Sexual Orientation and Gender Bias Motivated Violent Crime
Bias-motivated crimes, also known as hate crimes, are defined by the U.S. Department of Justice (Hate Crime Statistics, 2016) as “crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” Hate crimes differ from other types of crime in that they typically involve excessive violence; are more likely to be committed against strangers; are often not planned; are typically committed by young, white males; and often involve more than one offender. The Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Act (1993) was created, in part, to account for the specific ways in which hate crimes are directed not only toward the person against whom the crime was committed but toward the group to which that person belongs. Hate crimes committed against members of the LGBTQ community have been explored in various ways over the decades. Perceptions of the crimes themselves and judgments made in cases related to sexual orientation bias have been investigated by psychological, political, and legal scholars, as have the utility and impact of hate crime statutes. Effects of these types of crime on both the victim and the community have also been explored by researchers. Arguments opposing the policing of and challenging the deterrent effects of hate crime legislation aside, hate crime statutes continue to expand, with the most recent federal statute, Public Law No. 111-84 (AKA the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act), enacted in 2009. The purpose of the present chapter is to identify the current state of the literature on sexual orientation and gender bias motivated violent crimes. Knowing the current state of research in this area helps to identify where future research and policy considerations should focus.
KeywordsHate crime Sexual orientation Gender identity Bias motivated Violence
- American Bar Association (ABA). (2013). Resolution 113A. Curtail the availability and effectiveness of the “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses.Google Scholar
- Cramer, R. J., Kehn, A., Pennington, C. R., Wechsler, H. J., & Clark III, J. W. (2013a). An examination of sexual orientation- and transgender-based hate crimes in the post-Matthew Shepard era. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 19(3), 355–368. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cramer, R. J., Wakeman, E. E., Chandler, J. F., Mohr, J. J., & Griffin, M. P. (2013c). Hate crimesin trial: Judgments about violent crime against gay men. Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law, 20(2), 202–215. https://doi.org/10.1080/132187192011633488.
- Cramer, R. J., Clark III, J. W., Kehn, A., Burks, A. C., & Wechsler, H. J. (2014). A mock juror investigation of blame attribution in the punishment of hate crime perpetrators. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 37(6), 551–557. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2014.02.028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Downey, J. P., & Stage, F. K. (1999). Hate crimes and violence on college and university campuses. Journal of College Student Development, 40(1), 3–12.Google Scholar
- Duncan, D. T., & Hatzenbuehler, M. L., (2014). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender hate crimes and suicidality along a population-based sample of sexual-minority adolescents in Boston. American Journal of Public Health, 104(2), 272–278. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.2013.301424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Act. (1993). Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 280003 (Public Law 103-322), 108 Stat. 1796, 2096.Google Scholar
- Hate Crime Statistics Act. (1990). 28 U.S.C. § 534.Google Scholar
- Herek, G. M. (1994). Heterosexism, hate crimes, and the law. In M. Costanzo & S. Oskamp (Eds.), Violence and the law (pp. 89–112). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
- Human Rights Campaign. (2016). Addressing anti-transgender violence: Exploring realities, challenges, and solutions for policy makers and community advocates. http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com//files/assets/resources/HRC-AntiTransgenderViolence-0519.pdf.
- Human Rights Campaign. (2017a). A matter of life and death: Fatal violence of transgendered people in America 2016. http://assets.hrc.org//files/assets/resources/A-Matter-of-Life-and-Death-2016.pdf?_ga=2.68263761.1339267036.1499357907-951374505.1499357907.
- Human Rights Campaign. (2017b). State hate crime laws. http://www.hrc.org/state-maps/hate-crimes.
- Jacobs, J. B., & Potter, K. (1998). Hate crimes: Criminal law and identity politics. NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kelley, H. H. (1972). Causal schemata and the attribution process. In E. E. Jones, D. E. Kanouse, H. H. Kelley, R. E. Nisbett, S. Valins, & B. Weiner (Eds.), Attribution: Perceiving the causes of behavior (pp. 151–174). Morristown, NJ: General Learning Press.Google Scholar
- Kristiansen, C. M., & Giulietti, R. (1990). Perceptions of wife abuse: Effects of gender, attitudes toward women, and just-world beliefs among college students. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 14(2), 177–189. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1990.tb00013.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Magane, A. (2017, June 21). Don’t tell me Nabra Hassanen, the Muslim girl who was kidnapped outside a mosque and murdered, was a victim of road rage. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nabra-hassanen-islamophobia-ramadan-murdered-hate-crime-road-rage-a7800126.html.
- Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. (2009). 18 U.S.C. § 249.Google Scholar
- New details emerge in Matthew Shepard Murder. (2004, November 26). ABC News 20/20. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=277685&page=1.
- Plumm, K. M., Potter, S., & Terrance, C. A. (2015). Perceptions of bias-motivate assault against bisexual individuals. Journal of Bisexuality, 15(2), 248–267. https://doi.org/10.1080/1529971620151022275.
- Plumm, K. M., Terrance, C. A., & Austin, A. (2014). Not all hate crimes are created equal: An examination of the roles of ambiguity and expectations in perceptions of hate crimes. Current Psychology, 33(7), 321–364. https://doi.org/10.1007/s1214401492158.
- Schick v. State (1991). 570N.E.2d 918.Google Scholar
- Stack, L. (2017, May 16). U.S. hate crime law punished transgender woman’s killer, in a first. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com.
- Stafford, Z. (2015, November 13). Transgender homicide rate hits historic high in US says new report. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/13/transgender-homicide-victims-us-has-hit-historic-high.
- Stotzer, R. (2010). Sexual orientation-based hate crimes on campus: The impact of policy on reporting rates. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 7(3), 147–154. https://doi.org/10.1007/s1317801000141.
- Szymanski, D. (2005). Heterosexism and sexism as correlates of psychological distress in lesbians. Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(3), 355–360. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6678.2005.tb00355.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2016, November). Hate Crime Statistics, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2017 from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/resource-pages/abouthatecrime_final.
- Wilson, M. S. (2013). Violence and mental health in the transgender community (Doctoral dissertation, Ohio University). Retrieved from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1385412105.
- Yan, H., & Hassan, C. (2018, April 24). The man accused of mowing down Toronto pedestrians is charged with murder. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/24/americas/toronto-van-investigation/index.html.