A new report shows that hate-based killings of LGBTQ people grew 86 percent nationwide last year.
That is a record number, according to the annual Crisis of Hate report, compiled by the New York City Violence Project.
"There are more instances of violence because the climate in the country has changed," Beverly Tillery, executive director of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, told HuffPost on Monday. Tillery said her organization had observed an upswing in anti-LGBTQ violence as the 2016 presidential election drew to a close. “Trump won the election by saying it was time to take back America for people feeling pushed out by LGBTQ people, immigrants and people of color."
"It was a tactical move to attack those communities,” she added. “It worked, and there are more instances of violence because the climate in the country has changed. It has given an opening for people to feel like they can commit acts of hate-based violence without much repercussion."
The NCVAP recorded 52 LGTBQ hate-based homicides in 2017 ― an average of one each week. That's almost double the 28 single-incident anti-LGTBQ homicides registered in 2016. (The Pulse nightclub massacre, in which 49 people died, was not included in the count of single incidents.)
The report also found that 71 percent of victims were people of color, 67 percent were under the age of 35, and 45 percent of the murders of gay, bisexual or queer cisgender men were related to hookups, largely via websites and apps.
The Trump administration has taken a number of actions hostile to LGBTQ people. President Trump declined to name June a National Pride Month, a tradition observed all eight years of the Obama administration. In late July, Trump tweeted that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military "in any capacity," an order blocked by the courts; the administration has since relented.
Tillery said her organization will release a report on general LGBTQ-related violence later this year. Of the year-on-year increase in homicides, she said: “I don’t know whether all this is based on Trump’s beliefs or not, but at this point, it feels hard to imagine it’s not.”