[JURIST] The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) [advocacy website] said Tuesday that violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people persists in the US [press release, PDF] and that violence disproportionately impacted transgender people and minorities. The report [text, PDF] presented findings that hate violence against LGBT individuals increased by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010 and anti-LGBT murders increased by 23 percent. Moreover, 44 percent of LGBT murder victims were transgender women, while 70 percent of LGBT murder victims were people of color. Over 50 percent of survivors of anti-LGBT violence do not report the incidents, and many victims were reportedly treated with indifferent or negative police attitudes. Sandhya Luther from the Colorado Anti-Violence Program (COAVP) [advocacy website], a member of the NCAVP, emphasized the need for measures that seek to reduce anti-LGBT violence:
The findings of this report are troubling and reveal a need for the serious commitment of organizations, institutions, funders and policymakers towards research and the prevention of violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected individuals. Our recommendations represent crucial steps for ending violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people in this country.
The report provided recommendations for responding to and preventing anti-LGBT violence, including creating new funding programs for victims, creating laws to facilitate access to law enforcement resources and increasing campaigns to raise awareness about anti-LGBT violence.
Similar trends have been reported internationally. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] warned in May that hate crimes against LGBT individuals are on the rise worldwide [JURIST report] by pointing to statistics showing that homophobic-based crimes are increasing [UN News Centre report], and urging that states act to stop this trend. In the US, some measures have been taken to stop hate crimes against LGBT individuals. In March, US Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) [official websites] introduced legislation to protect LGBT students [JURIST report] in federally funded public elementary and high schools from bullying. In 2009, US President Barack Obama signed into law [JURIST report] a bill that contained a measure extending the definition of federal hate crimes to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Homosexuality remains a crime in many countries including Uganda, which has been harshly criticized throughout the international community since the introduction [BBC report] in October 2009 of its Anti-Homosexuality Bill [text, PDF], which has since been stalled in the Parliament. The bill would impose harsh penalties for homosexuality, including death in some circumstances, and imposes punishments of up to three years in prison for individuals, including family members, who fail to report offenders. Uganda currently criminalizes homosexual behavior [BBC report] with up to 14 years in prison. Last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official website] called for countries around the world to abolish laws discriminating against gay and lesbian individuals [JURIST report].