That LGBT people are the group most targeted by violent hate criminals is no secret to those who study such matters. Nor is it a surprise that many such criminals have reacted to things like gay civil unions and the striking down of state sodomy statutes with fury. But recent evidence from New York City suggests that anti-gay hate crimes may now be even more widespread and vicious than before.
New Yorkers in recent months have been shocked by the murder and dismemberment of Rashawn Brazell, whose mutilated body was left in a subway tunnel on Valentine's Day, and the brutal beating of Dwan Prince, who was attacked outside his apartment building on June 9 and beaten into a coma as his assailants shouted anti-gay slurs. Anti-gay hate crimes were up by 32% in the city from 2004, even as other kinds of hate crime dropped. And the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project says reports of anti-gay violence are up 24% in the last two years, with reports of anti-gay assaults now averaging one each 36 hours.
The trend does not seem to be limited to New York. A sampling: