When Love Sparks Hate: Help for Victims of LGBTQIA+ Hate Crimes


“Attacks on any American—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation—[are attacks] on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.” — President Barack Obama

Hate: A Growing Problem in the United States

Love conquers hate. At the law firm of Carpenter & Zuckerman, we believe this is true, and we proudly fight to protect the victims of discrimination and hate crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community. As a firm, we advocate equal rights for ALL people.

While we believe love is more powerful than hate, hate is rising in our nation. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reported hate crimes rose 11.9% in the United States between 2020 and 2021, with 10,840 incidents involving 12,411 victims in 2021. More than 20% of U.S. hate crime victims were targeted for their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender in 2021. In California, the statistics are even more staggering, with reported hate crime offenses increasing by 42.1% between 2020 and 2021, based on the California Department of Justice’s 2021 Report on Hate Crime in California.

The law firm of Carpenter & Zuckerman has been fighting against discrimination and oppression for over 27 years. We have extensive experience representing LGBTQIA+ victims, and the victims of all forms of hate crime and discrimination. Call (310) 273-1230 today or contact us online for a FREE consultation. CZ Law is passionately committed to stopping the hate!

Hate Crimes Against LGBTQIA+ People

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) defines a hate crime as “a crime motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.” For an offense to be classified as a hate crime, there must be a crime committed that was motivated by a particular bias against a person or group of people. Hate crimes are broken down into various categories of criminal activity, including:

  • Crimes Against Persons – including intimidation, simple assault, aggravated assault, rape, murder, and more

  • Crimes Against Property – including damage, destruction, or vandalism

  • Crimes Against Society – victimless crimes often involving a particular banned activity, such as prostitution or gambling

According to a study on hate crimes against LGBT people by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, “LGBT people are nine times more likely than non-LGBT people to be victims of violent hate crimes.” Violence targeting LGBTQIA+ people in America has made national headlines throughout the years, including these prominent examples:

  • The Orlando Shooting of 2016 / Pulse Nightclub Shooting: A lone gunman opened fire at a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida just after 2:00 a.m. on June 12, 2016, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50 others. The incident was the deadliest mass shooting in America at the time.

  • Grindr Dating Site Attack in Eugene, OR: On July 5, 2021, a gay man was attacked, beaten, and partially scalped when he went on a date with Daniel Andrew McGee, who he met through the online dating service, Grindr. The victim was hospitalized after the attack and the perpetrator was charged with a hate crime.

  • Colorado Springs Nightclub Shooting of 2022 / Club Q Shooting: 22-year-old lone gunman Anderson Lee Aldrich opened fire at Club Q, a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs on November 19-20, 2022. 5 people died in the attack and 25 more were injured, 19 of whom were wounded by gunfire. In a February 2023 court decision on the matter, a Colorado Springs judge ruled that the suspect would be charged with hate crimes and murder

Hate Crimes vs. Hate Incidents: An Important Distinction

It is essential to note that, in the United States, holding or expressing offensive views is not against the law. The 1st amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression, including the right to express hateful speech. It does not, however, protect against committing a crime or restricting someone else’s civil rights based on those biases. 

Once an individual crosses the threshold from harboring a hateful bias to taking criminal action based on that viewpoint, they may be held liable for committing a hate crime. If their prejudicial actions do not constitute an actual crime involving violence, threats, or property damage, those actions are categorized as bias or hate incidents, according to the DOJ.

What to Do If You Are the Victim of an LGBTQIA+ Hate Crime

If you are the victim of discrimination or a violent incident that you believe was based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender, you may understandably be shaken — both physically and emotionally. It can be hard to know how to handle such an emotionally charged situation in real-time. Use the checklist below to guide you, so you will be fully prepared if you decide to pursue legal action against the perpetrator:

  • Take video of the incident (if possible)

  • Call 911 immediately if anyone is injured

  • Take photos of evidence of the crime, such as injuries & property damage

  • Write down all details you remember about the incident & perpetrator(s)

  • File a police report and request a copy for your records

  • Obtain a medical evaluation if you were physically harmed, regardless of the severity

  • Gather contact information from witnesses who are willing to help

  • Contact local advocacy groups for resources

  • Contact a personal injury lawyer with experience litigating hate crime

It is important to note that, under the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act, law enforcement officials are prohibited from inquiring about a victim’s immigration status, or that of the person reporting a violent crime, unless the information is required to certify the person for a visa specifically intended for the victims of violent crime or human trafficking.  

What Health Effects Do Hate Crime Victims Experience?

Violent crime victims often suffer both physical and emotional impacts from their ordeal. Research has shown that LGBTQ+ hate crime victims suffer measurable health effects resulting from their experiences. According to the UCLA Williams School of Law research study referenced above, the following health effects were elevated among LGBTQ+ hate crime victims:

  • Headaches

  • High blood pressure

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Anxiety, PTSD, depression & other mood disturbances

  • Suicide

A qualified personal injury lawyer with experience litigating LGBTQIA+ hate crime cases can fight to obtain the maximum compensation you are due for your injuries, both physical and emotional. At CZ Law, we relentlessly pursue the full spectrum of compensation for our injured clients, including reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, as well as pain and suffering.

Stop the Hate: How You Can Prevent LGBTQIA+ Hate Crimes

“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us." –President Barack Obama

President Obama’s response to the deadly Pulse Nightclub Massacre in Orlando, Florida is the most powerful and succinct prescription that we, as Americans, can use to combat the hate that fuels crimes targeting the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Squelching hate crime requires a systemic shift in society’s tolerance of the differences between us and acceptance of our common humanity. While eradicating hate is not a feat that can be accomplished by an individual, each of us CAN make a positive impact within our sphere of influence, and we can work together to form powerful alliances and effect change. We can make a difference anytime we witness and respond to discrimination or crime motivated by bias against someone's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender. 

Experts such as the California Attorney General recommend the following specific measures to combat the prevalence of hate crime:

  • Speak out against discrimination & hate in your sphere of influence 

  • Offer practical help & support to victims of LGBTQIA+ hate crimes

  • Attend peaceful rallies & other grassroots events in support of LGBTQIA+ people

  • Establish a hate crime coalition between law enforcement, schools, religious groups, local government & the community to advocate equal rights

  • Vote for legislation and political candidates that advocate equal rights

The Human Rights Campaign also offers specific actions we can all take to combat hate crimes and demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community, some of which include: 

  • Contact your anti-LGBTQ state legislators and voice your opposition to their policies

  • Visibly display your support for LGBTQIA+ rights using bumper stickers & swag

  • Use you social media platform to support LGBTQIA+ rights & spread awareness

  • Donate inclusive books to a local Title-1 library through the Human Rights Campaign

For more information on how you can take action to support the trans and non-binary community, visit the Count Me In section of the Human Rights Campaign website.

CZ Law Wins Landmark Settlement for Trans Hate Crime Victim

CZ Law Founding Partner John C. Carpenter has developed his signature method of Truth + Love = Justice in which he seeks the truth in each of the cases he handles and applies love to deliver justice for his clients. John’s powerful strategy has resulted in substantial victories for his clients, including a recent landmark victory for the LGBTQIA+ community.

CZ Law’s John C. Carpenter and Carlos A. Hernandez, together with Plaintiff Jovanna Silva, revealed a groundbreaking $950,000 settlement obtained from the City of El Monte after undercover police unlawfully stormed the transgender Latina woman’s home, brutally beating and arresting her, and later ordering her eviction.

Announced at a city council meeting on March 7, 2023, the settlement included a historic consent decree to prevent people from being evicted from their homes as part of a law enforcement effort, without first being afforded due process of law.

CZ Proudly Fights for Victims of LGBTQIA+ Hate Crimes

The law firm of Carpenter & Zuckerman was created for the sole purpose of standing up for the injured against those in power who seek to exploit and oppress the vulnerable. Over the past 27 years, the personal injury and civil rights lawyers at CZ Law have fought determinedly to secure justice for the wrongfully injured. Our firm passionately advocates equality, freedom, and justice on behalf of ALL people. 

CZ Law has a strong track record of delivering justice to our injured clients. Since the firm was founded in 1995, we have won over $2 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We always seek to recover the maximum compensation our clients are entitled to for the full range of their injuries, including both the physical and psychological damages resulting from their experiences.

The firm proudly serves clients throughout California and Washington State, maintaining offices in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Garden Grove, San Diego, Bakersfield, and Seattle.  

At CZ Law, we are committed to stopping the hate. We unwaveringly advocate on behalf of our LGBTQIA+ clients who have been victimized by others’ hateful actions. Call (310) 273-1230 or contact CZ Law online today to arrange for a FREE no-obligation consultation. You won’t pay any legal fees unless we win your case! Let’s stop the hate together!

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