July 2, 2007

Anti-Gay Crimes Widespread, Research Finds

Nearly four in 10 gay men and about one in eight lesbians and bisexuals in the United States have been the target of violence or a property crime because of their sexual orientation.

That is according to the most comprehensive study to date, with a randomly selected, nationally representative sample of 662 adults. Previous studies have relied on samples that were smaller or not representative of the U.S. population.

The study is by Gregory Herek, a widely respected scholar on antigay violence and a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis. It will be published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

About one-fifth of the survey respondents reported being the victim of violence or a property crime because of their sexual orientation. Almost half said they had been verbally abused because of their sexual orientation, 23 percent reported being threatened with violence, 12.5 percent reported having objects thrown at them, and 11 percent reported housing or job discrimination.

"These data highlight the continuing need for criminal justice programs to prevent and deter anti-gay crimes, as well as the need for victim services that will help to alleviate the physical, economic, social andpsychological consequences of such crimes," Herek said in a press release from UC Davis.

Visit Dr. Herek's blog for more details on the study.