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Crime & Justice

80 percent of LGBT people killed are minorities




Dickie Hearts of West Adams applauds during a vigil on Monday, June 13, 2016 at Los Angeles City Hall memorializing those who died in Sunday's attack in Orlando.
Dickie Hearts of West Adams applauds during a vigil on Monday, June 13, 2016 at Los Angeles City Hall memorializing those who died in Sunday's attack in Orlando.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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When violence strikes the LGBT community, the victims often look like those who died in the Orlando tragedy.

People of color made up 80 percent of the LGBT people killed in America during 2014, according to the most recent report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Crimes against LGBT people in L.A. County spiked 14 percent that year, according to the county's Report on Hate Crime

"We are still closeted within our community that, unfortunately, may still deny we still exist," says Ari Gutiérrez with the Latino Equality Alliance. "We've seen bullying in the school environment, and then take that out to the community-level."

Gutiérrez says many pockets of cultures – including here in Southern California – still harbor fearful and violent views towards LGBT people, and she talks with communities in their native tongue to open up their minds.

"I think we're a vulnerable target," she says.

LGBT people are also less likely to trust law enforcement to help them, believing it will lead to more harassment by officers.

Just last week, for example, a transgender woman in Santa Ana was shot in the back by an assailant. She survived her injuries, but also didn't cooperate with authorities to find the perpetrator.

But Gutiérrez says the tragedy in Orlando should serve a wake-up call – to LGBT people and others – that this should not continue.

"It just happens so often," she says. "You see these young people being victimized, not because of what they were doing or they were in the wrong place, it's just because of who they are."

There's more with Ari Gutiérrez by using the blue audio player above.