Today, on the fourth commemoration of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Human Rights Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, Giffords Law Center and Equality Florida released a new report highlighting the impact of gun violence on the LGBTQ community.
The report, entitled “Remembering and Honoring Pulse: Anti-LGBTQ Bias and Guns are Taking Lives of Countless LGBTQ People,” notes that over 10,000 hate crimes in the US involve a firearm each year, which equates to more than 28 each day. This analysis marks the most substantive synthesis of data related to the impact of gun violence on the LGBTQ community to date.
The report notes a marked increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, especially against transgender people. Since 2013, three-fourths of homicides against transgender people have involved a gun, and nearly eight in ten homicides of Black trans women involve a gun. Further, advocates saw a 43% increase in the formation of anti-LGBTQ hate groups in 2019. In addition to detailed statistics regarding the frequency and use of firearms in hate crimes, the report highlights data on the impact of firearms in three key areas: homicide, suicide and intimate partner violence.
“Gun safety is an LGBTQ issue, plain and simple,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “From the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub four years ago, to the dozens of transgender and gender non-conforming people killed by firearms over the last decade, our community is under attack and needs reform to improve our well-being. This report outlines the problem at hand and provides strong recommendations for helping build a better, safer future for our community, one that is free from gun violence.”
“For some LGBTQ individuals, the horrific Pulse nightclub shooting was the first time they grappled with the impact of gun violence on their community,” said Sheila E. Isong, Giffords Engagement Director. “Tragically, it shattered the lives of many others well before. Violent hate hasn't gone away, for some community members like transgender Black women it's become an even greater threat. LGBTQ voices are an essential part of the growing calls for Congress to act to make our country safer. We are proud to join with the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Florida, and Everytown for Gun Safety to clearly lay out the pain gun violence inflicts and offer a path forward.”
“Fifty-one years after a Black trans woman led an uprising against police discrimination and violence at the Stonewall Inn, the LGBTQ community — and especially trans people of color — are still the targets of hate-fueled violence, which often involves a gun,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “This year, Everytown renews our commitment to disarming hate and pushing federal lawmakers to close the giant loophole that allows people convicted of violent or threatening hate crimes to buy guns.”
“This report makes crystal clear what we have long understood: Gun violence disproportionately impacts minority communities, and especially Black transgender women,” said Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida. “The massacre at Pulse Nightclub centered the inescapable reality of gun violence on the LGBTQ community. The tragedy compelled the LGBTQ community to honor with actions those 49 lives lost. Our commitment to action does not end with uprooting the hatred displayed four years ago. We must confront America's epidemic of gun violence by changing the policies that put weapons of war in civilian’s hands, enabling mass casualties in mere seconds.”
The report concludes by presenting the federal policy solutions that could make a real difference. That includes passing the Disarm Hate Act, which closes a dangerous loophole in federal law by prohibiting people convicted of violent or threatening hate crimes from obtaining guns. Other policies highlighted in the report include funding more research on gun violence and its intersection with violence against the LGBTQ community, and supporting common-sense gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, including convicted domestic abusers.
Friday, June 12, marks the fourth year since the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub left 49 people dead and 53 wounded. The victims and survivors of this shooting were predominantly Latinx LGBTQ people. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. It remains the largest targeted attack against the LGBTQ community to date.