LGBT undocumented immigrants face an increased risk of hate violence

Published: June 10, 2014

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, or NCAVP—a group of organizations dedicated to ending all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, and HIV-affected communities—recently released its report on hate violence in 2013 against these communities. Last year was the first year that NCAVP had a large enough sample size of LGBT and HIV-affected undocumented people to produce statistically relevant findings.

These findings show that while 2013 was a pivotal year for same-sex marriage rights—with significant victories at the state level and in the U.S. Supreme Court—homophobia and transphobia still put the safety and lives of LGBT people at risk on a daily basis.

In its study, NCAVP analyzed 2,001 reported incidents of anti-LGBT violence and violence against HIV-affected people in 2013. Since this was not a prevalence study, its findings are limited to this sample. NCAVP found that rates of violence against LGBT and HIV-affected people remained consistent; however, it found a 21 percent increase in physical hate violence. Those at greatest risk of severe forms of violence include transgender people, people of color, gay men, and LGBT undocumented people. According to a Center for American Progress interview with Osman Ahmed, NCAVP’s research and education coordinator, “There is a disproportional aspect of hate violence; it always targets the more marginalized communities.”

The Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that there are at least 267,000 LGBT-identified adult undocumented immigrants living in the United States. Living at the intersection of two marginalized groups—the LGBT population and the undocumented population—makes these individuals particularly vulnerable. They face numerous challenges due to their lack of legal status, including employment insecurity, wage and income disparities, and health inequities. Furthermore, they face bias and discrimination because of their LGBT and immigration status.

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