LGBT hate crimes up 40 percent, group says
More people are being attacked, beaten or threatened in the District this year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The DC group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence reports hate crimes are a growing trend in the district. It’s a reality for Northwest DC resident Matthew Corso who became the victim of a hate crime in July 2008 while walking to a friend’s house. He doesn’t remember the attack.
“My first memory was when I woke up when they were putting me on the stretcher onto the ambulance,” Corso said.
The physical damage was extensive and Corso spent six days recovering in a DC hospital.
"I essentially had my jaw wired shut for two and a half months,” Corso said.
This is the first time he's spoken publically about becoming the victim of a hate crime.
“I might have recovered physically but it took me many more months to recover psychologically,” Corso said. “I talked to a counselor.”
Video recently posted online of the beating of a transgendered individual in a Baltimore County McDonald’s is bringing attention to the growing issue of hate crimes.
“That person was just doing their own thing, they were just going about their own business and were attacked for who they are,” Corso said.
The District’s Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence reports a 40 percent increase in LGBT hate crimes this year, according to numbers from the Metropolitan Police. In 2009, there were 41 hate crimes committed in DC. 73 percent of the victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation.
“I think every hate crime is a big deal, whether it's an increase in small numbers or more, it's extremely important,” said GLOV Vice Chair Hassan Naveed.
GLOV is trying to sign up more members to handle increasing needs like victim assistance. They are reaching out to everyone, because hate crimes are crimes of perception.
“A person may or may not be gay or lesbian or transgendered, but if someone thinks they are, they're going to go after them,” Corso said.
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