Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the Pulse massacre, the attack on an LGBTQ space that became the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history. But even without the 49 victims killed in that shooting, 2016 was still the deadliest year on record for LGBTQ Americans.
A new report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has found that there was a 17% increase in hate killings from the previous year, not including the lives lost at the Pulse nightclub.
The report, released Monday, gathered data on 1,036 incidents of hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people from 12 local NCAVP member organizations in 11 states.
In 2016, the NCAVP recorded 77 total LGBTQ homicides, including victims of the Pulse shooting. People of color and transgender and gender non-conforming people made up the majority of those homicides, according to the data.
Additionally, the most common types of violence that survivors experienced came in the form of verbal harassment, followed by threats and intimidation, and physical violence. Online harassment also grew, and Latinx survivors were 4.5 times more likely to experience online and mobile harassment than survivors who did not identify as Latinx.
The report also found that the majority of survivors experienced violence by someone they knew: of the offenders, 22% were a landlord or neighbor, 17% were a relative or family member, 16% were an employer or co-worker, and 10% were ex-lovers or partners. And of the survivors who went to the police, 35% perceived that the police were indifferent towards them, and 31% found the police to be hostile.
"We're not sending clear messages that LGBTQ lives are valued," Shelby Chestnut, director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, told USA Today. "People are dying as a result of anti-LGBT violence almost daily in this country, and it is everyone's problem."
"People need to understand that it's happening in their communities whether they're wealthy communities, poor communities, white communities, communities of color, immigrant communities," Chestnut added. "Now, more than ever, people need to stand up and defend the rights of LGBT people."
We need to do better — and it begins with recognizing the systems of oppression that contribute to this violence, and support and advocate for change. The NCAVP has a few calls to action for what you can do to stop the epidemic of violence, including calling out anti-LGBTQ legislation at local, state, and federal levels, and supporting your community's local organizations to help survivors of violence.
Read these stories next: