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Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Hate Crime Victimization: Identity Politics or Identity Risk?

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This study examined the impact of hate crimes upon gay and lesbian victims, reviewing 1,538 hate crimes committed in Los Angeles County. Differences between sexual orientation and other hate crime categories were considered for offense severity, reportage to law enforcement, and victim impact. The type of offense varied between crimes classified for sexual orientation (n = 551) and other bias-motivated crimes (n = 987). Assault, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking were predictive of sexual orientation hate crimes. Sexual orientation bias crimes evidenced greater severity of violence to the person and impact upon victim level of functioning. More violent forms of aggression were predictive of gay and lesbian victim's underreportage to law enforcement. For sexual orientation offenses, victim gender and race/ethnicity differences were predictive of the base rates of crime reportage as well. These findings are considered in terms of a group-risk hypothesis, encountered by multiple outgroup persons, that influences help-seeking behavior and ingroup identity.
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Keywords: GAY; HATE CRIMES; LESBIAN; VICTIMIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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