Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sexual orientation bias hate crimes up 18% from 2011 to 2012, according to TBI report

The annual Tennessee Bureau of Investigation hate crime report is out.  This report compiles data for hate crimes committed in 2012.  The results are disturbing.

First, the statistics still don't include information about crimes based on gender identity, crimes targeting transgender people.  The Tennessee hate crimes law includes sexual orientation, but it does not include gender identity.  However, the federal crimes law includes both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Second, overall hate crimes for all bias-motivated offenses taken together (race, religion, sexuality, etc.) are up 70.4% from 2011 to 2012.

Third, bias-motivated hate crimes based on sexual orientation went from 39 in 2011 to 46 in 2012--an increase of almost 18%.

Here's the breakdown:

11 crimes targeting gay men
5 crimes targeting lesbians
25 crimes targeting gays and lesbians (and presumably bisexuals)
4 crimes targeting heterosexuals*
1 crime targeting bisexuals

*Yes, bias-motivated crimes can affect the majority community.  Sexual orientation is a general category.  Everyone has a sexual orientation.  It may surprise many people to see anti-straight hate crimes included, but I'm glad the information is part of the report because it shows that including the category of sexual orientation is really about making everyone safer, not just the minority communities, although that would be an important goal in itself.

As I noted, the results are very disturbing.  We all need to continue to address the rhetoric of bias around issues of race, ethnicity, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, disability, and gender identity in Tennessee.