In 1998, Matthew Shepard was murdered at the age of 21 for being gay. His murderers assaulted him severely, and tied him to a fence with a rope while Shepard pleaded for his life. It was reported that Shepard was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially washed clean by his tears.
In 1998, James Byrd, Jr., a 49-year-old African-American man, was murdered by known white supremacists. His three murderers beat him severely, urinated on him, then wrapped a heavy logging chain around his ankles so that they could drag him behind their pick-up truck. They drug him for three miles along an asphalt road. He was conscious throughout most of the ordeal until his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his right arm and decapitating him.
The three men dumped their victim’s mutilated remains in front of an African-American church; then went to a barbecue. The following morning, Byrd’s limbs were found scattered across a seldom-used road. The police found 81 places that were littered with Byrd’s remains.
In response to these two brutal murders, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act, is an American Act of Congress, passed on October 22, 2009, and signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 28, 2009, This law expands the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
According to FBI statistics, of the over 113,000 hate crimes since 1991, 55% were motivated by racial bias, 17% by religious bias, 14% sexual orientation bias, 14% ethnicity bias, and 1% disability bias. Sexual orientation bias was found with the same frequency as ethnicity bias.
Gay men are 400 times more likely to become a victim of crime and hate crimes are shown to be more violent and severe. They more often involve prolonged attacks and multiple attackers, resulting in extensive injuries.
According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, hate-motivated violence against transgender people rose 13 percent last year, while the number of overall incidents of hate-motivated violence against LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, or Questioning) and the HIV-affected communities dropped 32 percent, compared with the previous year.
As reported by The Williams Institute, in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population has self-reported a suicide attempt, with that number climbing to between 10 and 20 percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual respondents. By comparison, 41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.
This weekend on The Joan Jerkovich Show we explore why people get ADDICTED. And, are our recovery programs effective? We also discuss GAY MARRIAGE and TRANSGENDER issues. Hot topics you’ll want to listen in to with “Your Life Coach” for “Empowering Talk Radio”!