Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Jeff Gruenewald

Committee Member

Mindy Bradley-Engen

Second Committee Member

Brent Smith

Keywords

Social sciences; Anti-lgbt; Bias crime; Homicide

Abstract

The purpose of the current study is to understand the dynamic processes of fatal attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals across different situational circumstances. Recent scholarship has begun to identify the heterogeneous nature of anti-LGBT homicides, including possible differences in how victims are targeted by offenders. However, several limitations of prior research have stunted the systematic examination of these circumstances. Few studies, for instance, have disaggregated by crime type and bias type, thus masking unique patterns and causal processes associated with varying types of anti-LGBT homicide events. Others have relied on official data sources whose validity and reliability remain questionable. The current research overcomes these limitations by utilizing data collected from an open-source database known as the Extremist Homicide Project (EHP) on a population of anti-LGBT homicides from 1990 to 2010. A preliminary review of anecdotal evidence, studies of anti-LGBT violence, and a close reading of select homicide case open-source materials leads to the creation of a five-part typology of anti-LGBT homicides based on offender mode of victim selection. This study utilizes a mixed-method design, beginning with multivariate and bivariate analyses to identify similarities and differences across anti-LGBT homicide categories and subcategories. Quantitative findings are used to identify five anti-LGBT homicides for supplemental case studies, which represent each homicide subcategory. Guided by symbolic interactionism and theories of masculinity, the purpose of each case study is to examine how key distinguishing characteristics operate together before, during, and after violent transactions within particular Social contexts to affect lethal outcomes. The second purpose of the case studies is to examine the applicability of theories of masculinity and violence for explaining anti-LGBT homicides across different modes of victim selection.

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