Essay on Rise of Hate Crimes: Examining Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation Bias

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  638 Words
Date:  2023-05-30

Hatred-driven crimes on lines of; gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, race, etc. have been on the rise in recent years. The paper aims to expound on the number of hate crimes motivated by; sexual orientation bias, gender identity bias and provide statistical detail concerning the two categories. It also highlights the general causes of these hate crimes, according to Dr. Jana Bufkin (Bufkin, 1999). In particular, the murder of Larry King (using examples from the film) and other hate crimes such as; Brandon Teena.

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According to the source, the records on hate crimes on sexual orientation bias show a total of; 1196 (incidents), 1404(offenses), 1445(victims), and 1268(known offenders). As for those on gender identity bias, there were; 168(incidents), 184(offenses), 189(victims), and 180(known offenders). Note that, a victim(s) is either a natural (human being) or a legal person (organization, corporation, religious group, etc.). 'Known offenders' does not mean the suspect's identity is fully known, but rather an aspect of the suspect is known. It could be; height, complexion, hair or eye color, or body features (tattoos, pointed nose, etc.).

Dr. Jana Bufkin, an associate professor in criminology and criminal justice at Drury University, gives her educated guess on the general causes of these hate crimes. From her writings, one primary reason in general is; lack of awareness (ignorance) and appreciation for people of different; gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. Between 1880-1930, in 10 of North America's Southern States, natives perceived any non-white person as inferior to them, which led to the killing and enslavement of black Americans and Whites too by a hate-driven white mob. At least 2800 fatalities reported.

Another reason could be mental health. 15 year old, Lawrence 'Larry' King until his death on was a student at a Junior High school in Oxnard, California. On February 11th, 2008, Larry was shot in the head at close-range by a fellow student, 14-year old Brandon McLnerley. He had a troublesome childhood as his father abandoned them, and his mother was a drug addict. He developed ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), a mental disorder characterized by; defiant behavior regardless of consequences and difficulty paying attention.

Unsurprisingly, Larry also developed gender-variant tendencies; dressing effeminately to school and asking people to refer him as; Leticia, a girl's name. The Shooter, Brandon, was white while Larry was Brown by skin color. An investigation on Brandon's Home revealed 15 guns and some materials related to Nazi and White Supremacy. Though during the trial in court, the possibility that the killing was on lines of racial bias was ignored.

A defense was mounted that Brandon was acting in reaction 'unacceptable behavior' of a fellow student. The behavior of gender variance. A biographical movie, 'Boys, don't cry,' depicts the tragic story of Brandon Teena, a transgender person. He was discriminated against for most of his life because he was transgender, something society did not 'approve.' His life came to a tragic end when John Lotter and Thomas Nissen gang-raped him. He was on reporting to the police, the two men retaliated by killing him and two others, Lambert and Phillip, to remove possible witnesses.

The stories show that society has not learned to accept diversity, even one that deviates from what is known as ordinary, e.g., transgender people. Such are often maligned as 'impure or alien' to society that they cannot stay among society and have lesser entitlement to rights and freedoms. Like the Right to Privacy (when Brandon is forcefully undressed) or Freedom of Expression (where Larry is discriminated against for identifying as a female).


In conclusion, it is safe to say that some questions have no definite answer. There are many intertwining reasons why hate crimes occur-ranging from ignorance and lack of awareness to misconceptions about unordinary people and mental health issues.


Bufkin, J. L. (1999). Bias crime as gendered behavior. Social Justice, 26(1 (75), 155-176.

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Essay on Rise of Hate Crimes: Examining Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation Bias. (2023, May 30). Retrieved from

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