Hate Crimes Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Individuals

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals people make up more than ten percent of the population; that means if you are sitting in a classroom of thirty, then more than three of those people are LGBT individuals. However, this overwhelmingly large minority group continues to be one of the least protected by the government as well as most heavily targeted by discrimination and hate crimes. Regardless of the powerful shift in public opinion concerning LGBT individuals during the last twenty years, the laws concerning hate crimes have remained invariable.

A hate crime is an act of aggression against an individual's actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religions, disability, sexual orientation, or gender. Examples include
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The other hate crime law in effect is the Hate Crime Sentencing Act, passed in 1994. It states that perpetrators of a hate crime are to be given not less than three offense levels for offenses that the finder of fact at trial determines beyond a reasonable doubt are hate crimes. This law, however is only in effect if someone is attacked on federal property, such as a national park or Indian reservation, while trying to perform a constitutionally protected right, such as vote or attend school. Because of these limitations a gay man from Shreveport who was beaten to death while waiting for a cab outside of a gay bar would not be protected by the hate crime legislation or a certain Matthew Shepard who was attacked while walking down the streets of Laramie, Wyoming.
Hate crimes performed against homosexuals are on the rise as well. The 1996 FBI statistics state that anti-gay hate crimes account for 11.6% of all hate crimes data collected. Though the overall average is down by 1.2% from the year prior the crimes are far more violent and public. There were five more arson reports, ten more reports of crimes committed in commercial buildings, and crimes committed in private residences rose from 267 to 318.

These statistics are terrifying, but what makes it even more horrendous is that they are merely the tip of a colossal iceberg; a vast majority of…