DENVER (KDVR) — Hate crimes against the LGBTQ community in Colorado increased by 380% from 2018 to 2021.

On Colorado Point of View this week, host Matt Mauro discusses that dramatic increase with the state’s first transgender lawmaker, Rep. Brianna Titone, and Rep. Andy Pico, of Colorado Springs.

The lawmakers were asked whether they thought the rising violence against the LGBTQ community is linked to anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the public sphere.

“I have no doubt that there’s a correlation there, because the proof is in the statistics. More crimes, more rhetoric,” said Titone, a Democrat who represents District 27 in Jefferson County. “You don’t need to insult people, you don’t need to put them down, you don’t need to go there. You can disagree with people and be civil about it. But when you take it to that level of not being civil, that’s when you start to increase the violent attacks.”

Pico, a Republican who represents District 16 in El Paso County, weighed in.

“The rhetoric needs to dial back, but again, that goes both ways. If you take a position that says I want to be left alone and not be forced to participate in something, you know, that’s a valid point of view,” Pico said.

It has been a record four years for Colorado hate crimes in general and sexual orientation-related hate crimes in particular, the FOX31 Data Desk found. After nearly a decade of falling numbers of hate crimes, Colorado experienced a swing in reported hate crimes beginning in 2019.

While sexual orientation-related hate crimes grew 6.5% from their low in 2015 to 2020 across the country, Colorado saw these crimes shoot up 380% from their low in 2018 to 2021, according to the Data Desk.

Watch the entire discussion on Colorado Point of View this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on Colorado’s Very Own Channel 2.