Hate Crimes

Overview

The tragic and predictable consequence of anti-gay hate speech is violence targeted at the LGBT community.

According to the Florida Attorney General, hate crimes based on sexual orientation currently account for 22 percent of all hate crimes, surpassing religion as the second highest category. Race is still the most common motivation. When taking into account the size of the targeted communities, LGBT Floridians are at the highest risk of being targeted with a hate crime.

Florida law provides increased penalties for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and has been interpreted to include hate crimes targeting the transgender community as well. Adding explicit protections for gender identity and expression to our state hate crimes statute continues to be a priority.

Equality Florida worked to ensure that a majority of Florida’s representatives in Congress voted to pass the Matthew Shepard / James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act - the first federal protections for the LGBT community. Today, Florida ranks 4th in the nation, behind California, New York and Texas, in the number of people
protected by state hate crimes laws.

Equality Florida continues to address the epidemic of hate crimes in three ways:

  1. Rally community and faith leaders, as well as our members, to stand up to hate crimes every time they occur. Delivering a loud and public community-based response that hate crimes are completely unacceptable is a critical part of our effort in responding to such a tragedy.

  2. Ensure local law enforcement and prosecutors treat hate crimes victims with dignity while investigating and prosecuting their attackers.

  3. Work with LGBT and mainstream media to educate the public on the existence and impact of hate crimes and the disproportionate way the LGBT community is targeted.