A demonstration against anti-LGBTQ hate
A demonstration against anti-LGBTQ hate

There's a New Top Target for L.A. Hate Crime

After years of seeing African-Americans attacked solely for their race, Los Angeles has a new top target for hate crimes: the LGBTQ community.

The revelation came in the latest annual hate crime report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR). "Homophobic hate crimes also had a high rate of violence (81 percent)," according to a summary. "These included one murder of a gay man shot to death by his father, who has since been convicted of the homicide and the hate crime."

Of the 482 hate crimes reported last year, nearly one-fourth, or 118, affected LGBTQ people, according to the report. Anti-transgender crimes increased by 72 percent, though the actual numbers were relatively small (they went from 18 in 2015 to 31 in 2016). "Latina transgender women were targeted the most," according to the summary.

Dave Garcia, director of public policy at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, blames President Trump for making hatred of LGBTQ people, women, African-Americans and immigrants mainstream. He noted that Trump has appointed publicly anti-gay officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to his administration.

"It's no coincidence that major cities around the country have recorded increases in hate crimes since the election," he says. "Trump has surrounded himself with some of the most vehemently anti-gay people in the country."

"Before the election, this is what we warned people we would see happen," he adds. "The most important solution is to vote for leaders who support equality for all people."

Overall, 2015 was a bigger year for hate crimes, when there was a 24 percent annual increase in such attacks, the county found. One less hate crime was reported in 2016. However, the California Attorney General's Office recorded a statewide hate crime increase of 11.2 percent for 2016.

Locally, hate crimes against Latinos increased a hair, from 61 in 2015 to 62 last year. But 2015 saw a huge jump of 69 percent in that category. Hate crimes targeting African-Americans decreased by 19 percent last year, the county found.

The most sensational statistic for this year's county report was the sharp-increase in "white supremacist"–related crimes in Los Angeles County. They accounted for more than one in five reports of hate crime. "Hate crimes in which there was evidence of white supremacist ideology grew 67 percent, from 63 to 105, constituting 22 percent of all hate crimes," according to the summary.

"The fact that white supremacist crimes grew 67 percent is alarming, particularly in the aftermath of the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville," the human relations commission's president, Isabelle Gunning, said in a statement. "It seems that organized hate groups everywhere are feeling emboldened."

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