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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines violence as the threatened or actual use of physical force or power against another person, against oneself, or against a group or community that either results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, or deprivation. Violence can also be categorized in three forms, interpersonal, self-directed and collective violence.[i] Interpersonal violence is further divided into two subcategories: family/intimate partner violence (i.e. the abuse of a child, intimate partner or elder individual) and community violence, which can be deemed as violence toward an acquaintance or stranger.

Self-directed violence is classified as violence toward the self, such as suicidal behavior or self-abuse. Lastly, collective violence occurs between groups, such as political, economic or social parties--who are trying to achieve an objective--where when individuals commit violence, they see themselves as part of a larger group.


Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals (LGBT) is defined as those who do not identify within that group, and may see LGBT people as violating heteronormative ideals. The violence may stem from culture, political views or religious affiliation, and can include verbal abuse, threats, bullying and harassment. In the most extreme form, violence towards this demographic can result in physical assault or even murder.[ii] This form of hatred can be classified as hate crimes, which are criminal actions that intend to harm or intimidate people who have different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or other minority group status. These hate crimes can be carried out by organized groups or by individuals with intent to send messages, inflict pain or intimidate/instill fear in a community, and usually involve to parties who are unfamiliar with each other--perfect strangers. Hate crimes are not a normal phenomenon and required a special governmental response.[iii]


LGBT violence can also be seen within youth populations. Hunter and Hillary, coauthors of "Under Attack: Emotional Abuse and Violence Against LGBT Youth in America's Homes and Public Schools," noted that violence towards this demographic ranges from hitting, kicking, stealing, breaking belongs and even more extremes acts, such as rape and being doused in chemicals.[iv] It is vital to note that violence towards LGBT people is not a new phenomenon, but a social problem, much like the concerns of violence against women, children, and ethnic/racial groups. [v]





[i] World report on violence and health: summary. World Health Organization Geneva 2002. ISBN 92 4 154562 3 (NLM classification: HV 6625


[ii] Violence Prevention Today. No. 2. Violence Against. Lesbians and. Gay Men. Gail Mason. November 1993. General Editor: Duncan Chappell


[iii] Herek, Gregory M. And Kevin T. Berrill. (1992). Hate Crimes: Confronting Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.


[iv] Darline Hunter, Under Attack: Emotional Abuse and Violence Against GLBT Youth in America's Homes and Public Schools, available at:


[v] Herek, Gregory M. And Kevin T. Berrill. (1992). Hate Crimes: Confronting Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.


Magnitude of Non-fatal Violence Against LGBT Youth

Unfortunately, reality makes all lesbians and gays targets to this form of hatred. According to a 2004 FBI report, 15.6% of hate crimes reported to police involve sexual orientation, which can be broken down into 61% against gay men, 14% against lesbians, 2% against heterosexuals and 1% against bisexuals.[i] The FBI further reported that hate crimes against gay men increased 2% from 2005 (14%) to 2006 (16%). Hate crimes based on sexual orientation are the third most common type, behind race and religion. In addition, a campus survey conducted by the FBI detailed that 61% of gay/lesbian respondents feared for their safety, as their orientation would be used as a reason for violence. [ii]


According to the 2003 National School Climate Survey, GLBT students are more likely to be victims of hate crimes and assaults.[iii] The survey detailed that 39% of LGBT students have experienced physical assaults due to their sexual orientations and 57% have had property stolen or deliberately damaged during school hours. Further, 84% students have been verbally assaulted due to their sexual orientation, 91% frequently heard homophobic remarks and 82% reported that faculty or staff have ignored them during the time of an assault.


The "Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network," an organization that aims to educate students, parents and teacher about GLBT related issues, conducted a survey in 2003 that showed 64% of LGBT students felt unsafe at school because their sexual orientations and 28% were often absent at least one day from school due to those fears. The survey alarmingly highlighted that verbal, sexual and physical abuse is a common experience for many LGBT youth.[iv] Middle and high school students who identify or are perceived as LGBT can be deemed a high-risk population, where they may be assaulted or harassed by other students/school staff. The abuse drives some of the most talented students to dropping classes, becoming truant or running away from school. [v] All these alarming statistic show that school has the obligation to support LGBT students and provide accurate information to all students regardless of their sexual orientations.



[i] Hate Crime - Crime in the United States 2004 , available at:


[ii] FBI shows gay-bashing increase in 2006, available at:


[iii] Kosciw, J.G. (2004). The 2003 National School Climate Survey: The school-related experiences of our nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. New York: GLSEN.


[iv] Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. (2003). The 2003 national school climate survey: The school related experiences of our nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth


[v] Darline Hunter, Under Attack: Emotional Abuse and Violence Against GLBT Youth in America's Homes and Public Schools, available at:


Potential Risk Factors

Age and Gender


Research shows that younger males commit most anti-LGBT acts of violence, where  about one-half of perpetrators are 21 years old or younger. [i] A New South Wales study showed that 94% of perpetrators were males, 83% were less than 25 years old and 93% of the victims and perpetrators were strangers.[ii]


When a man who self-identifies as homosexual at a younger age, the probability of him to be a target of perpetrators increases.[iii] Thus, younger gay males are more likely to not only be targets, but also the targets of their peer groups.[iv] In a 2004 study conducted by David M. Huebner entitled, "Experiences of Harassment, Discrimination and Physical Violence Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men," young gay and bisexual men may be targeted due to their vulnerable nature.[v] However, the character of perpetrator toward to lesbian is different than anti-gay, the perpetrators tend to be an older men who is acquainted with the women. [vi]




Race and ethnicity difference can also be viewed as a risk factor. According to 2003 survey, 44.7% students of color were being verbally harassed because of both sexual orientation and their race/ethnicity. [vii]


Ill-education regarding the relationship between HIV/AIDS and LGBT people


A national study on adolescent health detailed that LGBT students engage in high-risk sexual behavior and see higher rates of HIV infections and suicide, compared to their heterosexual counterparts.[viii] This statistic often fuels further discrimination towards GLBT individuals, who are often regarded as highly sexual and promiscuous individuals, passing the HIV/AIDS virus between partners.



Countries like Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen view consensual sexual acts between two partners of the same sex as a capital sin.[ix] For example, in the country of Iran, homosexuality is a crime and would be punished by death under the country's theocratic Islamic government, and any type of sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is forbidden.[x]

[i] Herek, Gregory M. And Kevin T. Berrill. (1992). Hate Crimes: Confronting Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.


[ii] Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project 1992, The Off Our BacksReport: A Study into Anti-Lesbian Violence, Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, New South Wales.


[iii] Levitt HM, Horne SG. Explorations of lesbian-queer genders: butch, femme, androgynous or "other." J Lesbian Stud. 2002;6:25-39


[iv] Comstock GD. Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men. New York, NY: Columbia University Press; 1991.


[v] David M. Huebner, Gregory M. Rebchook, Susan M. Kegeles, Experiences of Harassment, Discrimination, and Physical Violence Among Young Gay and Bisexual Men, Am J Public Health. 2004 July; 94(7): 1200-1203.


[vi] Herek, Gregory M. And Kevin T. Berrill. (1992). Hate Crimes: Confronting Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.


[vii] Kosciw, J.G. (2004). The 2003 National School Climate Survey: The school-related experiences of our nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. New York: GLSEN.


[viii] Sathrum, P. (2001, March). When kids don't have a straight answer: a discussion of pressures faced by gay and lesbian children. NEA Today, 19(6). 34(1).


[ix] World Day against Death Penalty. Available at:


[x] Anne Penketh, Brutal land where homosexuality is punishable by death, available at



LGBT students are feeling insecure and may form maladaptive coping strategies due to lack of support. Many may feel ignored and unsupported by staff or administration in school or by family members. The most common side effect of this abuse can be seen through psychological issues. Feeling of rejection, abandonment, humiliation, the loss of self-esteem and an unwillingness to further their educations are common happenings within this population. Long-term effects can be seen through depression, self-harm, fear of strangers, anxiety personality, psychosomatic disorders, eating disorders and agoraphobia. [i]

LGBT students have higher levels of stress, greater use of drugs and alcohol and a higher rate of suicide. A national study found that 20% of LGBT students have attempted suicide more than once in their youth years, and this statistic constitutes of more than half among all youth suicides. [ii]

[i] Darline Hunter, Under Attack: Emotional Abuse and Violence Against GLBT Youth in America's Homes and Public Schools, available at:


[ii] Sathrum, P. (2001, March). When kids don't have a straight answer: a discussion of pressures faced by gay and lesbian children. NEA Today, 19(6). 34(1).


The Role of Legislations

The statute is provided for protection from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.


Minnesota State Law

The Minnesota statute addresses the discrimination issue in the definitional section of the human rights law. The Human Rights Act protects sexual orientation in every area including employment, hosing, public accommodations, public services and education.

Minn. Stat. Ann. § 363.01, Subd. 45 gave a definition, which indicates "'Sexual orientation' means having or being perceived as having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's biological maleness or femaleness." Sexual orientation is not only referring to individuals who are gay or lesbian, but also for those who are perceived to be so. [i]


Students who identify or are perceived to LGBT is a high-risk population involved in harassment events. It is important to working on state laws to protect LGBT students from discrimination in school.

[i] Minnesota Department of Human Rights- Sexual Orientation and the MHRA


Federal law

Under Title IX of the federal Education Amendment Acts of 1972, all students have the rights to be equally protected from sex discrimination in any educational institution which is receiving funds. Further, students have the rights to open their gender identity and sexual orientation. Schools cannot ignore and should protect LGBT students from assault, harassment.[i]


[i] United States Department of Labor- Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management, Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972

Haddon Matrix and Haddon's 10 Strategies

The Haddon Matrix and Haddon's 10 Strategies are two complementary frameworks to understand how injury occurs and enable development of interventions to prevent injury occur.

Haddon Matrix

Haddon matrix has been used to conceptualize etiologic factors for injury and to identify potential preventive strategies. This model not only can be used for guiding epidemiologic research but also for developing interventions.[i]


The columns consist of three potential factors: host, agent/vehicle and environment, and the three different phases are found in rows, which indicate the influences (pre-event, event, and post-event).



Haddon's matrix for violence against LGBT:










Stay alert and identify potential violent individuals and groups. Awareness is the best self-defense.

Carrying a whistle/ reduce access to weapons.


Educate people to respect others' sexual orientation.




Using self-protection measures or walks closer to traffic when confronted by violent people.

Reduce lethality of weapons.

Provide adequate security backup for threatened people.


Develop plan for responding to violence.



Get medical attention for any injuries.


Report an incident of violence, so it can be documented as a social issue.

Improve the ability to trace firearms and apprehend suspects.


Provide crisis intervention counseling after assault events.

Provide adequate security backup for threatened people, and provide acute and long-term medical/mental care and counseling services.






[i] Runyan, Introduction: Back to future- Revisiting Hasson's Conceptualization of Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, 2003;25"60-64


Haddon's 10 strategies

Haddon's 10 countermeasure strategies are used to address injury control, where based on the tool, one can develop useful intervention ideals.


  1. Prevent creation of hazard


Educate children to accept differences within an array of populations.


  1. Reduce the amount of hazard brought into being


Schools should establish written policies that protect students and staff from discrimination and harassment.


  1. Prevent the release of the hazard that already exists


Stay alert and identify potentially violent people and groups--awareness is the best self-defense.


  1. Modify the rate or spatial distribution of release of the hazard from its source


Students may opt to carry a whistle and blow it when feel threaded to attract attention.


  1. Separate, in time or in space, the hazard and that which is to be protected


Students who feel threatened may choose not to be alone in hallways, locker rooms and on the way to/from school.


  1. Separate the hazard from that which is to be protected by interposition of a material barrier


In order to prevent LGBT students from being assaulted, lock all unused classrooms and spaces to restrict access.


  1. Modify relevant basic qualities of the hazard


Schools should support curriculums that include information about LGBT people across different subject areas.


  1. Make what is to be protected more resistant to damage from the hazard


Use self-protection measures or walk closer to traffic when confronted by violent students/groups.


  1. Begin to counter the damage already done by the environmental hazard


Provide adequate security backup for threatened individuals.


  1. Stabilize, repair, and rehabilitate the object of the damage


Provide crisis intervention counseling after an assault, and provide acute long-term medical/mental care.


As we have been taught to respect races, ethnicities and religions, respect for LGBT people is equally as important of an issue to be addressed, especially in early school years.


A safe, healthy and violent-free school environment should be provided to all students. An alarming statistic that holds true to many individuals, who call this type of violence normative, is that 76% of LGBT youth reported that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues were never discussed or addressed in their class.[i]  More specifically, it is important to provide LGBT-related resources for students, and make them readily available in schools. Research shows that having an LGBT-support organization in school helps them to live better and feel better. 8 Schools could establish written policies that protect students from discrimination and harassment. Educational programs are in a distinctive position to affect not only students and teachers, but also have the ability to educate the school's community.[ii]


Beyond education, it is vial to make statistics of violence toward this demographic know to the public. Without documents and statistics that speak to the prevalence of violence toward these individuals, there is less justification for legislation to respond. Further research is needed on an array of topics related to this issue, such as a victim's hesitation to report an act of violence, the long-term affects of hate crimes on a society and tactics educators can employ to combat alarming GLBT-related statistics on their own campus.

[i] Lee, C. (2002, February/March). The impact of belonging to a high school Gay/Straight Alliance. High School Journal, 85(3). 13(14).


[ii] Patricia Boland, Vulnerability to Violence Among Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth, NASP resource, available at:


Further Resources

University of Minnesota Center For Violence Prevention and Control


Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program


National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) - Minnesota

Out Front Minnesota

310 East 38th Street, Suite 204, Minneapolis, MN 55409

(612) 824-8434 (Hotline)

(800) 800-0350 (Phone)


National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

1734 14th Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20009

(202) 332-6483


National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence

132 Stephens Hall Annex Towson State University Towson, MD 21204

(410) 830-2435


New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project

647 Hudson StreetNew York, NY 10014

(212) 807-6761

(212) 807-0197 (Hotline)


Domestic Violence Information for Gay, Transgender, and Bisexual Men

24-hour hotline (English and Spanish):

(212) 714-1141