Yesterday the New York City Councils Committee on Civil Rights held a hearing to hear from community and experts on the raise in the number of hate/bias attacks on the LGBT community over the past year of 2013. The community gave the members many suggestions and ideas for the prevision and statics regarding LGBT hate crimes in the LGBT community. I also took the time to go before the members of the council to put forward some of my own ideas for ending the violence against the community.
Good Afternoon Chairperson Rose, Council members Chin, Van Bramer and Dromm
It is a great honor and privilege to be here today and speak to you on behalf of the organization Queer Empowerment, as I am their Community Liaison. I am also sitting before you as an open and out spoken transgender man who was the victim of a hate crime in July of 2012, but also one who has taken the time to let those around me learn and ask questions as I go through this transition process in front of many members of the in the New York City Council that I have done work with in the past two years.
The Queer Empowerment Project serves the LGBTQ community, with a special focus on the needs of people from traditionally oppressed and marginalized communities. The goal of The Queer Empowerment Project is to empower and encourage all LGBTQ people to find their collective power in fighting and advocating for social change.
This summer, New York City had another “Summer of Hate” including the deaths of both 20-year-old transwomen Islan Nettles, and gay man Matthew Carson. In 2013 68 anti-gay incidents have happened as of September. In 2012 the entire year had 54 hate crimes…I am counted as one of those 54 hate crimes in 2012.
The outreach done after these attacks and vigils for the victims needs to continue
My attacker was never caught; he is still on the streets of New York City. He could do it again, but we need to take steps that are proactive so people are better educated on our communities so that our youth don’t start down the path of hate.
We need to educate them on LGBT history, gender identity and expression, and that we all aren’t cookie cutter molds of who we are supposed to be or what society believes we should be.
The people who do commit this crimes need to be hold accountable and often never are apphrended by the NYPD, but those who are need to face harsh penalties and realities for those crimes.
The NYPD often has trouble finding and prosecuting many of the people who commit these crimes, but those we do catch we need to make a example of them and make sure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The members of Queer Empowerment are asking the committee on Civil Rights too explore the idea of a Hate Crime Offenders list not for just LGBTQ hate crimes, but for all hate crimes and bias attacks within the City of New York. We need to know what kind of people live in our area and if our communities are not going to endanger our safety or the safety of people visiting our communities.
We are also pushing for more education for youth in schools incorporated in the curriculum so students can learn to relate and understand each other better.