration with GLAAD.
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Same-sex marriage support remains strong at 71 percent high

Supreme Court issued Obergefell ruling in 2015



A Gallup Poll released Monday showed that support for same-sex marriage is maintaining a position of 71 percent of Americans who think it should be legal, matching the previous year’s percentage.

Gallup noted that public support for legally recognizing gay marriages has been consistently above 50 percent since the early 2010s.

The latest figures are from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-24.

When Gallup first polled about same-sex marriage in 1996, barely a quarter of the public (27 percent) supported legalizing such unions. It would take another 15 years, until 2011, for support to reach the majority level. Then in 2015, just one month before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, public support for legalizing gay marriage cracked the 60 percent level. In 2021, it reached the 70 percent mark for the first time and has been there each of the past three years.

Support Relatively Low Among Republicans, Weekly Churchgoers

Gallup has recorded increases in support for same-sex marriage across all major subgroups over time. Today, majorities of all but two key subgroups — Republicans (49 percent) and weekly churchgoers (41 percent) — say gay marriages should be legally recognized.

Republican support for gay marriage has hovered around the 50 percent mark since 2020, with slight majorities backing it in 2021 and 2022. The latest 49 percent recorded for this group is statistically similar to the level of support Gallup has recorded in recent years.

Like all other subgroups, weekly churchgoers (41 percent) are more supportive of gay marriage now than they were in the previous two decades. However, their level of support has been steady since 2018 — ranging between 40 percent and 44 percent.

Bottom line

Same-sex marriage has received majority support in the U.S. for over a decade, and support has been on an upward trajectory for most of Gallup’s polling since 1996.

Gay marriage became the law of the land after the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision, and President Joe Biden signed bipartisan legislation to ward off future judicial attempts at undoing its legality late last year.

Among many groups — including older adults, Protestants and residents of the South — perspectives on gay marriage have gone from majority opposition to majority support over the course of Gallup’s trend spanning more than a quarter of a century. But two groups remain holdouts on the issue, with Republicans evenly divided on the legality of same-sex unions and weekly churchgoers maintaining their position against it.

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