A recent brutal attack on a lesbian in Richmond reflects an uptick in hate crimes targeting the LGBT community. In a January 2, 2009 article in the Contra Costa Times, Psychology Professor Jose Feito offers insight into the motivations of hate crime perpetrators:
"What you get is this kind of immature desire to display power," said Jose Feito. "And so they go looking for easy victims, or suitable victims." In the Richmond case, Feito said, "suitable" meant someone the attackers could marginalize in their minds. Sexual orientation can serve as a hate crime's "trigger," as he called it. But it is often that factor combined with a perception of gender nonconformity that leads to violence, he said.