FBI Reports Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crimes Are Still on the Rise in the U.S.

Advocates say the slight uptick year-to-year is "fueled largely by an anti-LGBTQ White House."

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has released its annual Hate Crime Statistics report for 2018, and while hate-motivated crimes appear to be on the decline overall, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes actually increased.

In 2018, the agency counted a grand total of 1,196 incidents of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias, plus an additional 168 hate crimes against trans or gender nonconforming Americans. That adds up to 1,364 anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, or 19% of the more than 7,000 overall reported cases.

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That also constitutes another uptick year-to-year: As NewNowNext reported last November, the FBI previously clocked 1,130 incidents of anti-LGB crimes and 119 anti-transgender hate crimes. In total, 2017 saw 1,249 incidents motivated by anti-LGBTQ animus, meaning such crimes increased slightly between 2017 and 2018. For transgender Americans, that year-to-year incline was even more significant (more than 40%).

Sadly, the numbers for all categories are likely higher, since not all law enforcement jurisdictions are required to report to the FBI, and some don’t include sexual orientation bias or gender identity bias in their data collection.

The good news? Although hate crimes against LGBTQ Americans experienced a small uptick, bias-motivated crimes across the board actually experienced a slight decrease year-to-year. In 2018, the FBI counted 7,120 total reported hate crimes nationwide, down slightly from the 7,175 incidents the agency reported in 2017.

Relative to 2016’s Hate Crime Statistics report, that small decrease is a good sign: Between 2016 and 2017, the FBI counted a staggering 17% increase in overall hate crimes. However, the modest decrease between 2017 and 2018’s reports also means that hate crimes in the U.S. remained at the heightened incidence they initially soared to two years ago.

In a statement responding to the FBI’s report, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said the small increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes should serve as “an alarm” to all Americans:

As our culture grows more and more divisive, fueled largely by an anti-LGBTQ White House, a permission slip has been given for some Americans to act on their worst instincts and to target others. This report should sound an alarm that we all must do better to create a country where marginalized communities are safe and protected against hate violence. Violent hate crimes against LGBTQ people are a pervasive issue that needs to be addressed by politicians and law enforcement in a bipartisan and urgent way.

View the full 2018 report—including an in-depth breakdown of specific crimes, different biases, and incidence rates—on the FBI’s website.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.