You are hereHome › College of Education & Professional Studies (CEPS) › Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice › Denney, Andrew › Homophobic Assault Style APAChicagoHarvardIEEEMLATurabian Choose the citation style. Tewksbury, R., & Denney, A. (2013). Homophobic Assault. Encyclopedia Of Street Crime In America. Download PDF Homophobic Assault Details Type Encyclopedia Entry Title Homophobic Assault Contributor(s) Tewksbury, Richard (author)Denney, Andrew (author) Located In Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America Date 2013 Abstract The crime of homophobic assault includes verbal, physical, and sexual abuse of individuals who are perceived to be gay/lesbian/bisexual. As a crime, homophobic assault generally did not receive much attention until the mid-to-late 1980s and 1990s. However, in the past approximately two decades, homophobic violence has become more common, or more commonly reported, and today is the second most reported hate crime in the United States (behind racially-based offenses). The frequency and nature of this type of crime underlines the need for its continued understanding. “Homophobia” is a severe negative reaction to those who are perceived to violate the established social norm of heterosexualism. Homophobic assault, then, is a form of response by offenders to victims’ perceived deviance; offenders perceive themselves to be appointed gatekeepers of heterosexual identity. Offenders generally target men perceived to be gay, because such men are seen as subverting the traditional male gender role more than lesbians are perceived deviant from a traditional female gender role. Offenders may perceive that their actions earn them increased social standing among their own social group(s). Although the numbers of reported homophobic assaults have increased dramatically in recent years, this is also widely believed to be a very underreported offense. The most common reason for victims to not report to the police is fear of their homosexual identity being known, and fear of anti-homosexual actions by police officers.