Anti-LGBTQ protests up 300%, ‘strongly’ linked to violence

  • Right-wing extremists have held at least 55 protests against LGBTQ people this year, ACLED reported.
  • That’s more than just 16 such protests in 2021, an increase of more than 340%.
  • According to ACLED, a watchdog group, far-right activity is “strongly” linked to violence.

Across the country, armed right-wing extremists have turned up in libraries Y churches to intimidate parents and children who attend drag queen story hours. Groups like the Proud Boys combine reading books by members of the LGBTQ community with predatory “grooming” of children.

Hospitals providing gender-affirming care have received death threats after being objective by social media influencers like Chaya Raichik, the former real estate agent who runs the “Libs of TikTok” account on Twitter, and who appears on primetime rants by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

Other easy targets for the far right have included gay pride parades. Over the summer, 31 members of the neo-Nazi Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho after a concerned citizen reported that he had seen them loading a U-Haul with what appeared to be a “little army“of men in riot gear.

As of the end of November, far-right activists participated in at least 55 public actions targeting members of the LGBT+ community, up from 16 the previous year, an increase of around 340%, with a corresponding increase in violent attacks against individuals. perceived as being gay or transgender, according to the report released this week by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, or ACLED.

See also  Pima Supes declares abortion and reproductive health a 'basic right'

Open white nationalism remains the most common feature of far-right protests and militia activity, according to the group, which began monitoring the American far-right in 2020 after years of reporting on political violence abroad. Of the roughly 750 far-right events that have taken place this year, on track to surpass the 780 held in 2021, about 21% have been explicitly racist in nature, a finding that comes after the FBI issued a report warning that white supremacists continue to “represent the main threat” of domestic terrorism, account for more than half of all politically motivated killings in the last decade.

While racism remains the main driver of the far right, anti-LGBTQ actions have “driven the largest increase in far-right protest activity,” the report states, and the increase in such activity correlates “strongly ” with an increase in violent attacks. of which there have been no fewer than 20, including the murder last month of five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs. Although we do not have a specific motive, the suspect has a history of online and offline intolerance.

Such deadly attacks are often carried out by self-described vigilantes who are not formal members of any far-right groups, Roubadeh Kishi, ACLED’s director of research, said in an interview. But where these groups are most active is tied to where the attacks occur.

“They’ve been inspired by the rhetoric they might be seeing online and the mobilization they might be seeing offline,” Kishi said. “Those people are then deciding to take matters into their own hands and engage in violence.”

See also  Let Newberg's bigotry be a warning to Oregon

It is almost impossible to link any act of violence to a specific case of hateful propaganda to which the perpetrator was exposed. It’s also hard to pinpoint the start of the latest moral panic: are those on the extremist fringe doubling down on anti-LGBTQ activity because of its established relevance as an issue among the mainstream right, or are they in fact driving the conversation forward?

“The reality is there’s a bit of a feedback loop here,” Kishi told Insider. If a dominant platform broadcasts an attack against a minority group, then radicals will increase their activity around that type of attack as a means of recruiting, while perhaps masking their other views, such as organizing under the guise of simply defending “freedom.” expression”. , a strategy known as entryism (ACLED data shows that, despite such rhetorical appeals to the First Amendment, a far-right presence at a rally makes the protest “nearly five times more likely to turn violent or destructive “).

The theme of the day will change over time. In 2020, it was pandemic restrictions, Black Lives Matter, and false claims of voter fraud. In 2021, anti-racism in education, dubbed “Critical Race Theory,” was the topic that brought together leading conservatives and right-wing extremists. In light of a generally disappointing 2022 election for candidates who focused on issues of sex and gender, the coming year will likely bring something different, if not entirely new (think “political correctness” in the 1990s becoming ” wake up” in the 2020s).

“Usually it ends up being a revival of some kind of old narrative, presented in a new way,” Rishi said.

See also  Mexico to Japan: LGBTQ rights and recycling expand

Do you have a news tip? Email this reporter: [email protected]