By Susan Payne
A free LGBTQ+ town hall, open to the public, was held in November as part of United Against Hate week, hosted by the LA District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ advisory board, LA County Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
To provide public education on how to recognize hate crimes, hate incidents and acts of discrimination, the meeting was held to encourage the community to report, and help prevents acts of hate against the LGBTQ community.
Hosts included George Gascón, Los Angeles County District Attorney, Bamby Salcedo, President & CEO, TransLatin@Coalition and Chair of LADA’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and Matthew Barragan, Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Rights Section, according to the Los Angeles Blade.
Eighty four percent of those attending had either experienced hate themselves or knew someone who had been affected by a hate crime, according to the Blade.
In 2021, California reported 1,763 hate crimes, an increase of 32.6% from 2020, according to the Blade. There was also a 30.2% increase in anti-gay male hate crimes, a 21% increase in anti-homosexual bias hate crimes and an increase of anti-lesbian bias hate crimes by 18%, the Blade reported.
Gross underreporting of these crimes is common due to police mistrust or belief they would not respond in a way that would help the situation, according to the Blade. The hosts during the meeting hoped to rectify this by calling for more people to report these crimes and incidents.
“This is really a process of bringing our community together,” said Gasćon in a closing statement. “Understand that while we are using this week to underline the issues surrounding hate crime and fear, this is an all-year effort.”