number crunching

Just 22 Anti-LGBT Murders In 2009?

It is not “funny haha,” but it is “funny, ’cause shit that’s messed up”: The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ counted just 22 murders in 2009 in the United States that resulted from anti-LGBT bias. That figure can’t even be close to accurate.

Not only are crime stats notoriously under-reported, but as you would assume, many police departments across the nation don’t even collect data about queer-related bias in violent crimes, thus making these sorts of statistics unreliable at best, laughable at worst. But NCAVP does note “79 percent were people of color and 50 percent of them identified as trans women. And while these figures represent a 30 percent decrease from 2008, they remain the second highest the NCAVP has reported over the last decade.”

The figures include the savage murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado in Puerto Rico; 2010’s numbers will count this month’s shooting murder of another Puerto Rican, a trans woman.

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  • Dollie

    Even if it was only 22 (which it clearly cannot be), that would be tragic.

    Even one would serve as evidence that we still have work to do.

  • Dollie


  • cls

    Crimes stats in general are underreported but not murder stats, it is a bit hard to cover that up.

  • slobone

    And your opinion that that number is wrong is based on what evidence?

  • slobone

    Responding to my own post, I think the number 22 is actually a fairly meaningless number.

    NCAVP, who I fully applaud for the work they’re doing, would be the first to admit that their statistics are far from definitive. They depend for data on volunteer organizations around the country, but these organizations don’t cover the whole country — only 22 states, actually. So the actual number could certainly be higher.

    On the other hand, it’s often very difficult to determine whether a murder is a hate crime. The victim is no longer around to testify, and in many of these cases even the identity of the murderer is unknown. So attributing motivation is a guessing game. Taking this into account, the number could easily be smaller than the one they came up with.

    In other words, in any given year the number of hate murders could be either higher or lower than the number they come up with. That makes year-to-year comparisons essentially pointless.

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