We’re only eight months into the year, but already more LGBTQ people have been killed in 2017 than all of 2016, according to a report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
As of this month, the organization counts 33 hate-violence-related homicides of LGBTQ people, topping last year’s total of 28—a number that excludes the 49 people killed in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting.
According to Buzzfeed, 15 of those killed in 2017 so far have been trans women of color, and at least 12 were cisgender gay men. At this rate, the pacing breaks down to one hate-violence-related death every six days in 2017, versus one every 13 days in 2016.
The NCAVP could not attribute the rise to any one specific cause, though it could be due to increased media coverage and more accurate identification of victims by law enforcement. It could also just be a good old-fashioned uptick in violence, which perhaps wouldn’t be surprising thanks to the alarming number of newly-emboldened Nazis and bigots slithering from the woodwork. As Beverly Tillary, the executive director at the New York City Anti-Violence Project told Buzzfeed:
“I think whether it’s an increase in reporting, an increase in violence, or some combination thereof, it should be a wake-up call for us across our communities that hate violence is not going away, it’s certainly not decreasing, and it’s symptomatic of larger and deeper problems in our society that we still haven’t addressed.”
Remember that the report follows some important clerical changes made by Trump, such as opting not to include questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity on the 2020 Census.
And as Vanessa Panfil, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Virginia’s Old Dominion University points out, the increased violence is in keeping with the recent backlash against the LGBTQ community, which has been encouraged by the current administration in forms such as banning trans people from serving in the military.
She added that the uptick could well be “influenced by heterosexism, transphobia, and homophobia that have always existed but now partly fueled by backlash.”