The Give a Damn Campaign (www.wegiveadamn.org), a project of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, has released its newest public service announcement focusing on hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Ricky Martin, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Rachael Harris andWanda Sykes speak out about the need to bring an end to these senseless acts of violence and intimidation. The PSA saw its world premiere last night on CNN’s Larry King Live during an episode featuring the topic of anti-gay bullying.
In the U.S. one hate crime takes place approximately every hour of every single day. In 2008, the most recent year in which such data is available, 7,783 incidents of hate crime were reported to the FBI.1 out of every 6 of these hate crimes is committed on the basis of sexual orientation.
Gay men and lesbians are the third most targeted group for hate crimes of the ones that are actually reported. It is widely believed that these numbers are significantly higher, as victims of hate crimes based on sexual orientation are afraid to report the crime to authorities.
Hate crimes can happen anywhere, at any time. They are dehumanizing, willful acts of bigotry perpetrated with the intent to intimidate. They may range from harassment and physical intimidation to beatings, rape, torture —even murder. Perpetrators commit these horrific acts to intimidate and terrorize a community, and to send a message about the victim and “their kind.”
“We as parents, as people, as a nation need to stand up and say enough is enough. We will not tolerate hate any longer,” said Cyndi Lauper. “Hate is learned and we need to teach our children that being different is okay. The best way we can do that is to lead by example and treat others with dignity and respect. No one should ever be bullied or harmed in any way because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity or anything that someone labels another as ‘different.’ Hate is a lose lose situation and its time that things final change.”
Hate Crimes. Get Informed. Get Involved. Give a Damn!