Rhode Island is now the 13th state to include gender-identity and expression in its hate crime laws. The Transgender Hate Crimes Monitoring Bill (S2488) was introduced to the Rhode Island General Assembly on February 16. It passed the Rhode Island House on May 24, and Governor Lincoln D Chafee signed the bill on May 30. The Transgender Hate Crimes Monitoring Bill assists in the research and safety of Rhode Island’s transgender population. In addition, because the bill addresses all hate crimes committed from gender identity or expression bias, victims of all gender identities are protected under this statute. Specifically, the bill adds gender identity and expression to Rhode Island’s hate crimes reporting statute, which already specified race, religion, gender, disability and sexual orientation as motivating prejudices. This now requires Rhode Island State Police to not only report hate crimes based on gender identity and expression, but to also undergo mandatory training regarding the handling of gender identity and expression related hate crimes.
hate crime bill
Hate crimes against Hispanic and LGBTQ Americans are on the rise. Yet current federal hate crimes laws do not protect LGBTQ citizens; there are still five states with no hate crimes legislation on the books; and 23 states do not require collection of hate crimes statistics. This year, the US Congress is expected to vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA), legislation that would add protections for victims of attacks based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and give the federal government the power to work with local authorities to ensure that hate crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted. President Obama’s campaign platform included passing the LLEHCPA (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act), and now that’s he in office, many diverse groups are working to get this legislation through the House and Senate. Their letters, statements, and videos speak powerfully about fighting hate. Here are some links and excerpts: Human Rights Campaign’s videos, “Voices Against Hate: Community and faith leaders speak out against hate crime violence.” Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center in his letter to the House of Representatives: