Although the rash of student suicides drew major media attention for a few days, the reality, gay rights advocates say, is that the LGBT world has been plagued by hate violence for years.
But that’s not the way a hard core of the anti-gay religious right sees it.....anti-gay leaders instead blamed those who sought to protect students from bullying.... Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel said those activists want “to use the tragedies to increase pressure on the real victims: Christians.”
....[B]ullying is only the beginning of the violence experienced by gays in American society. The reality is that homosexuals or perceived homosexuals are by far the group most targeted in America for violent hate crimes, according to an Intelligence Report analysis of 14 years of federal hate crime data. The bottom line: Gay people are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos.
A Changing Landscape
Remarkably, most Americans today seem to have a sense of the violence that the LGBT community is regularly subjected to, or in any event are increasingly rejecting extreme religious-right narratives about the alleged evils of homosexuality. An October poll by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that 65% of Americans believe “places of worship contribute to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth” (33% said “a lot” and 32% said “a little”). Seventy-two percent said places of worship “contribute to negative views of gay and lesbian people” (40% said “a lot” and 32% said “a little”).....
It is in just such situations — when long-held societal notions about blacks, Latinos, Catholics, homosexuals or other minorities are shifting — that violent backlashes often set in. As groups like Focus on the Family have moderated their positions on homosexuality, a hard core of anti-gay groups, sensing they are being politically marginalized, seem to be growing angrier and more radical still....
A leading criminologist and sociologist of hate crimes, Jack Levin of Northeastern University, sees evidence of the growing radicalization of the fringe in other ways. He says perpetrators of anti-gay hate crimes appear to be getting older. No longer are they dominated by teens engaging in thrill-seeking with predatory gangs of their peers. More and more, he says, lone adults are committing what Levin calls “defensive hate crimes” — crimes carried out in reaction to sweeping social changes that they see as threats to their home, family, religion, culture or country.
[T}he hard core of the anti-gay religious right is digging in.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Gays disproportionately affected by hate crimes
From The Southern Poverty Law Center, which recently declared some of the most prominant anti-gay groups as hate groups, a review of hate crime data.