More LGBT people have been killed in hate-violence-related homicides so far in 2017 than in all of 2016, according to data from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.
As of August 2017, there have been 33 hate-violence-related homicides of LGBT people. In 2016, there were 28 — that number excludes the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
The NCAVP’s tally is not definitive, but it’s the most comprehensive yearly indicator — in the absence of reliable nationwide government data — of how many homicides of LGBT people are being reported around the country. The organization gathers data from media reports, friends and family members of victims, and member organizations across the country.
Dallas Drake, senior researcher at the Center for Homicide Research, says that the rate of homicides of gay men and trans women are worth studying, but he said, the NCAVP is likely undercounting the real number.
“There are a lot more homicides of LGBT people than what they report,” Drake said. “They don’t report generally from communities that are smaller or where cases are not easily identifiable as LGBT homicides.”
Vanessa Panfil, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University in Virginia, said that an increase in violence is in line with a real backlash against progress made on LGBT rights in recent years.
That backlash, she says, has been encouraged in part by the Trump administration walking back Obama-era guidances and policies that were LGBT-inclusive.