Five Best Practices to Address Hate Crime and Bias-Motivated Violence Targeting the LGBTI Community

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Attendees dance and wave flags from their float at the annual Pride Parade in New York City.

Five Best Practices to Address Hate Crime and Bias-Motivated Violence Targeting the LGBTI Community

To recognize LGBTI Pride Month, the Department hosted an interactive webchat on June 28 to highlight model practices and lessons learned in responding to and preventing bias-motivated violence. A law enforcement official and community advocate in the United States shared their experiences and strategies with civil society and community leaders throughout Africa and the Americas. Audiences at U.S. Embassies and American spaces tuned into the session from Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia, to Liberia, Nigeria, and Malawi.

The panel was moderated by Cory Andrews, the spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and included two experts -- Lt. Brett Parson from Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Liaison Unit and Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Below are five key practices discussed during the webchat:

1. Undertake Community Outreach

“There are all kinds of interventions that people might try to bring into communities, but … the community has to be invested in them and working in partnership with providers and other institutions to make them work.” – Beverly Tillery 

2. Train and Educate First Responders 

“The second part of our mission is training and education and part of that… is training police officers what these communities are, what their unique issues are, how to treat them respectfully, with dignity and professionalism, but also educating the community so that community members know what to expect of law enforcement officers.” – Lt. Brett Parson

3. Promote Transparency

“When the community knows that they’re receiving information, and they can trust that information from law enforcement, then there’s legitimacy… when the law enforcement officers that serve these communities are viewed as having legitimate authority and legitimate reason to do what we do, then it benefits everyone.” – Lt. Brett Parson

4. Model Inclusivity 

“It's important to educate children early on to respect diversity and exercise inclusion...Children aren't born with intrinsic hatred, this is a learned behavior...We need to model inclusivity.” – Lt. Brett Parson

5. Support Communication and Coalition Building

“We cannot do this work alone. Our strongest work has come from coalitions across the nation.” – Beverly Tillery, @antiviolence, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence

The State Department recognizes LGBTI Pride Month as part of an effort to affirm fundamental freedoms of association and expression and that LGBTI persons continue to face violence and discrimination when they express these freedoms. We believe that when all persons are protected on the basis of equality, they can live with dignity, build stronger communities, and promote peace and democratic values around the world. 

About the Author: Tiffany Cox, Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.

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