Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kentucky Equality Federation offers new services to report hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying; Federation to act as a buffer.

Hate crimes, discrimination, and school bullying is a sickening reality for many of us. From high profile murder cases, such as those of Matthew Shepard and David 'Sinders' Morley, to local, everyday incidents, hate crime is a startling fact of life for gay people.

What is hate crime?
"A crime committed against a person or persons because of a particular group they belong to such as women, lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, transgender people, Black and minority ethnic people, Jewish people, Muslim people and so on."

Hate crime against one person sends a message of violence to their communities, which creates an atmosphere of fear. Hate crimes can range from anti-gay insults, threats, queer-bashings, sexual violence and murder. It can also include harassment such as hate mail, phone calls, texts, emails, graffiti, repeated name calling, following, theft or damage to property.

How prevalent is hate crime?
The United States has seen a startling increase in the number of LGBT hate crimes; this steady increase has been documented in all 50 U.S. states, 2 commonwealths, and 3 territories.

I would like to report a hate crime, school bullying, or discrimination. What should I do?

You can now complete a report online and submit it to Kentucky Equality Federation. We will do everything possible and necessary to protect your privacy, and we will ensure your constitutional freedoms, rights, and liberties are protected.

How is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community facing up to hate crime?
Organisations such as Kentucky Equality Federation act as a "buffer" between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community and the police; we are also campaigning for better resources to address hate crimes.

“Some children and teenager’s, especially in small Kentucky communities are afraid to go to the police, or take legal action when they suffer from or witness discrimination, school bullying, and even hate crimes,” stated Jordan Palmer, president of Kentucky Equality. “Schools throughout the commonwealth are particularly quick to dismiss school bullying related to a child or teenager’s gender identity and sexual orientation; we want to make sure their complaints are taking seriously, and make sure local officials stop it with more than just a slap on the wrist.”

In 2006 the Kentucky House of Representatives passed HB 270, a school bullying bill that included provisions to protect homosexual students. The bill died however in the Kentucky Senate.

Kentucky Equality believes a lot of incidents go unreported each year throughout Kentucky because of bad experiences in working with law enforcement, others fear being “outed” or reprisals from their perpetrators. However, unless people do report it, there will be no true record of the extent of the problem and nothing will be done to address it.

Kentucky Equality Federation will do everything possible and necessary to protect the privacy of individuals who do not want their incidents to become public knowledge.


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