LGBT history celebrated on Valentine’s Day

Image copyright Ian Vogel/Getty Images Image caption LGBT groups spent Tuesday remembering those who died in 2018 Joe Biden has mourned what he called “the deadliest year ever” for transgender Americans and urged Congress…

LGBT history celebrated on Valentine's Day

Image copyright Ian Vogel/Getty Images Image caption LGBT groups spent Tuesday remembering those who died in 2018

Joe Biden has mourned what he called “the deadliest year ever” for transgender Americans and urged Congress to extend hate crime protections to protect them from anti-LGBT violence.

The former vice-president called it a “painful reality” that the Department of Justice said had left thousands dead “because they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender”.

The data put the total number of homicides reported in 2018 at 16, a 600% increase over 2017.

A day of remembrance was planned in every state for the Valentine’s Day anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead and 53 injured.

What is LBGTQ history?

A day of remembrance was planned in every state for the Valentine’s Day anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead and 53 injured.

At the White House, staff held a moment of silence, in a break from the yearly Presidents Day holiday.

A ‘wonderful marriage’

“All Americans can be proud that we know the personal, and tragic, burdens of at least 16 transgender people killed in 2018,” Mr Biden wrote in a statement on Wednesday.

“The last 12 months were the deadliest year ever recorded for transgender Americans, leaving thousands dead, because they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”

During a White House ceremony, he and US President Donald Trump also declared 2016 and 2017 “National Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Persons’ Equality Days”.

Mr Biden said there were now 7,500 US Census participants identified as transgender, while trans people are “counted, while disabled and after their graduation or military service, as US citizens”, he wrote.

He also encouraged federal lawmakers to implement legislation similar to what Maryland recently voted in favour of.

The legislation, which is still awaiting Governor Larry Hogan’s signature, would bring to law the country’s most comprehensive hate crime protections for transgender Americans.

“While not perfect, it was the right thing to do,” Mr Biden said.

More than any other nation, America has demonstrated what a wonderful marriage gender diversity and sexual orientation can be,” the former vice-president added.

“Your dignity as a family and individual is recognized, your love is honored, and your contributions are celebrated.”

Campaigners seek support

Miguel Hugo and Darren Schneiderman, two openly transgender young men in Los Angeles, were shot dead within 24 hours of each other in November.

On Tuesday, they joined other advocates in telling stories of two other young men whose deaths made national headlines in 2018.

The LGBT rights group GLAAD said the figures, including deaths reported in 2018 to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), showed that anti-LGBT hate crimes in the US had risen by 50% compared to 2017.

Its president Sarah Kate Ellis said a “particularly deadly year” for trans people and other LGBT people may have had its origins in the so-called “bathroom bill” battle over transgender rights that erupted over the summer.

For those in the LGBT community “neither of us will ever know the rest of our lives, but we will know they were good ones”, Mr Schneiderman told CNN.

“We will always be remembered… for the person we wanted to be.”

According to NCAVP, “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of colour” are also more likely to experience anti-LGBT violence than their peers in any other segment of the LGBT community.

However, while blacks and Latinos were victims of homicides connected to anti-LGBT violence at a rate of 41.6% and 32.3% respectively, only 21.5% of homicides committed in 2018 that appeared to be anti-LGBT were reported to the police.

A separate report by Human Rights Watch stated that anti-LGBT killings have increased in US states that have so far banned same-sex marriage.

Advocates say a large number of LGBT people, particularly transgender women of colour, are also experiencing racial discrimination.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Trump and Biden also took part in a Washington ceremony on Tuesday

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