Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the U.S. could fuel hate crimes

Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is spreading in the U.S.
Conspiracy to riot at a Pride event
Death threats to Police for averting the riot
Other states have prepared for possible anti-LGBTQ+ riots
A call to action for white supremacists through social media
A coalition among the radical right
Anti-LGBTQ+ pastor
“A war of perversion”
“Groomers”
The influence of public figures
2022: record year of anti-LGBTQ+ bills
Anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been increasing since 2018
Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation
“Don’t say gay”
A backward law
The expansion of “don’t say gay”
Texas Republicans against trans kids and their parents
Denying the existence of trans people
Trans women banned from sports
A polarized society
LGBTQ+ support has also increased throughout the years
A threat to the progress on LGBTQ+ rights
Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is spreading in the U.S.

As hate speech targeting LGBTQ+ people increases online, and as far-right anti-LGBTQ+ bills are being filed in the U.S., experts are warning that extremist groups may see the rhetoric as a call to action.

Conspiracy to riot at a Pride event

Such may have been the case when 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho a week ago and charged with conspiracy to riot at a Pride event, said Sophie Bjork-James, who researches the white nationalist movement, racism and hate crimes in the U.S., according to Voice of America.

Death threats to Police for averting the riot

Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Lee White said Monday, that since the arrests, his agency had received nearly 150 calls, evenly split between people thanking officers for averting a riot and people angry about the arrests. Many of the calls included death threats, Lee said, and some came from as far as Norway.

Image: Onur Binay/Unsplash

Other states have prepared for possible anti-LGBTQ+ riots

Chicago Police Superintendent, David O. Brown said officers on a Joint Terrorism Task Force are working with the FBI and other federal agencies to monitor for individuals on watchlists ahead of the June 26 Pride Parade, the city’s premier celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.

A call to action for white supremacists through social media

The Department of Homeland Security warned that white supremacists are using social media platforms like Instagram, Telegram and TikTok to present skewed framing of divisive issues like abortion, guns and LGBTQ+ rights, potentially driving extremists to attack public places across the U.S. in the coming months.

A coalition among the radical right

Domestic extremist groups see conservatives as potential allies, Bjork-James said, and they've found anti-LGBTQ sentiment is one of the easiest ways to "build a broader coalition among the radical right."

Anti-LGBTQ+ pastor

Last month, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his small Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government, according to The Guardian.

Image: Diana Polekhina/Unsplash

“A war of perversion”

Heather Scott, an Idaho Republican lawmaker, recently told an audience that drag queens and other LGBTQ+ supporters are waging a "war of perversion against our children", and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would consider sending child protective services to investigate parents who take their kids to drag shows.

Image: Bret Kavanough

 

“Groomers”

DeSantis and his supporters have labeled as a “groomer” anyone who believes children can learn LGBTQ+ people exist, arguing that simply by talking about gay relationships to a child, you are sexualizing that child.

The influence of public figures

Jennifer McCoy, a professor of political science at Georgia State University, said that when people with influence, like political figures, sports or entertainment stars, religious leaders or media figures, engage in rhetoric against specific groups, supporters can interpret it as a call for action.

 

2022: record year of anti-LGBTQ+ bills

State lawmakers have proposed a record 238 bills (more than three per day), in 2022, that could limit the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans. Half of them target transgender people specifically.

Anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been increasing since 2018

The annual number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed has skyrocketed from 41 bills in 2018 to 238 bills in 2022. And this year’s historic tally quickly follows what some advocates had labeled the “worst year in recent history for LGBTQ state legislative attacks,” when 191 bills were proposed in 2021.

Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation

The slate of legislation includes measures that would restrict LGBTQ+ issues in school curriculums, permit religious exemptions to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people and limit trans people’s ability to play sports, use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and receive gender-affirming health care.

“Don’t say gay”

The most famous of these anti-LGBTQ+ laws is the piece of Florida legislation banning instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in schools between kindergarten and third grade, the so-called “don’t say gay” law.

A backward law

“A state hasn’t passed a law like this in more than 20 years,” said Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and a trans man. “Like many other people, I thought there was no way they would, because it’s so draconian and obviously unconstitutional.”

The expansion of “don’t say gay”

After becoming a law in Florida, Republicans are already making promises to deliver “don’t say gay” legislation in other states, including Michigan and New York.

Texas Republicans against trans kids and their parents

In February, Texas Republicans Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton, not only banned gender-affirming medical care for trans youth but reframed their parents as child abusers. Paxton signed a legal opinion that parents or doctors who helped children transition were abusers who should be investigated by law enforcement.

 

Denying the existence of trans people

Paxton was followed by Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, who, after barring minors from gender-affirmation treatment, wouldn’t even state for the record that trans people were real. They were supported in the media by commentators like Tucker Carlson, who claimed “no one had heard of this trans thing four years ago.”

Trans women banned from sports

On Monday, World swimming's governing body effectively banned transgender women from competing in women's events, arguing that people who transition after the start of puberty, have an unfair advantage.

 

A polarized society

Proponents of these bills say they’re about protecting children, parental rights, religious freedom or a combination of these. Opponents, however, say they’re discriminatory and are more about scoring political points with conservative voters than protecting constituents.

LGBTQ+ support has also increased throughout the years

As the number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills hits record highs, so has support for the collective’s rights. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs and housing, according to a Public Religion Research Institute survey, and nearly 70% of Americans support same-sex marriage, up from 54% in 2014.

A threat to the progress on LGBTQ+ rights

Nevertheless, this anti-LGBTQ+ renewed movement, channeling itself through overheated rhetoric about “parents’ rights”, now threatens to undo much of the progress America has made on LGBTQ+ rights over the last 15 years.

 

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