Orlando Nightclub Shooting Highlights Violence Against the Gay Community


Orlando Nightclub Shooting Highlights Violence Against the Gay Community

What is known to be the worst mass shooting in American history, the gunman, identified as Omar Mateen of Ft. Pierce, Florida, took the lives of a minimum of 50 people. Early reports suggest at least another 50 wounded. News reports are identifying the location, the Pulse club, as a gay nightclub.

Multiple news reports will cover all aspects of this horrific crime, but what criminologists and the law enforcement community know is the high risk of day-to-day violent victimization for members of the LGBT community.

According to media reports, Mateen became enraged when he saw two men kissing.

Crimes against the LGBT community are known to be high, but the documentation of daily victimization is sorely lacking. As horrific as the shooting in Orlando is, it probably pales in comparison to the total yearly data.

Some have suggested that the LGBT community may have some of the highest rates of criminal victimization in the country.


“A new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Children’s Hospital Boston has found that gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals who have ever had a same-sex sex partner are one-and-a-half to two times as likely to experience violent events, especially in childhood, than the general population and have double the risk of experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a consequence of these events. It is the first study to directly link higher rates of PTSD in those four groups (classified as sexual minorities) to greater violence exposure.”


“Gay, lesbian, and bisexual men and women may have increased risk of being sexual assaulted compared to heterosexual people. Several factors could account for the higher risk, among them that these groups have fewer rights and are more discriminated against.

A new study led by School of Public Health researchers has found that across 75 different research reports, lesbian and bisexual women may be up to 3 times as likely as heterosexual women to report having been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and gay men appear to be about 15 times as likely as heterosexual men to report the same.”


“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continue to be killed because of who they are. A record 14 homicides of LGBT people have been reported so far in 2015, according to an open letter released Thursday by the Anti-Violence Project, an advocacy group that publishes an annual report on LGBT violence.

Half of the victims were transgender women of color, the AVP reported.

The circumstances of each death are different. Some victims were killed by domestic partners, others by complete strangers. But there is a thread of similarity running through the cases as well. According to AVP, around half of the slayings this year appear to be hate-motivated violence. In the case of the transgender victims, many are initially misidentified and mis-gendered by both police and media reports.”


For data on the historic rates of crime experienced by the LGBT community, see



Hate crime data:

Of the 5,922 single bias incidents reported, the top three bias categories were race (48.5 percent), sexual orientation (20.8 percent), and religion (17.4 percent).


Contact: crimeinamerica@gmail.com






  1. Tom Emory says:

    Is this what you got from this shooting? You’re an idiot. Gay was incidental but that’s the way the government and media will play it — a hate crime against gays by a domestic terrorist. Try this for size: An intentional slaughter of Americans by a radical Muslim tied so closely to his religious upbringing that a suicidal death while killing infidels is a blessed act. Get your head out of your rear.

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