Over 1,200 anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were reported during the first year of Trump’s presidency, according to new data from the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Released Tuesday, the FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report found that hate crimes against marginalized communities increased for the third straight year. There were 1,130 bias attacks on the basis of sexual orientation in 2017, a five percent increase from a year earlier.
In addition, another 119 attacks—whether property crimes or assaults on someone’s person—were motivated by the victim’s gender identity.
Despite a record number of anti-trans murders, the number of hate crimes related to gender identity in 2017 actually represents a slim four percent decrease from the year prior. There were 124 attacks targeting transgender people in 2016.
The increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes overall follows larger surges in violence against marginalized communities.
Of the 7,106 single-incident bias attacks recorded in 2017, the largest percentage—or 59.6 percent—were motivated by the victim’s ethnicity. The injured party in more than half of those incidents was black.
Likewise, the lion’s share of hate crimes on the basis of religious faith targeted people of the Jewish faith. In 2017, nearly six in 10 religiously motivated bias attacks—or 58.1 percent—involved a Jewish person. That figure amounted to more than 1,600 incidents in total.
While 18.6 percent of hate crimes related to religion targeted Muslims, that represents a slight decline from 2016.
Matthew G. Whitaker, the acting attorney general, called the FBI report a “call to action.” Whitaker, who was recently tapped by President Trump to replace outgoing Jeff Sessions, claimed he was “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes” following an October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“The American people can be assured that this Department has already taken significant and aggressive actions against these crimes and that we will vigorously and effectively defend their rights,” he said in a statement.
But it remains to be seen whether Whitaker will take appropriate action to address the increase in crimes against LGBTQ Americans under Trump.
When Whitaker was announced as Sessions’ stand-in at the DOJ, critics noted concern about his history of anti-gay remarks. The former Iowa district attorney has referred to marriage as a union “between one man and one woman” and predicted that former president Obama’s LGBTQ rights legacy would leave an “unbelievable, long-term negative impact” on the United States.
As the Anti-Defamation League claimed, responding to attacks on LGBTQ communities around the country will take significant action at every level. After Tuesday’s report was released, it noted that 91 metropolitan areas with populations over 100,000 people didn’t submit hate crime data at all.
Its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, concluded that “more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America.”
“That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs,” Greenblatt said in a press release.
As INTO has previously noted, the White House has yet to condemn the wave of attacks on LGBTQ centers across the country. Since Trump was elected in Nov. 2016, queer resource centers in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin have been vandalized or shot up.
Meanwhile, a volunteer at Washington, D.C.’s Casa Ruby was physically assaulted.
Critics of the POTUS have pointed to Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ policies as a contributing factor to the increase in violence and property crimes since his surprise win. Many perpetrators of hate crimes over the past two years have mentioned the president’s name during the attack.