Opinion: Anti-LGBTQ backlash could have deadly consequences

Editor’s note: allison hope is a writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Slate, and elsewhere. The opinions expressed here are those of the author. read more opinion on CNN.


It is every parent’s worst nightmare to see the safety or well-being of their children threatened. That’s what two gay fathers, Robbie Pierce and Neal Broverman, experienced this week when a man accosted them and their two young children. in an amtrak train from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

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The man yelled at them simply for being family, using anti-LGBTQ language Y homophobic tropes dating back decades. The attack, which was uniquely horrific because it involved the couple’s two young children, makes me fear for the safety of my own family at a time when the LGBTQ community already faces a series of violence.

Take the three people who were attacked when they were leaving a drag show in Old Town Pasadena, or the gay club in Brooklyn that was fireor the deaths of two black transgender women in Chicago, at least one of which was ruled a murder (the other is still under investigation). This was all in the last month, and does not capture the full scope of the heinous acts.

While attacks on our community are unfortunately nothing new, this current environment, in which public officials use dangerous rhetoric while street ticket sales who discriminate against us, feels more and more tense. It doesn’t help that some Republicans are increasingly perpetuating the damaging myth that liberals and members of the LGBTQ community are fix the kids – a move that shatters any illusions that the US fully understands and accepts our LGBTQ lives and experiences.

Pierce, who shared his experience in Twitter, wrote that while his family had encountered homophobia before, characterizations such as “pedophiles” and “rapists” were new. He blamed people who were eager to “stoke his lucrative culture war,” a cause embraced by Republican lawmakers like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed the “Don’t Say Gay” law banning any mention of sex. orientation or gender identity from kindergarten through third grade.

The bill is so broadly written that critics fear it could create an environment where teachers can be fired for mentioning a spouse and children can’t talk about LGBTQ family members. And now DeSantis has gone after the state of disney world as a “special independent district” after the company’s CEO said he would support repeal of the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

That’s just a bill. In all, more than 250 bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year with the goal of taking away rights of LGBTQ Americans, including in sports, libraries, schools, and other facets of civic life. There was even a recent attempt in Tennessee to define common law marriage as one between a man and a woman. Thankfully, the bill died before I left the general assembly, but I fear the fight to undo marriage equality it may just be beginning.

And let’s not forget, there is a correlation between hateful political rhetoric and an increase in hate crimes, acts of discrimination or violence. The Brookings Institution analyzed last year and found research that “suggests that inflammatory rhetoric from political leaders can make political violence more likely, give direction to violence, complicate law enforcement response, and increase fear in vulnerable communities.” In 2018, a right-wing party in Germany that shared sentiments against immigration on Facebook predicted violent crimes against refugees, according to researchers at the University of Warwick. and a analysis 2020 conducted by ABC found at least 54 criminal cases invoking President Donald Trump, who launched numerous verbal attacks against minorities and other groups, in connection with an act of violence, threats or alleged assaults.

The current anti-LGBTQ climate even made the White House press secretary tough as nails. Only Psaki cries during a podcast interview that was released this week. “I am going to get excited about this song because it is horrible. But it is the children who are being bullied, and all these leaders are taking steps to hurt them, hurt their lives and hurt their families,” she said.

As Psaki pointed out, lawmakers on the right are strangely obsessed with LGBTQ bills that marginalize those who are already vulnerable, instead of focusing on policies that would actually help their constituents. It’s certainly easier for lawmakers to exploit hot-button issues like denying trans kids healthcare than, say, lower healthcare costs for everyone. But elected officials are exploiting the ignorance of their constituents, igniting their base, and throwing LGBTQ Americans under the bus, all while shirking the real responsibilities that come with civil service.

bills like The Equality Law it would provide more universal protections against discrimination for LGBTQ Americans at the federal level and, perhaps most poignantly, it would send a message to all levels of government that we deserve the same protection. This would help prevent the statewide attacks against the LGBTQ community that we are now seeing across the country.

This backlash may be a response to the great progress and representation we have made in recent decades. more people are identifying as LGBTQ than ever before. More children have gay parents. We are seeing ourselves reflected in the media and culture and more public figures are out and about proud. For reasons I will never fully understand, the visibility and inclusivity that allows some people to step more fully into who they are makes others scared or angry.

In this moment of greatest urgency, to remain silent is to be complicit. Together, the full power of the LGBTQ community and our allies can help turn back this onslaught of hate.

My message to these politicians: you are stoking violence against your most marginalized citizens. Focus on issues like renewable energy or living wage jobs and make it easy for all people to live secure and fulfilling lives. Put down your swords in these so called culture wars and go find someone your own size!

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