In Idaho, police recently found 31 members of a group of white supremacists crammed into the back of a U-Haul truck, apparently on their way to an LGBTQ + event in the city of Coeur d’Alene.
Further west, a Proud Boys troupe disrupted a drag queen event in California, intimidating parents and children and shouting transphobic and homophobic insults. In Texas, a state plagued by anti-trans politics, a group of right-wingers yelled insults and threatened attendees at an adult-only brunch.
The incidents, which led to multiple arrests, occurred in a single weekend. It has been a concentration of anti-LGBTQ + hatred in America that came as a shock to some, but not to supporters and groups who have warned of an alarming increase in anti-trans and gay talk over the past year, especially from afar Right.
It’s an increase, they warn, that has been spurred on by Republican politicians and right-wing media, who have promoted discussion topics and anti-LGBTQ + laws that have seen the rights and safety of an already marginalized group threatened.
“While there is always a fringe and extremist element opposing LGBTQ equality, there has been a huge increase in misinformation and lies about LGBTQ people entering mainstream discourse,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of Glaad, one of America’s largest LGBTQ + rights organizations.
“When you have networks like Fox News and anti-LGBTQ outlets like Daily Wire, Brietbart and Daily Caller broadcasting horrific LGBTQ lies to millions of people, the natural result is an increase in threats and violence.
“When you have lawmakers like Governor Ron DeSantis, Rep Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Governor Greg Abbott not only spread disinformation, but target LGBTQ families with unfounded and harmful laws and policies, it empowers anti-LGBTQ extremists.” .
In March DeSantis, considered a leader in the presidential nomination of the Republican party in 2024, signed a controversial “don’t say gay” bill that prevents teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools. This month DeSantis moved to ban transitional assistance for transgender youth and this week he suggested that he could order Florida Child Protection Services to investigate parents taking their children to drag shows.
Taylor-Greene talked about drag artists like “Predatory children” – and has accused Democrats to be “the party of the killing of children, of the care and transition of children and of pro-pedophile politics”. In using the term “groomer”, Taylor-Greene was not alone.
Groomer has become a term of reference for many conservatives – “the most recent scary tactic chosen for the right,” as FiveThirtyEight described it. The newsletter traced the use of the term to early March, when Republicans began using the term in reaction to Democrats’ criticism of anti-LGBTQ + education laws.
“The right has produced a narrative that gay and trans people are ‘nursing’ children, fueled largely by TikTok’s Libs and amplified by Fox News,” Media Matters for America, a guard dog of the United States, reported in June. average.
Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most popular guest, said the discussion of gender identity in schools was tantamount to “treating seven-year-olds.” “When have our public schools, all schools, essentially become baiting centers for radicals of gender identity?” Ingraham asked in April as he discussed democratic opposition to DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay Law.
The situation has echoes of violence brought about by the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims that a cabal of Democrats and celebrities run a child sex ring. A number of believers of the theory have been arrested for committing crimes based on the invented theory.
The Anti-Defamation League said the claim that members of the LGBTQ + community are pedophiles has helped fuel extremism in recent weeks, and it hasn’t escaped notice that many of the threats against LGBTQ + people come from white nationalist groups. .
“The thing people lack in the name when it comes to white supremacy is that it’s not just about whiteness, as if whites are better than everyone else. It is a certain type of white person who is better off, “said Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of the National Coalition for Black Justicewhich supports black LGBTQ + people in the United States.
“And unfortunately LGBTQ people adjust to that. Whether we are LGBTQ people of color, like the ones who were targeted on Pulse night, or your white LGBTQ people like the ones targeted at some of last week’s events.
“You are not the right kind of white person. I’m not the kind of white person that these groups want to hold power and want to feel safe in this country. “
Nationally, LGBTQ + rights could be threatened by the planned overthrow of Roe v Wade, the supreme court decision that legalized abortion, given that the right to same-sex marriage was based on a similar legal basis to that lawsuit, and a wave of anti-LGBTQ + state bills – more than 320 of which have been introduced so far this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
But despite the noise generated by the right wing, polls suggest they are at odds with the general population.
In March, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 76% of Americans, including 62% of Republicans, support laws that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from discrimination in employment, housing, and public housing.
Joe Biden appeared to acknowledge this Wednesday, citing “heinous attacks” as he signed an executive order aimed at curbing discrimination against transgender youth and draining federal funding for the discredited practice of “conversion therapy.”
The order, however, falls short of the Equality Act, which would place a federal ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public spaces and federal programs. The law passed in the House in 2021, but is stalled in the Senate.
Kirby York said it is important to properly prosecute people who attack LGBTQ people or communities or use hate speech.
“But more than just the laws, we need to have more social conversations,” he said.
“We have to have some of these tough conversations at the dinner table at Thanksgiving.
“I’ve seen too many people just saying I give up, but you are probably the most equipped person to talk to your family about a different way of seeing people, especially if you know people who seem to be in love and are different from your family. So. it really takes everything “.