Despite Toronto’s reputation for diversity, the release of the Toronto Police Service’s hate crime statistics for 2014 serve as a reminder of the hate directed toward many of the city’s communities, including the LGBT population.
Sexual orientation still ranks high as a motivating factor
In 2014, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation accounted for just over 16 percent of all hate crimes, the third highest after race and religion.
Expressed as a percentage, that rate is actually down from last year, when hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were just over 17 percent of all reported hate crimes in Toronto. However, the total number of hate crimes was up in the city — 146 total in 2014 compared to 131 in 2013 — and the amount of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation increased by one.
According to the report, LGBT people — along with the Jewish and black communities — are among the most victimized groups. The LGBT community also sees the highest assault rates.
Hate was at its peak during WorldPride and before the municipal elections
Two months saw a sharp spike in hate-motivated crimes: June, where 22 crimes were reported, and October, which had 23.
Those months were significant ones in Toronto. June was WorldPride, which saw hundreds of thousands of people pour into the city’s core to celebrate all things LGBT. And October, the last campaign month before the municipal election, was marred by incidents of homophobia and racism directed at city council and school board candidates.
While the report didn’t say which incidents happened at what time, and Toronto Police Service’s hate crime unit didn’t respond to Daily Xtra’s request for comment, the two spikes certainly bears further scrutiny.
Hate crimes against LGBT people happened citywide
Hate is not bound by geography. Crimes motivated by gender and sexual orientation are spread right across Toronto.
Of the 24 crimes motivated by sexual orientation that were reported, five took place in 51 division, which includes the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood. Another three took place in Toronto’s trendy and queer-friendly west end. A further number of incidents took place across Toronto’s suburbs.
Police are tracking hate crimes motivated by gender
Though the sex category (called gender before this year) has been included in previous hate crime reports, there were no reported incidents under the category since 2003. The 2014 report even includes a definition for gender-motivated crimes that discusses the whole spectrum of gender-identity, which was not included in either the 2013 or 2012 report.
In 2014, three sex-related hate crimes were reported — two were assault related, and one was a threat to cause bodily harm. Of the three reported, only one took place in the downtown core. The other two took place in the north and east ends of the city.