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FBI updates 2020 hate crimes data

Data show small increase in anti-gay bias incidents

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

The FBI on Oct. 25 released updated data for its 2020 annual hate crimes statistics report originally released in August that shows an increase in overall hate crimes for 2020 but no significant change in the number of hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people.

The first version of the report, which the FBI says lacked data it later obtained from Ohio, shows the percentage of hate crimes nationwide targeting victims because of their sexual orientation to be 20.5 percent. The revised report shows that number to be 20.0 percent.

The earlier version of the report showed the percentage of hate crimes targeting a victim because of their gender identity to be 2.5 percent and the revised report shows gender identity victims to be 2.7 percent of the total number of hate crime victims.

However, the revised 2020 report shows that the 20 percent figure for sexual orientation related hate crimes represents an increase from 16.8 percent of sexual orientation related hate crimes reported in 2019. The revised report also shows that the 2.7 percent figure for gender identity related hate crimes, which the FBI says involves transgender and gender nonconforming people, represents a decline from the 4.8 percent gender identity related hate crimes reported in 2019.

Like recent past years, the largest percentage of hate crimes reported by law enforcement agencies from across the country to the FBI in 2020 as shown in the FBI’s updated report – 61.9 percent – falls into the category of race/ethnicity/ancestry bias. The earlier version of the report placed that category at 61.8.

The percentage of other categories of victims reported in the FBI’s revised 2020 report include 13.3 percent of bias related crimes targeting a victim for their religion; 1.4 percent for their disability; and 0.7 percent for their gender. There were no significant changes in these categories from the earlier version of the 2020 report.

LGBTQ rights advocates have joined representatives of civil rights groups in expressing concern that the FBI’s annual hate crime report reflects a large undercounting of the actual number of hate crimes nationwide. Observers familiar with the reporting say the underreporting stems from the substantial number of local law enforcement agencies that do not submit hate crime data to the FBI. The Washington Post reported in August that 422 fewer law enforcement agencies submitted hate crime data to the FBI in 2020 than those submitting data in 2019. 

The revised FBI report says law enforcement agencies in 2020 submitted incident reports involving a total of 8,263 criminal incidents and 11,129 related incidents as being motivated by bias. The report says the data show there were a total of 8,052 single-bias incidents involving 11,126 victims.

This marks an increase from the earlier report, before the Ohio data was included, from 7,759 criminal incidents and 10,532 related incidents in 2020. The earlier report showed there were 7,554 single-bias incidents involving 10,528 victims.

A separate compilation of reported hate crimes for D.C. in 2020 published on the U.S. Department of Justice website, based on FBI data obtained from D.C. police, shows the total number of reported hate crimes in D.C. declined from 222 in 2019 to 133 in 2020. The data show a decline in the number of sexual orientation related hate crimes and a slight increase in gender identity related bias crimes in D.C.

The DOJ report compares the 2019 and 2020 hate crimes data for D.C. by category of victim using the number of incidents rather than by percentage. The data show the following breakdown:

• Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry—2019: 119; 2020: 63

• Sexual Orientation—2019: 65; 2020: 41

• Gender Identity—2019: 27; 2020: 28

• Religion—2019: 8; 2020: 1

• Gender—2019: 2; 2020: 0

• Disability—2019: 1; 2020: 0

The drop in 2020 reported hate crimes in D.C. targeting victims for their race and ethnicity appears to go against the nationwide reports by community activists of a spike in race and ethnicity related hate crime targeting African Americans and Asian Americans. Asian American groups have reported an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes based on the bogus notion that Asians are responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic because it may have started in China.

Among the anti-Asian incidents reported in D.C. this year was an attack by a D.C. man against a gay Asian man and his parents in August. The man, who was arrested by D.C. police, shouted anti-gay and anti-Asian insults at the three victims while assaulting them, according to a D.C. police report.

Hate crimes data posted on the D.C. police website for the period of Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2021, show a total of 119 reported hate crimes for that period. The data show 29 of the incidents were based on the victim’s sexual orientation and eight were based on the victim’s gender identity or expression. Forty-six were listed as being based on the victim’s ethnicity/national origin and 33 were said to be based on the victim’s race.

In a list of categories that differs from the FBI’s hate crime categories, the D.C. police website listing of 2021 hate crime incidents reports no hate crime incidents based on a victim’s status of being homeless or their political affiliation. It reports one incident based on the victim’s gender/sex and no incidents based on a victim’s disability.

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The White House

WNBA players back petition for White House to ‘prioritize’ Brittney Griner’s release

Phoenix Mercury center detained in Russia in February

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Russian state TV has released a photo of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was arrested on drug charges in the country after Russian officials say cannabis oil was found in her luggage. (Screenshot)

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association has endorsed a petition that urges the Biden administration to “prioritize” WNBA star Brittney Griner’s release.

“It is imperative that the U.S. government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home quickly and safely,” reads the Change.org petition that Tamryn Spruill, a freelance journalist and author, created.

“The WNBPA and its members proudly join Tamryn Spruill, the creator of this petition, in demanding that lawmakers prioritize Griner’s return,” it continues. “White House and Biden adminsitration, we ask that you take action today—doing whatever is necessary—to bring Brittney Griner home swiftly and safely.”

More than 135,000 people have signed the petition.

Spruill on Saturday in a tweet said the WNBPA, a union that represents WNBA players, partnered with them and Change.org “in demanding that our elected officials work urgently to gain BG’s swift and safe release.”

Griner — a center for the Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is a lesbian and married to her wife — was taken into custody at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February. Russian officials said customs inspectors found hashish oil in her luggage.

The State Department earlier this month determined Russia “wrongfully detained” Griner. A Russian court on Friday extended her detention for another month.

“The Russian system wrongfully detained Ms. Griner,” then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday during her last White House briefing. “We take our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens seriously.  And we will continue to press for fair and transparent treatment for all U.S. citizens when they are subject to legal processes overseas.”
 
“Now, because the State Department recategorized her as wrongfully detained, it means that our Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs — it’s quite a title but a well-deserved one — is going to be overseeing this case and leading the effort,” added Psaki. “Because it’s a deliberative process and we know from experience of bringing other Americans home, we’re just not going to detail what those efforts look like at this point in time.”

Griner faces up to 10 years in prison.

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Wyoming

GOP Sen. Cynthia Lummis issues ‘apology’ after transphobic comments during graduation speech

“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times- times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate”

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Screenshot/University of Wyoming YouTube

During her speech delivered to the University of Wyoming’s College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education commencement Saturday afternoon, Republican U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis told graduates that “the existence of two sexes, male and female” was a “fundamental scientific truth.” 

The audience’s immediate reaction to her transphobic remarks were loud expressions of disapproval including jeering, boos, and demands she leave the podium.

The senator’s remarks came in the latter third of her twenty-minute address which had primarily focused on the critical need for teachers and in the fields of agriculture and other endeavors she noted were Wyoming hallmarks.

In a statement released by her office Sunday, a spokesperson noted that Lummis was apologizing to those who felt “un-welcomed or disrespected” by the comments.

“My reference to the existence of two sexes was intended to highlight the times in which we find ourselves, times in which the metric of biological sex is under debate with potential implications for the shared Wyoming value of equality,” the statement read.

“I share the fundamental belief that women and men are equal, but also acknowledge that there are biological differences and circumstances in which these differences need to be recognized. That being said, it was never my intention to make anyone feel un-welcomed or disrespected, and for that I apologize. I have appreciated hearing from members of the University of Wyoming community on this issue, and I look forward to continuing this dialogue.” 

An Assistant Professor in the University of Wyoming’s Sociology Program in the College of Arts and Sciences tweeted pointing out the graduate’s reactions along with the fact that the UW campus community had recently lost a Trans student to suicide, making the senator’s remarks more hurtful.

The university’s president also issued a statement Sunday expressing support for all members of the UW campus and community:

May 15, 2022

To the UW community:

On Saturday, the university celebrated spring 2022 commencement with a series of events that showcased the best of what makes us special: our students, our staff, our faculty and our ability to openly embrace and debate complex issues. One of our speakers made remarks regarding biological sex that many on campus take issue with. While we respect the right of all to express their views, from students to elected officials, we unequivocally state that UW is an institution that supports and celebrates its diverse communities that collectively make us the wonderful place that we are.

Thank you to the many students and families who celebrated with us this weekend. We welcome the incredible individuality and intellect of all our dynamic and diverse students and never want you to feel otherwise.

Sincerely,

Ed Seidel, President

Senator Cynthia Lummis’ remarks are at the 50:11 time mark:

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U.S. Federal Courts

Federal court blocks part of Ala. trans medical treatment law

Trump-appointed judge issued late Friday ruling

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Hugo L. Black United States Courthouse, Birmingham, Alabama (Photo Credit: US Courts/DXR)

In a 32 page ruling released Friday evening, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke preliminarily enjoined the state from enforcing the law criminalizing medical care for transgender minors in Alabama.

The law made it a felony for doctors and licensed healthcare providers to give gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to trans minors.

Burke, who was nominated to the bench by former President Trump to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, wrote that the section of the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act that makes treatment of trans minor children a felony; “the court finds that there is a substantial likelihood that Section 4(a)(1)–(3) of the act is unconstitutional and, thus, enjoins defendants from enforcing that portion of the act pending trial.”

Burke however ruled that all other provisions of the act remain in effect, specifically: (1) the provision that bans sex-altering surgeries on minors; (2) the provision prohibiting school officials from keeping certain gender-identity information of children secret from their parents; and (3) the provision that prohibits school officials from encouraging or compelling children to keep certain gender-identity information secret from their parents.

The U.S. Justice Department had challenged the state’s Senate Bill 184 — a bill that would criminalize doctors for providing best-practice, gender-affirming care to trans and non-binary youth.

In the filing by the Justice Department, the complaint alleges that the new law’s felony ban on providing certain medically necessary care to transgender minors violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The department is also asking the court to issue an immediate order to prevent the law from going into effect.

SB 184 makes it a felony for any person to “engage in or cause” specified types of medical care for transgender minors. SB 184 thus discriminates against trans youth by denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care.

It further discriminates against trans youth by barring them from accessing particular procedures while allowing non-transgender minors to access the same or similar procedures. The penalties for violating the law include up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. SB 184 would force parents of trans minors, medical professionals, and others to choose between forgoing medically necessary procedures and treatments, or facing criminal prosecution.

The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that SB 184 violates the Equal Protection Clause by discriminating on the basis of sex and trans status.

LGBTQ legal rights advocates SPLC, GLAD, NCLR and HRC, joined by co-counsel King and Spalding LLP and Lightfoot, Franklin and White LLC, had previously filed a legal challenge in federal district court against Alabama SB 184.

Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, one of the legal rights advocacy groups who had sued Alabama told the Washington Blade late Friday night:

“We are thrilled by this outcome, which will provide enormous relief to transgender children and their families. As the court recognizes, this is well established medical care that has been endorsed by 22 major medical associations. Thanks to this decision, kids in Alabama can now continue to receive this lifesaving care, and their doctors cannot be prosecuted simply for doing their jobs. This is a huge victory for compassion and common sense and a much needed antidote to the tidal wave of hostile legislation targeting these youth.”

In addition to the Justice Department, the doctors challenging SB 184 in Ladinsky v. Ivey are Dr. Morissa J. Ladinsky and Dr. Hussein D. Abdul-Latif, both providers at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and members of the medical staff at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital and the teaching staff at UAB School of Medicine. Ladinsky and Abdul-Latif have long-term expertise in caring for trans children of Alabama families. Under SB 184, they both face criminal penalties including up to 10 years in prison if they continue to provide that support to their patients.

The Alabama family plaintiffs are proceeding anonymously to protect their children. They include Robert Roe, and his 13-year-old trans daughter Mary, of Jefferson County; and Jane Doe and her 17-year-old-trans son John, of Shelby County. These families have deep ties to Alabama. If SB 184 is allowed to go into effect both families will be forced to choose between leaving the state, breaking the law, or facing devastating consequences to their children’s health.

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