Although incidents of hate-motivated violence against LGBT people dropped 32% overall in 2014 compared with the previous year, hate-motivated violence against transgender people rose 13%, according to a new report by the country’s leading organization tracking violence against LGBT people.
Homicides of LGBT people increased 11% in the same time frame, according to the figures released Tuesday by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).
The data reflects a four-year trend in which trans women and LGBT people of color experienced a greater risk of homicide than LGBT people as a whole, the report found. Of the 20 LGBT people killed nationwide in anti-LGBT bias attacks last year, 16 were people of color and 11 were transgender women of color.
“There is a public perception that there is a sea change for LGBTQ people, and that is true for public opinion of LGBTQ people,” Chai Jindasurat, who coordinates programs with NCAVP, told BuzzFeed News. “But it is still dangerous to be LGBTQ in the United States.”
While the number of homicides increased in 2014, reports of non-fatal hate violence dropped nearly one-third to approximately 1,300 incidents nationwide.
But the NCAVP report warned that decrease should not be celebrated as a decline in attacks overall. Rather, it said, fewer individuals may be reporting violence, and partner groups in Los Angeles and New York City had fewer resources to track the crimes. Meanwhile, the uptick in homicides shows violence persists.
Although widely considered to contain the most accurate stats on anti-LGBT crimes in the country, the NCAVP's annual reports do not attempt to capture every incident in the United States. Compiled by 16 member organizations in 14 states, many incidents are not reported. Even so, the data in the NCAVP’s report includes incidents lacking in official government figures. For example, FBI statistics released in December were considered to have grossly underreported hate crimes against transgender people.
Moreover, many hate crimes are never reported to law enforcement. For example, the report found just over half of victims — 54% — reported their crimes to police, which was up from 45% in 2013.
When LGBT people did report incidents to authorities, the report explained, “27% of survivors reported experiencing hostile attitudes from the police."
In 2014, just 6% of the incidents that NCAVP classified as bias crimes were classified that way by police, the report found. The group classifies bias or hate crimes as those committed because the victims were targeted due to their identity.
Jindasurat notes that legal barriers in certain jurisdictions limit how cases can be classified by law enforcement. Still, he said, “When law enforcement does not take the violence seriously, it sends a message to survivors that what happens to them is not a problem. On a macro level, it continues to minimize the extent of the problem."
The figures show that violence disproportionately falls on transgender women, LGBT people of color, and LGBT youth, he continued. “It’s important for us to remember that marginalized LGBTQ people are facing some of the highest rates of violence.”
Still, the report found, “White gay cisgender men represented the largest group of hate violence survivors and victims in 2014." When they reported their crimes to police, the report found, they were the most likely to have the attack classified as a hate crime.