While hate crimes dropped overall in Los Angeles County last year, bias
crimes against LGBT residents has increased, according to
a new report.
Prompted by the Proposition 8 ballot initiative, hate
gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people went up from 111incidents in
2007 to 134 in 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"Antigay and antitransgender hate crimes do not happen in a vacuum," said Lorri Jean, chief executive of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. "They happen in the context of a society that still tolerates and even promotes discrimination against us."
Robin Toma of the county's Human Relations Commission said that the numbers highlight the importance of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, recently signed into law by President Obama.
And while racially motivated hate crimes are down overall, African-Americans still bear the brunt of them. According to the report, hate crimes against black Angelenos represented 61% of such acts, while blacks make up only 9% of the county's population.