An increase in violence against the LGBT community is the focus of a new report released early this month from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. According to the report, the NCAVP “works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected communities.” The report focused on violence that was reported in 2012 and found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that transgender people of color were among the most affected by this rise in violence, but that all LGBT individuals are at a greater risk of violence than they have been in the past.
This report comes right on the heels of the brutal shooting of Mark Carson, a New York City man who was murdered because he was gay. On the night of the shooting, he was just miles away from the Stonewall Inn — an iconic landmark in the struggle for gay rights. A man confronted him, screaming anti-gay slurs and stalked him for a while before shooting Carson to death. New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said that it “clearly” looked like a hate crime.
The struggle for gay rights has been mounting across the entire nation, and the LGBT community has been winning. Gay marriage is now legal in 13 states, civil unions are available in six states, broad domestic partnership laws that allow almost all of the same rights are in place in three states, and three more have more limited domestic partnership laws.
Some believe that this rise in anti-gay violence is a backlash against the legislation that we have seen passing across the nation, and the uptick in support of gay rights throughout the country. According to Advocate.com, the New York Times did a video interview with the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project after Carson’s shooting and she said that there was no doubt in her mind that the rise in anti-gay violence is a backlash against the winning fight for gay rights.
Hate is something that is taught; it is not an inherent part of our beings, and we are not born with it. We learn it from those around us. When the conversations on the news turn toward the fight for gay rights across the nation and we say something hateful, we are teaching hate to our friends, our family, our children. The hate crimes and anti-gay violence we are seeing has a direct correlation with how much we are talking about gay rights.
This doesn’t mean we need to stop the conversation; far from it. This means we need to change the conversation. We need to talk more about love and acceptance. We will see a shift in our nation very soon, I hope.
Photo Credit: Les Chatfield
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