"Tuesday’s alleged attack of 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett, who is both black and gay, underscored an issue many LGBTQ advocates have been working to highlight for years: violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of color.
The most recent FBI hate crimes report found a 17 percent year-over-year spike in bias crimes in 2017 — the third consecutive yearly increase. Nearly 58 percent of the reported bias incidents were motivated by the victims’ race, ethnicity or ancestry, and more than17 percent were motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity.
While the FBI’s report does not specify how many of the victims were LGBTQ people of color, the Anti-Violence Project, a national nonprofit that tracks violence against the LGBTQ community, told NBC News it, too, has seen an increase in hate violence and noted that LGBTQ people of color often bear the brunt of these bias incidents.
'LGBTQ people living at multiple intersections of oppression, such as racism and homophobia, experience compounded violence,' Eliel Cruz, a spokesperson for AVP, explained.
Cruz said Smollett’s alleged attack is 'reflective of what we see in our national data of hate violence.' In 2017, AVP recorded a record-high 52 anti-LGBTQ homicides across the U.S. More than 70 percent of those victims, according to the report, were people of color.
Transgender women of color are particularly at risk, according to AVP, which found 22 of the 52 homicide victims (42 percent) in 2017 were trans women of color."