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What Are LGBT Hate Crimes?

When hate crimes are directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) victims, they are referred to as LGBT hate crimes.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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When hate crimes are directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) victims, they are referred to as LGBT hate crimes. These criminal actions are directed at victims because of bias against the person’s sexual preferences or gender expression. These types of crimes can range from those that involve words and intimidation to those that include physical violence. Many people have even died as the result of LGBT hate crimes.

LGBT hate crimes are typically initiated because a person or group of people feels bias against people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. These crimes typically have nothing to do with the actual victim. Instead, they are based on the perpetrator's view of this group of people and his disdain for them. Sometimes this type of crime is even committed against a person who is not actually a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individual. Instead, some people commit these crimes based on the way a person speaks, acts, or looks rather than actual knowledge of his sexual preferences or orientation.

Sometimes LGBT hate crimes are not of a physical nature. For example, an individual may suffer from harassment, threats, or intimidation because he is gay or bisexual. In other cases, the crimes may involve property. For instance, a person may rob another or vandalize his property because he is transsexual. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these crimes do harm the victim, despite the fact that they do not involve hurting him physically.

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Unfortunately, LGBT hate crimes do involve physical violence in many cases. For example, they may involve physical beatings, torture, or attempts to disfigure. Sometimes they are sexual in nature and involve sexual assault, molestation, or rape. In some cases, LGBT hate crimes go so far as to include attempted murder or homicide.

One thing that is unique about LGBT hate crimes is the victim. Of course, a person against whom the crime was committed is the primary victim. These crimes, however, often serve to victimize whole groups of people. They send a message that people who fit the LGBT description are unwelcome and should fear for their safety. In fact, reading or hearing about these types of crimes make some people afraid to display affection to their partners in public or behave in ways that are stereotypically homosexual.

Most jurisdictions have laws against hate crimes. A person who is judged guilty of a LGBT hate crime may face a fine, a prison sentence, or both. Often, a person faces a stiffer penalty because of the hate aspect of his crime. For instance, if he is convicted of attempted murder as a hate crime, he may face a stiffer penalty than if he was convicted of attempted murder alone.

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