The U.S. LGBTQ community's deadliest year on record was 2016, according to a June report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, with homicides alone increasing from 2015 to 2016 — and that's after setting aside the 49 victims of the horrific Pulse nightclub attack.
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"Continuing an alarming multiyear trend, people of color, transgender and gender non-conforming people made up the majority of victims of LGBTQ and HIV-affected related hate violence," the report noted.
Over 1,000 incidents of non-fatal anti-LGBTQ violence were recorded by the report, including stalking, bullying, sexual violence, physical assault and verbal harassment, much of which came from acquaintances of survivors such as “landlords, neighbors, employers, and family members.” The majority of survivors identified as gay, were below the age of 39, or were people of color.
“The enormous tragedy at Pulse Nightclub, in concert with the daily violence and discrimination that pervades our lives as LGBTQ people, and an incendiary political climate, have created a perfect storm of fear and trauma for our communities this year,” Melissa Brown of the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project wrote in a press release for the report, which was released on the occasion of the Orlando massacre's one-year anniversary.
During 2016, 77 people were murdered in anti-LGBTQ homicides, including the Pulse victims, according to the NCAVP's data. Additionally, 28 individuals were murdered in anti-LGBT homicides, with most of the victims being transgender, of which 64 percent were black and over half younger than 35.
The startling report reveals that LGBTQ communities continue to suffer amid the hard-right tilt in U.S. politics which has revived homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and outright racist biases that have long thrived in United States culture. LGBTQ communities of color lying at the crossroads of the prevailing trends of bigotry are facing an increasingly precarious status in the U.S.
The NCAVP report also noted an increase in anti-LGBTQ legislation nationwide, with 125 bills being introduced in 32 state legislatures in 2015, 156 in 32 states in 2016 and 100 in 29 states in 2017, overall. By March of this year, 21 states had adopted constitutional or statutory anti-gay laws on the pretext of so-called “religious exemption,” with more laws being voted on across the U.S.
Under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, modest federal protections extended by the Barack Obama administration were overturned while executive orders promoting anti-LGBTQ “free speech” and “religious liberties” were signed, granting de facto official sanction to those wanting state protection for bigotry and discrimination.