LGBT homicide is a public health issue of a marginalized community and is often also the most extreme form of a bias-based attack. The impact of a LGBT homicide is felt far beyond the immediate family or friends of the victim. It typically has a terroristic effect on the larger LGBT community and its many members. In the wake of a LGBT homicide, members of the community perceive a greater threat to their personal safety and well-being. Many LGBT people become targets of harassment and threats by individuals bolstered by the initial event of LGBT homicide, thus setting a violent cycle of crime in motion.
Why Do We Study LGBT Homicides?
The Center for Homicide Research studies homicide in the LGBT community because it is not an isolated occurrence. Over the last three decades, thousands of LGBT people have been murdered in the U.S. Because these homicides are not understood, even among law enforcement, many cases remain unsolved. Because many of these cases go unsolved, the community remain at risk, and may not even recognize the danger.
The Center for Homicide Research studies homicide in the LGBT community because there is a need for education and advocacy. We are forging partnerships with agencies and individuals across the country. In order to understand, solve and prevent LGBT homicides, we need a comprehensive, collaborative approach that involves researchers, law enforcement, and LGBT advocates. We are training law enforcement, assisting with active and cold cases, and helping teach the next generation of leaders.
The Center for Homicide Research studies homicide in the LGBT community because our work is not yet complete. We have case files on more than 3,000 LGBT homicides with many more – thousands more – remaining largely unknown or forgotten. Without the attention and focus by the Center, many of these cases may remain unsolved.