A crime against love: The rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community

Susan+Anil+attends+Pride+Fest+2019+in+Chicago+Ill.+to+show+her+support+for+the+LGBTQ%2B+community.
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A crime against love: The rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community

Susan Anil attends Pride Fest 2019 in Chicago Ill. to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Susan Anil attends Pride Fest 2019 in Chicago Ill. to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Susan Anil

Susan Anil attends Pride Fest 2019 in Chicago Ill. to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Susan Anil

Susan Anil

Susan Anil attends Pride Fest 2019 in Chicago Ill. to show her support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Maria Vaaler, Student Life Editor

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In late 2019, the FBI released hate crime statistics revealing that while overall hate crime numbers are declining after a spike in 2017, the percentage of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is rising.

An astounding 1,364 of the 7,120 reported hate crimes in 2018 were committed against the LGBTQ+ community, a sizeable jump from the 1,217 committed against the community in 2017. This escalation brings the percentage of hate crimes against the community up to nearly one-fifth of the reported hate crimes in the United States.

In addition to diverging from the trend for general hate crime numbers in the United States, this increase also conflicts with current political and social attitudes towards the community. Attitudes which indicate that the number of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community should be declining rather than rising. 

A study by Pew Research Center revealed that public acceptance and support for the community is the highest it has ever been in the United States. “Support for same-sex marriage has steadily grown over the past 15 years. Based on polling in 2019, a majority of Americans (61%) support same-sex marriage, while 31% oppose it.”

High school government teacher Sara Russell said while high rates of public approval would typically point to a reduction in the number of hate crimes, public approval rates don’t account for the less prevalent views. “Just because government and society as a whole may be in favor of equality doesn’t mean there won’t be these isolated incidents of violence and intolerance which are more of what hate crimes fall under,” Russell said.

While the rise of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community in recent years may not correlate with current public opinion, it is still a worrisome trend that mandates addressing by society. 

College freshman Susan Anil said while hate crimes are the acts of a small portion of general society it is society’s job to create a safer place for those communities being targeted by hate crimes. 

“I believe one of the best things we can do as a society is continuing to educate everyone about the community, the struggles they face, and what we can do to be allies to them,” Anil said. “By increasing awareness, we can hope to grow towards being a society that is more accepting of all people.”

Though proper social change takes great time and effort, The Department of Justice believes change is possible.  If the number of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community is to decrease, society must take charge and work towards a safer and more tolerant America.