Do equal rights mean an increase in violence toward LGBT citizens? We know that after the success of marriage equality in this nation, the fight is not over, but is it actually increasing? Instead of political fighting, will there be more physical fighting?
As we all know, the U.S. is not the first country to gain marriage equality for all of its citizens and to see what may happen within the United States, we can look at how such a ruling affected other nations such as the U.K.
The legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in July 2013 and came into force on 13 March 2014, and the first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014 – wikipedia.org
New numbers from our friends across the pond in regard to LGBT hate crime rates after marriage equality are not reassuring.
Annual crime statistics released by Scotland Yard showed reports of homophobic offences rose from 1,289 in the year to July 2014 to 1,667 in the 12 months leading up to July this year.
The figures represent a 29.3 per cent rise in London in the space of one year alone.
The biggest percentage rise was seen in Bromley where homophobic attacks increased by 217 per cent, from 17 to 54. Meanwhile Sutton recorded a 50 per cent fall in homophobic crimes – from 14 to 7.
Guidance issued by the Met says a homophobic offence is any which is “perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person, that is intended to impact upon those known or perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual”.
A spokeswoman for LGBT rights charity Stonewall said the organisation hoped the rise was the result of more people feeling able to report hate crimes to police – but warned of the dangers still faced by people in the capital.
She added: "While there is still lots to do, Stonewall works closely with the police, and know that there is some great work is being done to ensure all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel more confident and comfortable in reporting hate crimes.
"However, we’ve seen some particularly violent examples of calculated homophobic attacks across London as of late – often in areas considered particularly inclusive like Soho, Shoreditch and Vauxhall. What this tells us is that we can never predict where a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime will take place, whether in London or not.
"We hope the police will continue to work closely with their communities to tackle these sorts of incidents and prevent them from taking place." – standard.co.uk
Why have there been an increase in LGBT hate crimes? I think there may be three reasons why.
– Do you think it is because more people feel they can report hate crimes and feel they will be listened to now? – Knowing that you will be heard and there is a history of defining crimes as hate crimes has to be empowering to our victims. Knowing that you are not the first and knowing that others have been through such crimes with the support of law enforcement has to give confidence to those facing such issues.
– Is it because more legislation is out there that actually makes clear what a hate crime is and police agencies know how to handle them? – With new laws, new trainings for law enforcement, and better documentation, there has to be an increase in awareness of hate crimes and therefore an increase in reporting them.
– Is it improper labeling of hate crimes where crimes are committed against LGBT individuals, but not because they are LGBT? – I remember watching a quick video of a road raqe incident that was thrown up on Facebook a couple of months ago. A young gay kid cut in front of an older man and the senior ended up running into the back of the kid's car. Both exited their vehicles and arguing ensued. Some derogatory words were thrown toward the young kid, which is what the Facebook post focused on. She flew off the handle labeling this a hate crime due to the inappropriate language being used. There was a crime, but it was not based on anyone's sexual orientation, but their poor driving.
I can see all three of these being a reason for the increase in reported hate crimes. And these reasons may be why numbers fluctuate so drastically from year to year. With better reporting, better understanding, and with the media's eye everywhere, there seems to be an increase in accountability.
But there is a fourth reason why numbers may be increasing.
– there's an increase in hate crimes toward LGBT citizens. – plain and simple. The numbers are increasing because the violence is increasing. With laws being passes, basically supporting our life style, supporting equal rights, those that fought against us must feel defeated and turn to violence.
An almost 30% increase in LGBT hate crimes in London alone. Social acceptance does not go hand in hand with legal acceptance. When legal battles are won, we lose in the streets. Will this be the way the United States goes? Will we see a rise in LGBT hate crimes now that we have marriage equality?
The numbers are hard to understand sometimes, We see from this 2013 pink.co.uk article, LGBT hate crimes averaged almost 100 per week in 2011, a tally higher than numbers just released about last year.
Research by London LGBT hate crime charity Galop shows 98 homophobic and transphobic crimes are recorded each week by police across Britain.
A quarter of all reported homophobic crime and a fifth of all reported transphobic crime happens in London.
Compared with figures on other types of hate crime, such as racism, the proportion of homophobic hate crime at a national level is on the rise.
9% of UK reported hate crime was homophobic. That rose to 10% in 2010 and 11% in 2011. Figures for 2012 are still being processed.
Galop states over half of homophobic and transphobic crime is not reported to the police, meaning many people suffer in silence. 1 in 8 lesbian, gay or bisexual people are the target of hate crime each year.
3 in 4 transgender people are the target of hate crime annually.
LGBT people are also more likely to experience crime. 1 in 3 lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience a crime each year compared with only 1 in 4 heterosexual people.
1 in 14 lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience violence annually compared with 1 in 33 heterosexual people.
Nick Antjoule, who authored the report, said: “This highlights the violence and abuse against Londoners which remains unchallenged. The police do a great job in difficult circumstances but I think this should be a wakeup call for us all.
“Now we have marriage equality, it’s easy to think equality has been achieved. But the harder battles against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are still to be won.
“Making sense of crime figures can be really tricky but we hope this will empower people to hold their local police and council to account.” – pinknews.co.uk (Apr 2013)
That last statement was spot on. "Making sense of crime figures can be really tricky." I was just going to report on the 30% increase that occurred in London, but when looking into the numbers, there was some great confusion. So is the UK / London getting worse or better? Here's one more article from August of 2013 to give you more numbers to compare.
Homophobic crime across London has fallen by 12.7%, latest statistics from the Metropolitan Police Service show.
From March 2012 to March of this year, 1,103 crimes were recorded, compared to 1,264 in the 12 months prior.
However, several London boroughs have seen a rise in homophobic crime.
In Newham it’s up by 233% (30 offences); Redbridge by 200% (18 offences); Barking & Dagenham has seen a 75% rise (21 offences); it’s up by 80% in Hounslow (27 offences) and there has been a rise of 275% in Enfield (27 offences).
In all of the mentioned boroughs, overall crime has fallen.
Commenting on the drop in overall recorded crime, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “Crime is down by 6%. This includes some excellent performance across London, with serious youth violence down by 28%, gun crime down 20%. Robberies are down by over 10% and 1000 gang members are in prison or under judicial restriction.
“These are very significant numbers that have been achieved against a backdrop of substantial operational challenges to the Metropolitan Police such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the London Olympics and Paralympic Games. All of this has been done whilst also saving money.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the safest big cities in the world and it’s great news that crime rates are continuing to fall. This is testament to the sterling work our cops are doing, and we are keeping bobbies on the beat to continue the fight against crime.” – pink.co.uk (Aug 2013)
I'm getting some mixed messages, Safest? 30% increase? Cana city fluctuate that fast within a couple of years? What are the catalysts making these changes occur?
Going back to my original question … after such political successes, will we see an increase in LGBT hate crimes here in the US like the increase in the UK?
Why do you think there is an increase in LGBT hate crimes?