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Anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in the U.S. rose sharply last year

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The U.S. saw a sharp rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes last year compared to 2021, according to data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

On Monday, the FBI released its 2022 Crime in the Nation Statistics based on data on over 11 million criminal offenses reported to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, largely through the National Incident-Based Reporting System and the Summary Reporting System. The report indicated a 13.8% increase in reported crimes based on sexual orientation and a 32.9% increase in crimes based on gender identity compared to 2021.   

According to the report, incidents involving intimidation were the most often reported bias-motivated offenses overall last year, followed by simple assault and vandalism. Those three types of crimes comprised 76.6% of all reported hate crimes. Race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, and sexual orientation were the top three bias categories in single-bias incidents last year. Within those categories, anti-Black, anti-Jewish, and anti-gay male were the top bias types by volume of reported hate crime incidents.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Kelley Robinson responded to the report Monday, calling the numbers “both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected.”

“The constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures, alongside the relentless passage of discriminatory bills, particularly those targeting transgender individuals, in state legislatures, created an environment where it was sadly foreseeable that individuals with violent tendencies might respond to this rhetoric,” she said in a statement.

In June, the HRC declared a “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. based on the increase in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in state houses across the country this year. “The FBI’s data serves as another alarming indicator of the state of emergency our community finds itself in,” Robinson said.

According to the FBI, the data in the 2022 report covers 93.5% of the U.S. population. Robinson noted that the numbers were incomplete. “Too many cities and states are reporting incomplete data, or even no data at all, on hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community,” she said. “If we’re going to bring a stop to that violence, we need a full accounting of just how many hate crimes are taking place – and that requires every jurisdiction stepping up.”

In 2020, the HRC published its “Blueprint for Positive Change,” which outlined 85 policy recommendations for the then-incoming Biden administration. Among its recommendations, the organization called for the Department of Justice to intensify efforts to encourage local law enforcement to report hate crime statistics annually and to make that reporting mandatory.

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