All people should feel safe in their homes, schools and communities. Sadly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and / or queer (LGBTQ+) people face higher risk of becoming victims of gun violence. Read our statement on the recent mass shooting at Club Q, in Colorado Springs.
Unfortunately, discrimination and historical lack of tracking of sexual orientation and gender identity make it impossible to understand the full loss of life due to violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community. However, as more data is being collected in recent years, some very dangerous trends are emerging.
Even with generational shifts in acceptance, LGBTQ+ students and young people are victimized by gun violence at higher rates. Here are the facts:
Mass Shootings, Violence, and Hate Crimes Involving LGBTQ+ Victims
1. The massacre at Pulse Night Club, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was the second worst gun violence attack in American history. 49 people were murdered as they peacefully joined together in community and to dance.1 The shooter used an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine. The victims and survivors were predominantly Latinx LGBTQ+ people.
2. LGBTQ+ people are more than twice as likely to be a victim of gun violence than their cisgender and straight peers (4.6 v 11.5 per 1,000).2
3. Additionally, nearly 20% of all hate crimes are motivated by sexual orientation and / or gender identity bias.3 Guns can make these crimes all the more deadly. In fact, nearly 8 in 10 homicides of Black trans women are by a gun.4
School Violence and LGBTQ+ Discrimination Are Connected
LGBTQ+ youth disproportionately face violence at school:
4. Notably, 29% of transgender youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of cisgender youth.5
5. Markedly, 16% of gay and lesbian youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, compared to 7% of straight youth. More than 10% of bisexual youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon at school. 5
6. LGBTQ+ students face bullying at more than double the rate of others. 43% of transgender youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 18% of cisgender youth. 5
7. Bullying rates also show disparity. 29% of gay or lesbian youth have been bullied on school property, compared to 17% of straight youth. 5
What You Can Do to Help
People who hurt themselves or others often show warning signs before they carry out an act of violence. If you don’t know what to look for, it can be easy to miss the signs, or dismiss them as unimportant.
Real change in how America approaches gun reform and school safety isn’t possible without people like you. Because of supporters, activists, and volunteers, lives are being saved. Get involved and make a difference.
Sources of Facts and Statistics About the Impact of Gun Violence on LGBTQ+ People
- Orlando Sentinel
- National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Human Rights Campaign: Pulse 4 Years Later
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Source of data analysis: Human Rights Campaign