Psychologist Karen Franklin presented a paper to the American Psychological Association explaining the "reasons" for homophobic violence.
"Those who attacked or taunted gays and lesbians fell roughly into four groups. The largest described their behavior as "self-defence," based on the perception that gays are predatory and therefore even a friendly gesture from one is sexual and a legitimate reason for violence. A second group felt a duty to enforce social norms, a third group were described as thrill seekers, and the fourth group simply went along with their homophobic peers. Across all four groups almost half the assailants reported a likelihood to assault again in similar circumstances. That is, they either lacked remorse or did not see anything wrong with their behavior. Even those who had never assaulted ot harassed gays and lesbians were not so much more tolerant as they were concerned about getting in trouble or experiencing retaliation."
In recent times, there have been several high-profile hate crimes against gays involving violence. These include
- Matthew Shepard - pistol whipped and left to die, arms tied to fence
- Robert Drake - American Writer beaten into a coma
- Billy Jack Gaither - beaten, then cremated
- Private Barry Winchell - beaten to death with baseball bat
- Abner Louima - raped by police with toilet plunger
- Adam Colton - homophobic epithets carved on his stomach and arm
- Steve Goedereis - beaten to death by two teenagers
- Al Hill - shot because of homosexual advance
- Henry Edward Northington - beheaded
- Guy Thomas Whitney and Lawrence Wong - stabbed to death
- Scott Amedure - murdered due to appearance with friend on Jenny Jones TV show
- Josh Bellurado, Sabastian Durgins, and Darren Steele
- Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder - killed by white supremacist brothers
The Religious Right often excuses hate crimes and violence against gays by saying they brought it upon themselves.
"But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behaviour to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when irrational and violent reactions increase." On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons - Pope Paul II, October 1, 1986
An oft used criminal defence in hate crime cases is "homosexual panic" where the defendant lashes out in fear of a gay sexual advance, however this defence does not seem to work all that well in Texas, where someone using it was executed.
Some people murder gays in cold blood in a misguided attempt to stop the spread of AIDS. These same people often claim to be following God's instructions, either through Biblical interpretation, or direct order.
Many people feel that Religous Right TV ads depicting gays as abnormal, requiring change incite violence. The causality of this has not been unequivocally established.
Many websites, including some at Universities, promote anti-gay violence.