Last year 377 homosexuals were verbally or physically attacked in the state, according to findings of the Anti-Violence Project of the Gay and Lesbian Community Council of Utah.
"Anti-Gay and Lesbian Violence in Utah," a 24-page report, was released Monday during the Gay and Lesbian Utah Democrats' first annual lobby day at the State Capitol.The monthlong survey of violent acts against homosexuals in Utah begins by stating that for many Utahns, the state is "a safe, worry-free environment in which to live.
"Most people have little to fear as they walk down the street. This is not true for gay and lesbian citizens, a majority of whom fear future victimizations because of their sexual orientation . . . "
Through personal interviews last December and reports taken over a 24-hour telephone line, the report documented 172 incidents of verbal harassment and 205 incidents of physical violence.
Verbal harassment included anti-homosexual epithets and anti-AIDS language. The physical violence included 24 cases of assault, 14 rapes or sexual assaults and 31 cases of being chased or followed.
There is a three-page list of reported instances and a copy of a flier sent to leaders of the Lesbian and Gay Student Union at the University of Utah that is decorated with a swastika and reads in part, "Save America. Kill Gays."
Eighty-four percent of the respondents said they had been victimized in some way during their lifetime because of their sexual orientation, and 15 percent said they had been a victim of physical violence within the past year.
About 20 members of the Gay and Lesbian Utah Democrats caucused for an hour to hear how they could influence the Legislature on a variety of issues, including halting so-called hate crimes.