All social change occurs as a result of a dialectic and equal rights for the gay community is sadly no different. On Friday night New York City may have experienced yet another hate crime against its gay community when Elliot Morales allegedly shot and killed Marc Carson, a 32-year-old gay man in Greenwich Village.
The recent wave of marriage equality has also exposed the dark side of homophobia as anti-gay hate crimes are rising.
The crazed suspect allegedly shouted homophobic slurs at the victim and a friend who was not hurt, and asked them if they were "gay wrestlers" because of their tank tops and cutoff shorts. The suspect then asked the victim if he wanted to die there and took out a .38 caliber gun and shot at the victim. This was New York City's 23rd incident so far this year, a stark increase from thirteen incidents during the same period in 2012.
The correlation of expanding equal rights for the gay community and the increase in reported hate crimes is unmistakable. The number of hate crimes against the LGBT community surpassed crimes based on religion in the U.S. according to the FBI. This is despite a national decrease in the overall number of hate crimes in the country. The 20.8% of hate crimes based on sexuality increased by 3% since 2008 and by 5% since 2006.
During this same period marriage equality has made tremendous strides in cultural and social acceptance, and has been written into law in twelve states starting with Massachusetts in 2004.
Equality for LGBT individuals has been a centerpiece of American politics in the last decade and as a result we're witnessing increased aggression and intolerance by extreme elements. More people now support marriage equality than ever before but that hasn't stopped major cultural organizations like the Catholic Church or the Republican Party to firmly oppose marriage equality based on morality principles rooted in pseudo-religious biases.
These numerical increases could also be a factor of people actually reporting attacks against LGBT individuals as motivated by bias against homosexuality. Regardless the statistics are very troubling. We are witnessing the reactionary elements of society that are threatened by social change and require intense media and sociocultural reflection. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was proof that societal behavior is not enough to change just by enacting laws.
There also appears a troubling trend towards violence against homosexual men and transgender women (men who identify as women) over other members of the LGBT community. More than half of the hate crimes based on homosexual bias were overwhelmingly against homosexual males, and transgender women were 40% of the reported hate crime murders. These statistics reveal a dire need for education and information campaigns to help dissuade aggression against the perceived notion of weakness in homosexual men or transgender women.
Hopefully this is simply a natural progression of human history and is likely to result in an accepting world so that crazy kids like Saturday Night Live's "New Jersey Gay Couple" can feel safe walking around New York City again: