Gary Welsh on Advance Indiana has posted an alert to a horrifying story in the Indianapolis Star about an attack on a transgendered person at a local gas station. I encourage you to read it.
Hate crimes legislation is so ordinary. Consideration of motive has always been an important and necessary aspect of criminal prosecution. It's not a violation of free speech, after all, to distinguish between premeditation and heat of passion based on expression.
Further, the greater the crime, the more punishment for the crime -- and crimes with hate motivators affect not only the one we ordinarily would perceive as the victim but the entire class to which the victim is perceived to belong and they tend to be more violent and they are emotionally more difficult for the victim to recover from. Greater crimes currently in Indiana are thus being illogically under-punished.
Further, these crimes tend to be progressive in nature and catching and appropriately punishing the teen vandal for the full extent of his crime and not just the seeming pranklike misdemeanor has been established to radically reduce his likelihood of being a hate murderer in his mid-twenties.
That this is so logical only serves to illuminate that the predominant reason we do not have hate crimes penalties laws on the books now is because gays and, later, the transgendered were being considered for inclusion in the protected classes. I would not let it be passed sans inclusion of those with the highest per capita incidence of hate crimes committed against them -- gays and the transgendered. I'd prefer to act to kill the bills -- and was forced to more than once -- rather than let them pass with the message that it was open season in Indiana on the statistically most vulnerable.
Well, that and the tactical issue of maintaining a coat for us little coattails to ride on: It was tactically unsound to let the queer hardest parts of the covered classes laundry list get isolated away from the greater imperative of race and the other popular members of the legislation's laundry list, especially as the primary advocates for the stronger parts of the laundry list understood that it was immoral to let that happen, however much they wanted to get the bill passed with their parts in it -- even to the point of sometimes wanting to drop us from the bill so it would pass. For our community, we always maintained that the entire laundry list was "our" part and, eventually, most of the advocates for the easier-to-pass parts came to understand that it was the same for them.
Indiana now has a legal situation where criminals get a free pass on the bias aspect of their crimes and the state merely has to get the count right -- and, from what I've seen, nobody's really making them do that, failing instead to use the best tool to establish need for passage of penalties legislation we could give you at the time.
It is long past time for the establishment of a stand-alone LGBTQQIA anti-violence/police-community relations organization in Indiana so this vital work does not continue to fall through the cracks.