Record numbers of hate-based LGBTI murders

Image from the 2017 "Crisis of Hate" report from the Anti-Violence Project.
Image from the “Crisis of Hate” report from the Anti-Violence Project.

In the Americas, the pace of hate-based killings of LGBTI people is soaring — up 86 percent in the United States and up 30 percent in Brazil, according to new reports.

Below are the latest updates to this blog’s horrifying yet far-from-complete tally of hate-based murders of LGBTI people, “1000s who died in anti-gay, anti-trans attacks.”  That tally and this article include reports on countries outside this blog’s usual coverage area, which is typically limited to the 76+ countries with anti-LGBT laws. This article includes information from an Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI news.

UNITED STATES: 86% increase in hate-based murders

In the United States, comparing 2017 and 2016, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported an increase of 86 percent in the hate-based murders of LGBTQ people, excluding the 49 murders in the Pulse nightclub shooting of June 2016. The majority of victims were people of color.

The total of 52 LGTBQ hate-based homicides in 2017 ― an average of one each week — was the highest ever, according to the coalition report.

Victims’ sexual orientation is a factor in about 20 percent of all hate crimes in the United States, according to the FBI.

BRAZIL: 30% increase in hate-based murders

A report by Grupo Gay da Bahia found that Brazil’s number of reported deaths rose in 2017 to a record level: 435, a rate of one LGBT person killed every 19 hours. That’s up 30 percent from 2016.

Grupo Gay is not the only organization reporting high murder rates of LBGT people.  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights documented 770 killings and seriously violent attacks against LGBT persons between Jan. 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, including 594 hate-related killings of LGBTI people in Brazil. At that time, the IACHR cited reports indicating that every 28 hours an LGBT person is violently attacked in Brazil. Then the pace of killings rose even higher.

Luiz Mott, an anthropologist and president of Grupo Gay, said the rising violence owed much to the prominence of ultraconservative politicians, many of whom are linked to the country’s powerful evangelical caucus in congress.

“It’s a discourse that destroys solidarity and equates LGBT people to animals,” he said.

TV programs linked to evangelical churches often compare homosexuality to the devil, she said.

Four murder victims and two murder suspects in December 2017 slayings in Troy, New York, USA. (Photos courtesy of
Four murder victims and two murder suspects in December 2017 slayings in Troy, New York, USA. (Photos courtesy of

Six murders in South Africa, Brazil and Troy, N.Y, USA

In January 2018, LGBulleTIn reported on six murders in three countries, including the murder of an entire household led by two lesbians in New York State. In that case, the motive for the slaying was unclear.
Four members of a rainbow family were murdered in their Troy, NY home, in a crime the local police chief described as the worst he had seen in more than 40 years in law enforcement.

Thirty-six-year-old Shanta Myers, her 22-year-old partner Brandi Mells, and Myers’ 11-year-old son Jeremiah and five-year-old daughter Shanise were found dead in their apartment the day after Christmas. Two blades were found at the crime scene, and the bodies of all the victims showed severe signs of violence.

The couple had recently moved in together, and were reportedly engaged.  … As the local community gathered together to mourn the victims, two suspects were arrested on murder charges, and pleaded not guilty. Police, however, were quoted as saying they were confident that there would be no further arrests. The motive of the crime remains unknown.

Tragically, this family were not the only members of the rainbow community worldwide that were lost to violence in the past few weeks. The charred body of a homeless gay man, known as Alexander, was found in an abandoned parking lot in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A few days later, a young out lesbian woman was stabbed to death during an altercation, allegedly related to her sexual orientation, during a party in South Africa. Her name was Noxolo Mabona, known by many as Noxie.


Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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