ILGA » ILGA North America » Four Years Later: The Shepard-Byrd Act Examining Bias-Motivated Crimes Against LGBT People

News

Filter by Show me news ›

Four Years Later: The Shepard-Byrd Act Examining Bias-Motivated Crimes Against LGBT People

Four years ago this week, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, or Shepard-Byrd Act, into law, saying that the bill was meant to “help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray.” This measure expanded federal law to include bias-motivated hate crimes based on a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

2nd November 2013 21:10

Alessia Valenza | ILGA North America

Despite these legal protections, however, LGBT people—particularly black transgender women and gender-nonconforming gay men—are victimized, persecuted, and murdered at alarming rates.

Moreover, existing hate-crime statistics show that LGBT people of color are more likely to experience violence than their white LGBT counterparts. This uptick in incidents could be the result of increased reporting, suggesting that the Shepard-Byrd Act is working as intended and that people feel comfortable enough to report crimes because they have legal recourse. Yet the apparent vulnerability of LGBT people of color to this type of violence—relative to their white peers—suggests that additional work is needed to understand and prevent hate crimes against this community. Read more here.