Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crimes Increased in NYC Last Year

In one of 54 reported hate crimes targeting LGBTQ people in New York City last year, Rainbow Flags were set on fire at Alibi Lounge, a gay bar in Harlem.

The NYPD tallied 54 reported hate crimes last year targeting individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, marking a 20 percent increase from 2018.

Anti-LGBTQ bias incidents represented the second-largest share of hate crimes in the city in 2019, trailing only the growing epidemic of anti-Semitic crimes that continued to spike last year and represented the majority of bias incidents. There were 234 hate crime reports, or 55 percent of the overall total, targeting the city’s Jewish community. Forty-seven more anti-Semitic crimes were reported in 2019 than the previous year.

The 54 reports of hate crimes targeting LGBTQ folks made up 13 percent of hate crimes in 2019. There were also 37 hate crimes targeting Black people, representing nine percent of reported bias incidents, though there were seven fewer reports of anti-Black hate crimes in 2019 compared to 2018. Hate crimes targeting Muslims also dipped from 18 reports in 2018 to 14 last year.

Thirteen gender-related hate crimes were logged last year, but that should not be confused with hate crimes targeting people on the basis of gender identity because the NYPD classifies all crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity under the “sexual orientation” category.

“We will never tolerate hate in our city in any form,” NYPD spokesperson Jessica McRorie said in a written statement. “The NYPD has the largest Hate Crime Task Force in the country comprised of the best hate crime investigators that work tirelessly with our patrol officers, detective squads, and community leaders to vigorously investigate every reported hate crime.”

Anti-LGBTQ hate crime incidents surfaced across all five boroughs last year. Among the most recent cases came last month when 24-year-old immigrant Ronald Albarracin told Gay City News that assailants shouted anti-LGBTQ slurs before physically attacking him in Queens on December 8.

Meanwhile, in September, a gay couple was eating at Pollos Mario at 81-01 Roosevelt Avenue in Queens when they said they were attacked by homophobes. Earlier in the year, trans women Bianey Garcia and Norma Ureiro were victims of anti-LGBTQ slurs and pepper spray attacks in Jackson Heights the day before the culmination of citywide WorldPride festivities.

Among cases in the Bronx, cops said a man was at the East Tremont Avenue subway station in the Mount Hope section on November 15 when he was called homophobic slurs, beaten with a hammer, and tossed onto the train tracks.

In Manhattan, a strange story emerged in May and July featuring a man who was busted after cameras caught him lighting Rainbow Flags on fire on multiple occasions at Alibi Lounge, a Harlem gay bar.

A more disturbing case surfaced in Staten Island when a man was charged with multiple hate crimes when he sent racist and homophobic letters to multiple people in the borough, including Staten Island Pride Center executive director Carol Bullock, saying that “you and your sicko pals” should “be put out to pasture once and for all for the sake of mankind.”

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