Federal and State law
At the federal level, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act covers crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Virginia’s hate crime laws address violence based on race, religion, and ethnic origin, but not sexual orientation or gender identity. Equality Virginia is dedicated to protecting the welfare of our LGBTQ youth and all Virginians. We believe that it is necessary to address the violence faced by members of the LGBT community and provide resources and tools for victims of hate crimes and other types of discrimination.
In 2005, EV helped established the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, which works to end hate crimes and other forms of violence against Virginians. They recently published a report which states that approximately half of LGBT Virginians have faced violence or harassment based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
While a program of EV, VAVP produced a report consisting of three major components from it’s findings during 2007-2008:
As its own independent organization since 2009, the Virginia Anti-Violence Project continues to seek to increase the communities’ capacity to respond to violence through education and awareness campaigns across the Commonwealth. VAVP continues to work with local LGBT organizations and community leaders to increase the effectiveness of community response to hate violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, bullying and harassment.