A report last month by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a group that supports victims of anti-LGBT harassment, found:
- Hate incidents against LGBT people and HIV-affected persons increased 13% from 2009 to 2010.
- Murders of LGBT people numbered 27, the second-highest total recorded.
- Half of victims did not report the crimes to police, and 61% of victims who did said they experienced indifferent or abusive police attitudes.
- Offenders were mostly strangers, white and non-transgender men.
It's been 18 months since the Matthew Shepard Law was passed and there have been hundreds of gay beatings and murders, but not one has been prosecuted under the new law ... It's time to make our voices heard. These are horrendous crimes and while driven by hate, they are not always prosecuted as such.
In response to the death of Matthew the United States House of Representatives managed to pass the “Matthew Shepard Act.” Once again, amazingly, no Republicans supported the passaged of the bill. The bill was named after Matthew Wayne Shepardd who died on Oct. 12, 1998. He was 21 at the time of death. His killers are serving life behind bars. During the trial, witnesses said that Shepard was attacked because of his sexual preferences. The piece of legislature was introduced back in 2007. As Wikipedia describes, the Matthew Shepard Act "...would expand the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability." The bill would also:
- Remove the current prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school;
- Give federal authorities greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue;
- Provide $10 million in funding for 2008 and 2009 to help State and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
- Require the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people (statistics for the other groups are already tracked).