Ohana hopes to make violence against transgender people a hate crime

The bill would add to the criminal code on hate crimes that says crimes motivated by racism or sexual preferences carry double the sentence of the same crime with a different motive.

January 11, 2016 16:22
1 minute read.
Stabbing at J'lem gay-pride parade

Stabbing at J'lem gay-pride parade. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

New Likud MK Amir Ohana’s first bill will be to designate violence against transgender people as a hate crime, he announced Monday.

“In the last year, we’ve seen quite a few incidents of attacks on transgender people just because they are part of the trans community, which is why I decided to make my first bill an amendment to the Penal Code that would add gender identity to what can make an assault a hate crime. Anyone who attacks someone because of gender identity will get a double sentence,” he said.

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The current section of the criminal code on hate crimes says crimes motivated by racism or the victim’s sexual preferences carry double the sentence of the same crime with a different motive.

Because gender identity is not mentioned in the law, attacks on transgender people were not prosecuted as hate crimes. Ohana’s bill would add gender identity as a possible motivation for a hate crime. MK Anat Berko (Likud) proposed similar legislation in June.

Ohana, who made headlines last month when he was sworn in as the first openly gay MK in Likud and the first openly gay lawmaker to be elected in to the Knesset after running in a general primary, said his bill should be “a consensus that crosses party lines.”

“Among all the populations that make up the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community, [they] are the most vulnerable and discriminated against, and they most need our help,” Ohana said at a meeting of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of Status of Women and Gender Equality about suicide among transgender people.

“We can pass laws against hate crimes, but we cannot pass laws against hate. The cure for hate is visibility...

and I am happy to see more and more transgender people coming out of the closet and telling their stories,” he said.

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