[Press release: New report shows violence and victimization against lesbians and gay men surges in key U.S. cities] Page: 3 of 16
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The 1991 Report/Anti-Gay Backlash
This year's report focuses on trends in five key U.S. urban
areas with professionally staffed gay/lesbian victim assistance
agencies. However, the geographic and cultural diversity of the
areas, combined with prevalence studies and reports from
additional cities, "means it is likely that other U.S. urban
areas, and perhaps suburban and rural communities, are
experiencing a similar surge," said Berrill.
Berrill noted that the rise in documented anti-gay episodes
reflects a variety of factors, including greater outreach to
victims by local agencies and greater levels of reporting by
victims. "It is likely, however, that the rising numbers
indicate that the problem has intensified. A major factor has to
be the increasingly violent backlash against growing gay
visibility -- a visibility that ironically has garnered
additional political power for gays."
A total of 1,822 incidents were reported to agencies in the
five key cities. The New York City area recorded 592 incidents,
the highest number of episodes, followed by 473 in San Francisco;
338 in Minneapolis/St. Paul; 210 in Chicago; and 209 in Boston.
Because of underreporting by victims, it is estimated these
figures reflect a fraction of the actual number of incidents.
Compared to 1990, reported anti-gay incidents increased in
1991 by six percent in Chicago; 11 percent in San Francisco, 17
percent in New York City, 42 percent in the Boston area and 202
percent in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Combined, episodes rose 31
percent over 1990's total of 1,389 in the cities. Taken
together, the number of anti-gay incidents in the cities has
increased 161 percent since 1988, the year several of the
agencies began monitoring attacks.
Physical assaults climbed 15 percent to 775 incidents;
police abuse jumped 29 percent to 146; and vandalism surged 51
percent to 125. Anti-gay homicides went from three in 1990 to
eight in 1991. Threats and harassment were the most frequently
reported offenses, with 1,255 total episodes recorded. In
addition, 52 incidents of robbery and extortion, six bomb threats
and four acts of arson were reported.
The incidents were directed at a total of 2,117 individuals,
of whom 1,634 were male (77 percent); 450 (21 percent) female; 12
(1 percent) transsexual and 21 (1 percent) "unknown." In
addition, 88 gay and lesbian institutions were targeted.
AIDS bias continues to be a factor in many of the anti-gay
attacks. Among the incidents documented last year, 223, or 12
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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (U.S.). [Press release: New report shows violence and victimization against lesbians and gay men surges in key U.S. cities], text, March 19, 1992; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc916298/m1/3/: accessed January 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.