Hate crimes targeting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Queer (LGBTQ) individuals in Washington, D.C. have tripled and anti-trans attacks have also nearly doubled since Donald Trump became president in 2016, according to D.C.’s Metro Police.
In 2018, the number of crimes relating to victims’ sexual orientation rose to 61. The number of such crimes was 56 in 2017, while in 2016, only 20 hate crimes of that kind were reported in the District. 19 out of those in 2016 were reportedly committed against trans people in Washington, D.C. Over the past year, the number of incidents targeting D.C.’s transgender community totaled 36.
Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, amounting to 97, now comprise about half of all hate crimes in the area, according to the Metro Police.
“I do think that the president of the United States has been very actively tearing down protections for the LGBTQ community, whether it’s in the military or whether it’s in employment,” Monica Palacio, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, told the Washington Blade.
“I personally, in my work, I know that over the last 25 years when you have a national role model spewing homophobia a lot is going to happen in the way people treat one another,” she said.
According to Lt. Brett Parson, the head of D.C.’s LGBT Liaison Unit, the increase is also due to better education about reporting of hate crimes.
“Our outreach and our relationship with members of the community continue to get stronger and stronger. And that’s probably the reason why you’re seeing more people report their victimization,” said Parson.
Last month, Washington, D.C. became the first territory in the U.S. to ban the practice of “conversion therapy” for both minors and adults. The practice has already been banned in 15 U.S. States. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the law to ban the practice which was subsequently voted on and unanimously passed. The law was introduced last December by councilmember Mary Cheh.