Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Carolyn Dennis


The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer (LGBTQ) community continues to be negatively impacted by high rates of anti-gay hate crime. Gay-rights activists continue to press for public policy changes to improve equality and reduce anti-gay sentiment. However, these efforts have not succeeded in reducing the number of attacks. Little is understood about what motivates perpetrators to commit violent acts against members of the LGBTQ community. This study explored how social coalitions and individual sexual identity development impact the motivation behind anti-gay hate crime from the perspective of convicted anti-gay hate crime offenders. The theoretical frameworks proposed for this study were the coalitional value theory of anti-gay bias and the anti-gay aggression theory. This study was guided by research questions that focused on what social factors may contribute to a perceived reduction in the coalitional value of victims from the perspective of a perpetrator. This study used a general qualitative research design. The data source for this examination was the case studies that were published in Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims. This study also used interviews of convicted LGBTQ hate crime murder perpetrators presented in the documentary Licensed to Kill. Data from these case studies were coded and analyzed using content analysis. The implications for social change resulting from this study may be reduced violence against, and improved psychological health of the LGBTQ community by providing gay-rights policy activists improved knowledge on what motivates anti-gay hate crimes.