Violence aimed at individuals who identify, or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ), or otherwise gender variant has been a part of the fabric of most societies both historically and in the present era. This essay reviews empirical data, mostly from the United States, on the contours of this type of violence in the modern era, and it discusses psychological, interactional, cultural, and structural perspectives on violence against LGBTQ people. The patterned nature of violence against sexual and gender minorities is an outgrowth of structures and processes intimately connected to a binary sex/gender system in which heterosexuality and heterosexism are defined as normative. The essay concludes by describing how, late in the twentieth century, violence against LGBTQ people garnered the attention of activists and interest groups in unprecedented ways, which in turn engendered significant legislative and other mitigatory responses at the local, state, and national levels.
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