FBI report shows anti-LGBTQ hate crimes increased in 2022

A picture shows the late O'Shae Sibley during a demonstration in Brooklyn after he was killed there in an alleged anti-LGBTQ attack.
A picture shows the late O’Shae Sibley during a demonstration in Brooklyn after he was killed there in an alleged anti-LGBTQ attack.
Matt Tracy

Anti-LGBTQ attacks and other incidents targeting individuals due to hate in the United States increased from 2021 to 2022, according to annual statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

The FBI’s 2022 crime report includes 11,634 hate crime incidents motivated by bias towards race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories — up 7% from the 10,891 hate crimes reported in 2021. The largest amount of hate crimes were committed due to race, ethnicity or ancestry, for a total of 6,570. Anti-Black hate crime incidents climbed from 3,297 in 2021 to 3,424 in 2022.

The FBI logged 469 hate crime incidents targeting individuals on the basis of gender identity and 1,947 for sexual orientation. There were 347 incidents labeled as “multiple bias.” Those numbers have jumped from last year when there were 353 hate crime incidents related to gender identity, 1,711 due to sexual orientation, and 312 for multiple bias, according to the FBI.  There was a 16% increase in hate incidents due to sexual orientation and gender identity combined from 2021 to 2022.

Hate crime incidents based on religion rose from 1,613 in 20121 to 2,044 in 2022. 

The rise in LGBTQ-related hate comes as state legislatures across the country have pushed a record-number of bills targeting the LGBTQ community by limiting access to gender-affirming health care or barring discussions of queer topics in school settings, among other issues. 

Audacia Ray, a Director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), told Gay City News the statistics in the FBI’s report were consistent with what they were seeing, although they stressed many incidents go unreported. 

AVP uses the term “hate violence,” Ray said, which includes “incidents that don’t necessarily meet the levels of crime, but are bias motivated incidents.” 

“ I think the increase in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric … since the Trump administration is pretty significant,” Ray said. “It’s definitely been creating an opportunity for folks to feel more free in being anti-LGBTQ.” 

Ray also noted that a greater percentage of law enforcement agencies participated in the FBI’s reporting, covering 91% of the country, although they stressed that people of certain identities are more likely to report a hate crime to the police than others. 

In the report, the most common instances of anti-LGBTQ violence was reported by gay men, they said, because “cis gay men are more likely to report and identify something as a hate crime.” 

“What we actually see is that Black trans women and gender non-conforming folks are much more vulnerable and we see many more incidents that impact them on a regular basis,” Ray said. 

Ray also emphasized that for many of those facing hate violence, the best way to heal does not include involving the criminal legal system. “The goal” of AVP’s work and advocacy “is really to connect folks with other people who understand their experience and can offer professional support around recovery and healing and figuring out next steps,” they said.

President Joe Biden reacted to the FBI report, saying in a statement “the data is a reminder that hate never goes away, it only hides. Any hate crime is a stain on the soul of America.”

Biden’s statement also noted that “antisemitism accounted for over half of all reported religion-based hate crimes. Anti-LGBTQI+ hate crimes rose 16%, and Muslim Americans and African Americans continue to be overrepresented among victims.” 

Kelly Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the rise in hate crimes against the LGBTQ community “both shocking and heartbreaking, yet sadly, not unexpected.” 

“The constant stream of hostile rhetoric from fringe anti-equality figures, alongside the relentless passage of discriminatory bills, particularly those targeting transgender individuals, in state legislatures, created an environment where it was sadly foreseeable that individuals with violent tendencies might respond to this rhetoric,” Robinson said, while also noting that the data itself is “incomplete.” 

New York saw an increase in hate crimes in 2022, the FBI’s data shows, with a total of 935 incidents reported, up from 784 in 2021. Among them, 141 were based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

A survey conducted by AVP earlier in 2023 found that a majority of organizations serving the LGBTQ community around the country had experienced harassment or violence in 2022, with community centers and groups serving youth reporting the highest rates. 

New York City has seen a string of anti-LGBTQ incidents this year, including a very high-profile case earlier this year — the murder of O’Shae Sibley, who was stabbed to death at a Brooklyn gas station in July after he was allegedly confronted about his sexual orientation. “That is a very horrific example, but it’s not a standalone,” Ray said. 

Other incidents include a string of pride flags vandalized outside of the Stonewall Inn during pride month, and an individual setting fire to a Rainbow Flag outside of a restaurant in Soho. 

If you have been the victim of hate violence or would like more information about resources, AVP has a 24-hour hotline at 212-714-1141. The NYC Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes also offers free resources