The 23-page 2013 Tennessee Hate Crimes Report, issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) last month, showcases both alarming and progressive trends for Tennessee’s LGBT communities.
According to the report, hate crimes with an anti-sexual bias against the LGBT community rose for the third year in a row to 45. Those numbers are up from 41 in 2012 and 37 in 2011.
The 2013 report marks the first time that hate crimes with anti-bisexual and anti-transgender bias have been included in the state report. Totaling three reported cases (2 anti-bisexual; 1 anti-transgender) out of 45, Tennessee transgender activists are still concerned that we’re not clearly identifying hate crimes against our transgender community.
“It’s a positive first step,” said Marisa Richmond, Secretary of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC). “We are still concerned that many hate crimes based on gender non-conformity are being missed, or folded into other categories. We still feel that more needs to be done, but this does appear to be a positive first step. A problem must first be identified before it can be addressed."
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, only 11 states currently have hate crime laws that include gender identity and expression. Richmond says that “adding ‘gender identity or expression to the Tennessee Sentencing Enhancement Act and better training of law enforcement about hate crimes against transgender people, are definite next steps.”
On the federal level, in 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Act, which extended the Federal Hate Crimes law with gender identity and in April 2014, the Department of Education said that transgender students were protected under Title IX.
Other highlights from the 2013 report:
In 2013, the number of Damage/destruction/Vandalism hate crime offenses increased 27.9%, including five anti-LGBT offenses. Two of those five were reported from Vanderbilt University.
Simple Assault was the most frequently reported bias motivated offense. This includes 10 anti-LGBT offenses.
You can read the entire report here.