Today HRC released the following statement after media reports that two men in Tennessee had their home vandalized by having an anti-LGBTQ slur pinned to their home with a knife bearing the likeness of President-elect Donald Trump. This incident comes the same week that the FBI released Hate Crime Statistics for 2015. The data shows bias-motivated incidents based on gender identity have increased from 31 reported to the FBI in 2013 to 114 in 2015 and a 3.5 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents due to sexual orientation — 1,053 incidents in 2015.
“We have a problem in this country. Hatred and vitriol are emboldening violence and LGBTQ people continue to be at real risk,” said HRC Communications Director Jay Brown. “This latest incident in Tennessee is part of a pattern of reports of unacceptable bias-motivated harassment after the recent election. We desperately need accurate reporting of hate crimes to the FBI so that we can truly understand the full scope of the threat.”
While the FBI data released this week is helpful, it does not paint a complete picture of hate crimes against LGBTQ Americans. Current statistics only provide a partial snapshot of hate crimes in America because reporting these incidents to the FBI is not mandatory. In fact, while the number of hate crimes reported increased from 2015 to 2014, the number of jurisdictions reporting decreased from 15,494 to 14,997.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has reported more than 437 incidents of harassment or intimidation since the election of Donald Trump. Earlier this week, media reported in North Carolina that a 24-year-old transgender woman was brutally attacked by three people with a hatchet. North Carolina has been ground zero for a debate over transgender equality following Gov. Pat McCrory signing the dangerous and hate-filled HB2 into law, which targeted transgender people and prevented cities and towns from passing LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws. North Carolina also lacks hate crimes laws that protect the LGBTQ community.
Since the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA), HRC has worked with the FBI to help update the agency’s crime reporting, from training materials to providing details on recent hate crimes when they occur. HRC continues to press for improved reporting that is crucial to understanding the state of hate violence in America.