FBI crime statistics show anti-LGBTQ hate crimes on the rise

Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes rose sharply in 2022, jumping more than 19 percent over 2021, according to the FBI’s annual crime report released Monday.

More than 11,600 hate crime incidents were reported to the FBI in 2022, the highest number recorded since the agency began tracking them in 1991. A majority of hate crimes recorded last year targeted Black people, according to the report.

Hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people were up significantly compared with 2021, with 622 reported single-bias, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. Hate crimes motivated by an anti-transgender bias rose more than 35 percent year over year, reaching 338 incidents.

Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ civil rights group, described the increase in hate crimes as “both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected.”

“The constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures, alongside the relentless passage of discriminatory bills, particularly those targeting transgender individuals, in state legislatures, created an environment where it was sadly foreseeable that individuals with violent tendencies might respond to this rhetoric,” Robinson said Monday in a statement.

Robinson, who testified before Congress last year during a first-of-its-kind hearing on surging anti-LGBTQ violence and hate speech, added that Monday’s FBI data “serves as another alarming indicator of the state of emergency our community finds itself in.”

The Human Rights Campaign in June declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ people in the U.S. for the first time in its 40-year history, citing the passage of laws that target the community. More than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures this year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and at least 84 became law. Most measures threaten to roll back the rights of transgender young people.

President Biden denounced laws that target LGBTQ people as “hateful” and “dangerous” during a speech Saturday at the Human Rights Campaign national dinner in Washington.

“Families across the country now face excruciating decisions to move to a different state to protect their child from dangerous anti-LGBTQ laws,” he said. 

Biden recognized several LGBTQ people and allies who lost their lives to anti-LGBTQ violence this year, including O’Shae Sibley, who was fatally stabbed while dancing at a Brooklyn gas station; Colin Smith, who was killed while defending a friend from anti-LGBTQ harassment; and Laura Ann Carleton, who was shot and killed by a man who made “disparaging remarks” about a rainbow Pride flag displayed outside her clothing store in Lake Arrowhead, Calif.

Biden similarly warned of increasing anti-LGBTQ violence last week in a statement marking the 25th anniversary of the killing of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was brutally attacked and later died of his injuries in one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in U.S. history.

“Today, as threats and violence targeting the LGBTQI+ community continue to rise, our work is far from finished,” Biden said in the Oct. 12 statement. “No American should face hate or violence for who they are or who they love.”