Crimes against the LGBTQ community now make up nearly half of hate crimes in Washington DC.
Washington DC’s Metro Police have revealed that anti-gay crimes in the territory have tripled since Donald Trump became president in 2016. In that same timeframe, anti-trans attacks have nearly doubled.
In 2016, in the territory, there were only 20 hate crimes that were based on someone’s sexual orientation. In 2017, that number had soared to 56, and in 2018 the number totalled 61.
The amount of hate crimes targeting trans people in Washington DC numbered 19 in 2016, then it dipped to 13 in 2017, but in the past year that too has tripled to 36.
The Metro Police also noted that anti-LGBTQ hate crimes now make up nearly half of the overall statistics for hate crime in the territory, with the amount totalling 97. The next nearest category was ethnicity, in which 49 people were attacked for.
Speaking to the Washington Blade, Monica Palacio, the director of the DC Office for Human Rights, said: “I do think that the president of the United States has been very actively tearing down protections for the LGBTQ community, whether it’s in the military or whether it’s in employment.
“I personally, in my work, I know that over the last 25 years when you have a national role model spewing homophobia a lot is going to happen in the way people treat one another.
“And it’s going to tear down that kind of common decency and sense of respect for people’s life choice.”
Other officials in the territory, including the Mayor, Muriel Bowser, have also cited a hostile political environment as a possible cause for the spike in reports.
Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees DC’s LGBT Liaison Unit, however believed the increase was because of better education surrounding the reporting of hate crime.
“Our outreach and our relationship with members of the community continue to get stronger and stronger,” he said. “And that’s probably the reason why you’re seeing more people report their victimisation.
“And then you have to admit also that there are probably more bias-related crimes occurring.”
Last month, Washington DC became the first U.S. territory to ban the discredited ‘conversion therapy’ practice for adults as well as minors.
The law was signed into effect by DC’s mayor, Muriel Bowser and was introduced last December by Mary Cheh. When voted on, it was unanimously passed.
Reacting to the news, Cheh said: “Medical and mental health professionals condemn the practice of conversion therapy, which is why I previously banned the practice for minors: to protect them from the increased risk of depression, substance abuse, and suicide that is associated with this harmful practice.
“This bill now fills a further gap to ensure that conversion therapy cannot be forced on someone who is unable to provide consent.
“It is courageous to live an open, honest life—full of purpose and meaning. I see none of those values in these types of therapies and they must not be accepted in the District of Columbia.”