Homophobia Is a Health Issue
The number of hate crimes against lesbian and gay Americans is rising.
  • Physical assaults/objects thrown are up 12 percent from 1993 to 1994
  • police verbal/physical abuse is up 25 percent from 1993 to 1994
  • sexual assaults are up 47 percent from 1993 to 1994

    Nine cites reported 4,195 anti-gay and lesbian crimes in 1994.
    The count from Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Minnesota/St. Paul, New York, Portland and San Francisco included:

  • 22 murders
  • 841 cases of physical assault/objects thrown
  • 81 incidents of sexual assault
  • 1,863 reports of harassment
  • 634 instances of threats of menacing
  • 238 instances of police verbal/physical abuse

    The attacks are particularly violent.
    Nationally, 43 percent of the incidents involved physical assaults. The level of injury to victims was extremely high:

  • 62 percent of these victims were injured
  • 35 percent required outpatient medical treatment or hospitalization
  • 3 percent resulted in death

    What is the effect of homophobia?

  • In a study of 686 gay men, 337 heterosexual men, 293 lesbian women, and 140 heterosexual women - 35% of gay men and 38% of lesbian women considered suicide. 8% gay men and 23% lesbian women had attempted - compared to only 3% heterosexual men and 14% heterosexual women. The majority of the suicide attempts were before the age of 20, nearly 1/3 of all attempts were before age 17.
  • In a study of homeless youth entering a shelter, 65% of the gay youth had attempted suicide as compared to 19% of the heterosexual youth.
  • In a study of 137 gay and bisexual males, 41 had attempted suicide (31%). 18 made multiple attempts. The mean age of those attempting was 15.5 years old.
  • In a study on gay male and lesbian youth suicide, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found lesbian and gay youth are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth and account for up to 30 percent of all completed teen suicides.