Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program Contributes to National Report on Hate Violence Experienced by LGBTQ and HIV-affected Persons in US

On June 9, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released its annual report documenting the level of hate violence experienced by LGBTQ and HIV-affected persons in the United States in 2014. The report, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2014, is the most comprehensive report on this violence in the United States.

The report draws on data collected from 16 anti-violence programs in 14 states across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia. Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program provided the Massachusetts data used in the report. You can access the full report here.

Nationally, the findings of this year’s report confirm a multi-year trend of severe violence against the most vulnerable and marginalized members of LGBTQ communities including transgender people and people of color:

  • Reports of non-lethal anti-LGBTQ violence declined, while homicides increased; NCAVP recommends increased public awareness and increased outreach
  • Transgender women, people of color, and gay men face the highest risk of homicide
  • Transgender people, low income people, people of color, LGBTQ and HIV-affected youth and young adults, and gay men face the most severe violence
  • More than 50% of survivors reported hate violence to the police, yet the police classified a small percentage of reports as bias crimes; often those who reported violence were met with police hostility and excessive force

At Fenway’s Violence Recovery Program, 2014 saw a continued trend of a steady number of LGBTQ asylum seekers fleeing deadly violence in their home countries, particularly in Central America and Uganda.

“Even as we see LGBTQ rights progressing forward in the United States, the most vulnerable in our communities experience hate violence, discrimination, and police harassment based on an intersection of identities. In order to address these issues LGBTQ communities and allies need to focus on addressing systemic racism, enacting humane immigration reform, and ending police profiling against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people and people of color,” said M.E. Quinn, Bilingual Counselor & Advocate at Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program.

Across the United States, 2014 was a deadly year for LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, with 20 homicides documented, an 11% increase from 18 homicides in 2013, and among the highest number of homicides in a year since NCAVP started tracking this information. Additionally, for a fifth year in a row, NCAVP’s findings reflect a disproportionate impact of deadly violence for people of color, transgender women, transgender people of color, and gay men:

  • 80% of all homicide victims in 2014 were people of color, yet LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color only represented 41% of total survivors and victims. The majority of homicide victims (60%) were Black and African American, 15% of homicide victims were Latin@, and 15% of homicide victims were White.
  • Over half (55%) of homicide victims were transgender women, and half (50%) of homicide victims were transgender women of color, yet transgender survivors and victims only represent 19% of total reports to NCAVP.
  • 35% of homicide victims were gay or bisexual men.

Any LGBTQ people in Massachusetts experiencing violence, harassment or other anti-LGBTQ bias crimes can contact the Violence Recovery Program at 617.927.6250. “We can help survivors of violence consider their options in terms of whether or not to file a report or to get legal help, and offer free counseling and advocacy,” said Quinn.

People in other parts of the country can call the Anti-Violence Project’s national, toll- free bilingual (English/Spanish), 24-hour, 365-day-a-year crisis intervention hotline at 212.714.1141. The hotline is staffed by trained volunteers and professional counselor/advocates to offer support to LGBTQH victims and survivors of any type of violence.

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