The FBI’s latest annual crime report reveals an alarming increase in hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ+ community. According to the data, hate crimes based on sexual orientation rose 13.8% while those concerning gender identity surged 32.9% compared to the previous year.
Specifically, the number of incidents related to sexual orientation grew from 1,711 in 2021 to 1,947 in 2022. Hate crimes targeting gender identity increased from 353 to 469, with 338 targeting transgender individuals and 131 aimed at those who were gender non-conforming.
The Human Rights Campaign, a prominent LGBTQ+ civil rights group, expressed grave concern over the statistics. “The rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes is both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson in a statement.
She attributed the troubling climate to a “constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures and a wave of discriminatory bills, especially those aimed at transgender individuals.”
In addition, the FBI’s report provided additional insights into hate crime categories. It found that race- and ethnicity-motivated crimes remain the largest, making up 56% of the total. Religion-based hate crimes were the second largest category, followed by those targeting sexual orientation.
Significantly, the FBI noted that over one in five hate crimes reported in 2022 were due to anti-LGBTQ+ bias. This suggests a growing prevalence of hateful acts stemming from discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity.
The alarming hate crime statistics occurred alongside a major surge in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation at the state level. Data shows over 550 such bills were proposed in 43 different states, with over 80 becoming law. This represents more than double the number passed in the previous year, demonstrating a disturbing rising pattern.
Some experts attribute this influx to more extremist Republican candidates advancing transgender-negative rhetoric and policies as they seek higher office. The legislation has been accompanied by “increased anti-transgender rhetoric and violence.” The confluence of these social and political trends suggests a worsening environment for LGBTQ+ Americans.
Given the dangerous combination of discriminatory legislation and increasing violence faced by the LGBTQ+ community, the Human Rights Campaign took the unprecedented step in June and declared a national state of emergency regarding the threats faced by the community. This marked the first such alarm raised in the organization’s over 40 years of advocacy, underscoring the severity of challenges now confronting LGBTQ+ individuals across the country due to both social and political pressures.
While the Biden-Harris administration has taken steps to improve how consistently hate crime data is reported, the Human Rights Campaign asserts more must be done to ensure a fully transparent portrait of such offenses.
According to HRC, additional measures are vital to developing a comprehensive and precise documentation of bias-motivated attacks. The organization argues enhanced compliance and accounting are critical prerequisites for properly addressing the problem and protecting communities increasingly vulnerable to hate-driven violence and discrimination. Further progress is still needed, HRC maintains, to establish an accurate and complete reporting framework that can effectively inform response efforts. “If we’re going to bring a stop to that violence, we need a full accounting of just how many hate crimes are taking place – and that requires every jurisdiction stepping up,” Robinson said. For more information, click here and here.