he FBI released their report on 2007 hate-crimes statistics yesterday. While there was a slight drop from the 2006 statistics in the number of hate crimes reported overall, there was a 6% increase in hate crimes perpetuated against people based on their perceived sexual orientation.
While this is a significant rise, media reporting on the increase has been unusually scant. The Associated Press and USA Today both released short stories focused on the FBI reporting which give brief mention to the rise in anti-gay hate crimes. Later in the day, USA Today published a story focused on the spike in anti-gay hate crimes. In the article they featured a quote from GLAAD president Neil Giuliano, who reminded readers that:
Until we make laws that make it clear these attacks are not OK, the nation will continue to be scarred.
CNN was notably quiet on the topic. While they reported on the release of the statistics, they did not highlight the rise in anti-gay hate crimes at all. GLAAD is asking CNN to update its coverage to reflect the 6% spike in anti-gay hate-crimes.
In the wake of the 10-year remembrance of Matthew Shepard's brutal murder, It is essential that media report on the startling rise of hate motivated violence against LGBT people. Increased fair, accurate and inclusive media coverage and sharing the stories of anti-gay and anti-transgender hate crimes in families, schools, and in local communities, is vital to end this persistent epidemic of hate violence and generate cultural awareness about hate crimes and how they affect our communities.