Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 46, Ed. 1 Friday, March 13, 1998 Page: 11 of 72
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ditionally spikes each year in June,
most likely as a result of a backlash of
anti-gay sentiment in response to the
community's increased visibility dur-
ing Gay Pride Month activities,
Montgomery noted. In 1997, however,
NCAVP organizations also recorded an
alarming spike in such crimes during
March and April.
That increase, which almost matched
the expected increase in June, was like-
ly precipitated by the "tidal wave of
publicity" surrounding actress Ellen
DeGeneres' coming out in the pages of
Time magazine, and the coming out of
her character Ellen Morgan on the ABC
While placing part of the blame on
the shoulders of religious right leaders
who condemned DeGeneres and ABC,
Montgomery noted that NCAVP had
recorded a similar response to the
"intense public debate" surrounding
the issue of gays in the military in 1992
"In terms of national discussions,
whether they are political or cultural,
any time there is a strong, positive [gay]
voice being heard, we see this kind of
backlash," he said.
The NCAVP report recorded a 36
percent increase in serial events,
defined as continuous violence and
harassment by one offender against a
single victim over a period of time.
Such offenses, Montgomery noted, fre-
quently occur in and around the vic-
tim's home, community or workplace,
and the perpetrator usually is known to
"Regrettably, our work . . . has
shown that law enforcement often fails
to intervene on behalf of victims in
these serial situations, claiming these
incidents are simply 'neighborhood dis-
putes,"' Montgomery said. "In most
serial incidents, however, the violence
tends to spiral out of control and the
victim is left helpless as the criminal
justice system remains unresponsive."
Another notable change in 1997,
Montgomery continued, was the 36
percent increase in the number of het-
erosexuals reporting that they were the
victims of anti-gay crime, underscoring
the fact that "hate crimes are crimes of
perception," Montgomery pointed out.
"Victims are chosen not necessarily
because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgendered or HIV positive, but
because the perpetrator perceives them
to be," he said. "These statistics send a
clear, unambiguous message that no
one is safe from hate crimes, and that it
is in everyone's interest to stop this epi-
demic of hate."
Other findings included in the report
showed a 34 percent increase in hate
violence in schools and colleges. The
number of victims under age 18
increased by 37 percent, while violence
against those in the 18 to 22 age group
was up 35 percent. Of the total number
of offenders whose age was reported,
The widespread publicity given the
coming-out of Ellen DeGeneres (pic-
tured) may have stimulated an
increase in crimes against gays, an
anti-violence official said.
43 percent were under age 22.
The report shows a 67 percent
increase in bomb threats or bombings
against gays and gay establishments,
not including the highly-publicized
bombing of an Atlanta lesbian bar, and
a 33 percent increase in extortion or
Despite these increases,
Montgomery said, incidents of anti-gay
violence still remains largely unreport-
ed, due to victims being closeted or
afraid of how they might be treated by
law enforcement officials.
He added that NCAVP expects the
level of violence against the gay and
lesbian community to escalate as the
community continues to draw media
attention. He also pointed to the "rise in
the use of the internet" which has pro-
vided "a new and powerful vehicle for
bigots to spread their hateful views and
promote more violence."
According to a recently released
report by the Southern Poverty Law
Center, which monitors hate groups in
the U.S., the number of such groups in
the country increased in 1997 by an
estimated 20 percent.
SPLC's report indicates that 474 hate
groups and chapters of those groups
were involved in racist behavior in
1997. The organization has recorded
163 neo-Nazi groups with web sites on
the internet, and a booming business
for hate-oriented music labels.
Montgomery said, "This kind of
activity is much more prevalent than
most people think. And these organiza-
tions' agendas aren't just about racism
and anti-Semitism. They are most cer-
tainly anti-gay as well. It all comes out
of the same pot.
"Bias crime is still a severe cancer in
this country, and anti-gay and lesbian
crime is a significant part of that," he
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 46, Ed. 1 Friday, March 13, 1998, newspaper, March 13, 1998; Dallas, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616063/m1/11/: accessed April 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.