Between June 2022 to April 2023, there have been hundreds of attacks on the LGBTQ community and just as many laws as Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD reports proved.
Extremism on the rise
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis stated, “Extremists, including elected officials, must be held accountable for inciting violence and using vile rhetoric against marginalized people who just want to live in safety and peace.”
Ellis added, “Targeting people for who they are, or for their race and faith, is an attack on fundamental freedoms and the health and well-being of all in our country.”
Anti-LGBTQ rhetorics thrived online in early 2022. But soon, it went from hate speech to action, and in June of 2022, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested for conspiring to riot at Pride events. Things only took a turn for the worse in the following months.
Experts tried to warn us
Sophie Bjork-James, an assistant professor in anthropology at Vanderbilt University, said, “There is a very clear relationship between normalizing this hateful content and having extremist groups try to mobilize around that in hateful actions.
She continued, “We can see a direct relationship between the spectrum of anti-LGBT rhetoric from statehouses into these extremist groups.”
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue reported over 200 incidents between June 2022 to May 2023, all targeting drag events.
In February 2023, Tennessee became the first state to explicitly ban drag shows in public spaces after Republican governor Bill Lee signed the provision into law.
Lawmakers are spewing hate
Clara Martiny, a digital research analyst of ISD, issued a statement saying, “The numbers in this report suggest that we run the risk of dangerous backsliding toward hate and violence directed at LGBTQ+ people.” Martiny added, “It is no surprise that when political leaders advance anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and schools are forced to censor LGBTQ+ voices, anti-LGBTQ+ threats and harassment rise.”
It is a global issue
Dixon Osburn, Executive Director of ISD for the USA, issued a statement, “The spread of anti-LGBTQ+ hate in the U.S. is advancing across the globe,” adding, “It’s imperative that policymakers address the rise of hate and extremism online and off. It starts with taking online threats seriously. We need to be proactive in protecting LGBTQ+ communities to avoid a snowballing effect of hate.”
Accusations of “grooming”
One of the most common ways to dehumanize members of the LGBTQ community is to allege they are all “groomers.” GLAAD and ADL reports confirmed that words like “grooming” and “pedophilia” are the most-cited anti-LGBTQ+ phrases. Almost half of the anti-LGBTQ incidents were started by one of the extremist groups.
The numbers are higher than reported
“Since many anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremism incidents go unreported, the true numbers are likely far higher,” GLAAD and ADL also shared.
Wake up call
ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said, “We hope these stark findings serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers, civil society leaders, and community leaders to stand up to this onslaught of hate and support our LGBTQ+ community.” But, many experts warn things might only get worse.
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