HOME    l    ORGANIZATION    l    NEWS    l    INFO    l    TOPICS    l    RESOURCES    l    LINKS    l    INDEX


Hate Crimes Defined

A crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim because of the actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, gender expression or identity, disability, or sexual orientation of any person.


Violent crime has been declining throughout the United States in recent years, yet hate crimes against LGBT people continue to rise. In 1997, at least 18 lives were lost as a result of anti-LGBT violence. There were a total of 1,375 reported violent crimes against LGBT individuals. Further the societal costs of hate crimes, in terms of self-esteem, productivity, and public expense, are incalculable.


Hate crimes send a message that certain groups of us are not welcome and unsafe in a particular community. As a result, studies indicate that hate crimes appear to have more serious psychological effects on the victims and the communities they represent than do other crimes. Research indicates that victims of hate crimes often link their vulnerability to their personal, cultural, or spiritual identity. The result is that victims of hate crimes often suffer greater emotional trauma than other crime victims.




SPLC Essay: The Anti-Gay Movement

Take a Stand Against Hate Crimes
Human Rights Campaign: Hate Crimes
Hate Crimes Facts and Stats
Gay Hate Crimes: Faces and Stories
Tribute to Hate Crimes Victims
Hate Crimes and National Coming Out Day

We Give a Damn: Campaign Against Hate Crimes
We Give a Damn Homepage

Homophobia Song


LGBT Vandalism on Campus


February 2010


The University of Oregon in Eugene is one of this country’s most gay-friendly campuses, but in February 2010 vandals hit their LGBT office with swastikas. This comes amid growing controversy over The Pacifica Forum, a SPLC-labeled white nationalist “hate group,” holding its meetings on campus.




Univ Oregon Gay Lesbian Student Alliance Office Vandalized
Gay Students Attacked at Vanderbilt
Gay Students Attacked in Chicago Area Campuses
Students Raise Awareness of LGBT Hate Crimes on Campus

Somewhere in America


Every hour someone commits a hate crime.  Every day at least eight blacks, three whites, three gays, three Jews and one Latino become hate crime victims.  Every week a cross is burned.


Hate in America is a dreadful, daily constant. The dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas; the crucifixion of a gay man in Laramie, Wyo.; and post-9.11 hate crimes against hundreds of Arab Americans, Muslim Americans and Sikhs are not "isolated incidents." They are eruptions of a nation's intolerance.



Bias is a human condition, and American history is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other differences. The 20th century saw major progress in outlawing discrimination, and most Americans today support integrated schools and neighborhoods. But stereotypes and unequal treatment persist, an atmosphere often exploited by hate groups.

When bias motivates an unlawful act, it is considered a hate crime. Race and religion inspire most hate crimes, but hate today wears many faces. Bias incidents (eruptions of hate where no crime is committed) also tear communities apart — and threaten to escalate into actual crimes.

According to FBI statistics, the greatest growth in hate crimes in recent years is against Asian Americans and the gay and lesbian community. Once considered a Southern phenomenon, today most hate crimes are reported in the North and West.

And these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Law enforcement officials acknowledge that hate crimes — similar to rape and family violence crimes — go under-reported, with many victims reluctant to go to the police, and some police agencies not fully trained in recognizing or investigating hate crimes.

(From Tolerance Project)

Violence Against LGBT People

February 2006



‘When a man walks into a bar, asks if it’s a gay bar and starts shooting, there couldn’t be any more glaringly obvious and enraging example that we need uniform hate crimes law and that Congress is stubbornly failing to act,’ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. 


Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement in the wake of a violent anti-gay hate crime in Massachusetts Wednesday evening.


“When a man walks into a bar, asks if it’s a gay bar and starts shooting, there couldn’t be any more glaringly obvious and enraging example that we need uniform hate crimes law and that Congress has stubbornly failed to act,” said Solmonese. “The Senate can change this today. Whether the hate crime occurs in New Bedford, Massachusetts, or Roanoke, Virginia, local law enforcement deserve access to the same tools. The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act would do this.



“I am infuriated and deeply saddened. Our hearts are with the families and friends of those wounded in this tragic hate crime,” added Solmonese. “This harrowing crime is a sobering and shocking reminder of the way anti-gay prejudice manifests to violence and that we need to deal with this as a country.


“We are thankful that the local authorities are investigating this as a hate crime. We stand by congressional allies who have been working for years to pass a measure giving critical tools to police officers and district attorneys working for justice in the wake of horrifying hate crimes. The Senate should do what the House has already done and pass the hate crimes law.”


According to reports a man walked into a lounge in New Bedford, Mass., asking if it was a gay bar. He then brandished a hatchet, swinging it at victims, and later drew a gun, opening fire and wounding several people.

In the course of prosecuting the killers in the anti-gay hate crime in Laramie, Wyo., in which Matthew Shepard was murdered, local law enforcement was forced to furlough several officers due to scarcity of resources. The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, already passed by the House in the fall and by the Senate in years past, would give grants to local law enforcement to fully prosecute these crimes. Senate leadership is stalling a vote on the bill.


(From Human Rights Campaign / Feb. 2, 2006)




Hate Mail

Tragic Incidents

Hateful Acts


Hate Crimes Report


"Matt is no longer with us today because the men who killed him learned to hate. Somehow and somewhere they received the message that the lives of gay people are not as worthy of respect, dignity and honor as the lives of other people." (Judy Shepard, HRC board member and mother of Matthew Shepard, slain University of Wyoming student)


Hate Crimes Affect More than Just the Individual Attacked. All violent crimes are reprehensible. But the damage done by hate crimes cannot be measured solely in terms of physical injury or dollars and cents. Hate crimes rend the fabric of our society and fragment communities because they target a whole group and not just the individual victim. Hate crimes are committed to cause fear to a whole community. A violent hate crime is intended to “send a message” that an individual and “their kind” will not be tolerated, many times leaving the victim and others in their group feeling isolated, vulnerable and unprotected.


According to 2004 FBI statistics, hate crimes based on sexual orientation constituted the third highest category reported and made up 15.5 percent of all reported hate crimes. Only race-based and religion-based prejudice crimes were more prevalent than hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

Hate Crimes Myths and Facts

The Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity is dedicated to sending out the message that it is unacceptable to victimize someone because of that person’s race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.


In the aftermath of the horrible torture and murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming on October 6, 1998, a public discussion on the meaning and value of bias crimes laws occupies talk shows, newspapers, and dining room tables. Unfortunately, too often the discussion is based on misinformation; ironically, in some cases the confusion about bias crimes laws is itself used to promote a hate filled agenda. A society that is committed to equity and justice must focus this important bias crimes discussion on fact, not myth.

Myth: All crimes involve hate; hate crimes laws are redundant and unnecessary.

Fact: The crimes in question are accurately identified as “bias crimes;” the term “hate crimes” is misleading unless it is used with a clarifying addition – “hate crimes motivated by bias.” A bias crime is an act that is motivated by the perpetrator’s bias against the group to which the victim belongs. Obviously, not all crimes that involve hate are included in this definition of a bias crime.

Myth: Bias crimes laws violate free speech rights by criminalizing thoughts and beliefs.

Fact: Bias crimes laws criminalize the action that is motivated by bias, not the bias isolated from the action. The United States Supreme Court defined the perimeters of bias crimes laws in relation to free speech issues in decisions in 1992 (R.A.V. V. City of St. Paul) and 1993 (Wisconsin v. Mitchell).

Myth: A murder is a murder; a murder committed out of bias is no different from other murders.

Fact: Not all murders are treated equally in criminal law. The difference between first degree murder and second degree murder, for example, is the intent of the perpetrator. Society has determined in its laws that the intent of the perpetrator changes the nature of the crime committed and therefore a different penalty is appropriate. Enhancing the penalty for a crime involving bias reflects the fact that the harm done by an assault motivated by bias is more serious than the harm from an assault itself.

Myth: An assault committed against a Caucasian person is as serious as one committed against an African-American person; bias crime laws say one is more serious than the other.

Fact: The crimes are equally serious if in both cases assault is all that is involved. However, if the assault is a bias crime, additional harm is done. First, bias crimes tend to be more violent. Moreover, the harm done to the victim is deeper. The attack is aimed at the very identity of a person, wounding the spirit as well as the body. Second, the effect of fear and intimidation is long lasting. Bias crime victims frequently change their daily patterns of action and sometimes even their residence out of fear; the aftermath of the crime thereby often affects the victim economically. Third, a bias crime intimidates the whole community to which the victim belongs. Finally, bias crimes drive wedges between groups of people and thereby have a serious societal impact.

Myth: Bias crimes laws grant special rights to certain groups.

Fact: Bias crimes laws identify certain categories such as race, not specific communities of people such as Native American. The Bias Crime Law in Washington State, for example, identifies the categories of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and physical, mental or sensory handicap (RCW 9A.36.080). The law does not identify specific groups within those categories such as African- Americans, Jewish people, or gays and lesbians. Indeed, bias crime charges have been filed in cases where the victim was white. Bias crimes laws increase the penalty not because of the race etc. of the victim, but because of the bias of the perpetrator. Hence, if a straight man is attacked because the
perpetrator perceives him to be gay, the bias crime law may apply.

Myth: Bias crime laws are promoted to further the agenda of certain groups.

Fact: The laws protect everyone within the defined categories: white as well as black, Christian as well as Jew, straight as well as gay. The “special rights” and “gay agenda” attacks of the extreme religious right are dishonest attempts to utilize misinformation and confusion to further their own homophobic agenda. Would a bias crimes law in Wyoming have stopped the perpetrators from killing Matthew Shepard? Probably not. But neither do laws criminalizing robbery stop all robbers. We need inclusive bias crimes laws that are clearly understood and resolutely enforced. Such action sends a loud message that it is unacceptable to victimize someone because of that person’s race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability. Bias crime law convictions bring justice which helps the healing process for the survivors of the crime, including the community to which the victim belonged. The confusion and misinformation about bias crimes must be cleared up so that we can focus on the real problem, namely, the prejudice and bigotry that gives rise to bias crimes.

(From Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity)


Hate Crimes Resources


The Trevor Project
Advocates for Youth
Youth Resource: Amplify Your Voice
National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
Alabama Safe Schools Coalition
Gay/Lesbian/Straight Education Network (GLSEN)  
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians & Gays
Resources for LGBT Youth

SPLC: LGBT Related Legal Rights for Students

I Am Equal
Matthew's Story
PBS Frontline: Billy Jack Gaither

Remembering Lawrence King
Lawrence King: NY Times Report
Lawrence King Murder: Wikipedia Report
Hate Crimes
GLAAD: Violence And Bullies
Stop Hate Crimes
Sexual Orientation Hate Crimes & Discrimination
HRC Report: Chronology of Hate Crimes 1998-2002
HRC Report: Decade of Violence
Hate Crimes Archive
News Desk: Beating Not Considered a Hate Crime
All Things Queer: Youth Statistics
Understanding Anti-Gay Violence and Harassment in Schools


Hate Crimes Statistics

A hate crime is any crime which is targeted at an individual due to prejudice or hatred towards the individual’s disability, religion or belief, language, race or ethnicity, transgender identity, or sexual orientation. A hate crime can be committed against an individual, an institution, a business or even society. It’s committed to harm, intimidate or terrify the targeted individual as well as the individual’s group. In hate crimes, the victims have done nothing to warrant such acts of crime, except for the fact that they are who they are. To learn more about hate crimes, let’s look at a few examples.


One of the most well-documented hate crimes is the Holocaust. After the Nazis ruled Germany in 1933, they began to feed the nation with the propaganda that the Germans were the superior race and inferior Jews were a threat to their supremacy. Other groups that were targeted were the Poles, Gypsies, Russians, Communists, homosexuals, the disabled, Jehovah Witnesses, and Socialists. At that time, there were some 9 million Jews living in Europe. Under the “Final Solution,” the Nazis murdered approximately 6 million Jews of Europe by 1945. Millions of other people were also murdered during the Nazi’s reign of terror, based on nothing more than their race, religion, nationality, disability or sexual orientation.


Another major hate crime was the murder of Emmett Till, a 14 year-old boy from Chicago, in 1955. On August 20, 1955, Emmett had traveled to Money, Mississippi, to visit his relatives. Hanging out with his friends on August 24th, Emmett, an African-American, showed them a picture of his girlfriend, a white girl. In jest, they challenged him to talk to the white woman who was working at a store. Coming from Chicago, Emmett didn't know about the gravity of segregation laws in Mississippi so he took up the challenge and went into the store to make a pass at the woman, wolf whistling at her as he departed. On August 28Th, Roy Bryant, the woman’s husband and J. W. Milam, his half-brother, made their way to the house of


Emmett’s relatives and took Emmett away. Three days later, Emmett’s battered, naked corpse was discovered in the Tallahatchie River, and both Bryant and Milam were charged with kidnapping and murdering the boy. On September 23, the all-white jury declared both of them innocent.


Some other major hate crimes are the lynching of Leo Frank, rape and murder of Brandon Teena, ethnic cleansing is parts of Africa, the killings of Charles Moore and Henry Dee, and the 911 attacks. Now, let’s look at some hate crime statistics.


Hate Crimes by Bias

According to a report released by the FBI in 2009, there were a total of 6,598 single-bias hate crimes.


--48.5 percent were due to racial prejudice

--19.7 percent were due to religious prejudice

--18.5 percent were due to sexual orientation prejudice

--11.8 percent were due to ethnicity or national origin prejudice

--1.5 percent were due to disability prejudice


Types of Hate Crimes against Persons

 In 2009, 4,793 hate crimes were committed against persons.


--45 percent were intimidation's

--35.4 percent were simple assaults

--19.1 percent were aggravated assault

--The rest of the crimes were 8 murders and 9 forcible rapes


Types of Hate Crimes against Property

In the same year, 2,970 hate crimes were committed against property.


--83 percent were classified as acts of vandalism, destruction, and damage

--The rest of the crimes were burglary, arson, larceny-theft, robbery, motor vehicle theft, and others


Race of Offenders
There were 6,225 known offenders.


--62.4 percent were white

--18.5 percent were black

--7.3 percent were groups of multiple races

--1 percent were Native Americans or Native Alaskans

--0.7 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander

--The race of the remaining offenders was unknown


Location of Hate Crimes


--31.3 percent took place in or near homes

--17.2 percent occurred on alleys, highways, streets or roads

--11.4 percent took place in schools

--6.1 percent happened in garages or parking lots

--4.3 percent occurred in churches, temples, and synagogues

--The remaining 29.7 percent took place in other locations


Everybody should do their part to prevent hate crime. Here are some resources about hate crimes and more.




FBI & Hate Crimes

Stop Hate Crimes!

The Violence of Intolerance

Hate Crimes & LLEHCPA

Hate Crimes Guide (PDF)

Hate Crimes & the HCPA

What is a Hate Crime?

Stop Hate UK

Hate Crime in Canada (PDF)

Hate Crime Page at RAINN

Center for Preventing Hate

Anti-Defamation League

Give a Damn Campaign

A Story about Hate Crime

Hate Crime Page at the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

Defining the Problem of Hate Crimes

Police Notebook on Hate Crimes

A Report on Hate Crimes (PDF)

Partners Against Hate

Hate Crimes in California

Guide to Hate Crime Laws (PDF)

Hate Crimes Today (PDF)

Hate Crimes Against the Homeless

Victims of Violence

Safety & Hate Crimes

Public Safety & Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes FAQs

NCPC’s Page on Hate Crime

Hate Crime at the Safe Zone

More about Hate Crimes


(From Gracie Lee and her students / gracie@teachingpupils.com)



HOME    l    ORGANIZATION    l    NEWS    l    INFO    l    TOPICS    l    RESOURCES    l    LINKS    l    INDEX



Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama