We must condemn hate speech and put pressure on politicians to ensure LGBTQIA+ rights and safety
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
On November 19, five people were killed and 17 injured in a mass shooting against the LGBTQIA+ community. The shooting took place at Club Q, a gay bar in Colorado Springs, a day earlier. Transgender Remembrance Day — a day to honor those “whose lives were lost in acts of violence against transgender people.”
The incident is a reminder of the long history of violence and oppression against LGBTQIA+ people in the US and has left the community in mourning, including some members of the Editorial Board. Regardless of our gender or sexual identities, the Editorial Board stands united with the LGBTQIA+ community in the US.
Hate crimes like this shooting are a frequent occurrence, caused in part by a lack of gun control. But a bigger problem is the prevalence of violent rhetoric against LGBTQIA+ people on digital media platforms and in politics.
Hate speech online has become a common occurrence which can lead to violent actions against the LGBTQIA+ community. For example, a Twitter account known as “TikTok Freedom” is an anti-LGBTQIA+ social media presence that spreads hate messages and misinformation to its fan base of 1.3 million. In addition to its large following, this account is particularly dangerous because it often attacks and harasses people based on their gender and sexual orientation, and the comment sections of its posts share the same sentiments thousands of times.
kyle rittenhouseanother ostensibly anti-LGBTQIA+ online presence that gained notoriety after shooting three men at a Black Lives Matter protest, he mocked an LGBTQIA+ event taking place in Colorado on his social media account just hours before the Q Club shooting occurred. Rittenhouse deleted his tweet after the news broke. of the shooting.
Many influencers and politicians have similarly posted hateful comments towards a community and then retracted when an incident of violence occurred. For example, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado has spread anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric on Twitter, calling LGBTQIA+ people “coaches” and stating that children should not make “life-changing decisions”, referring to coming out as gay or transgender. But after the Club Q shooting, Boebert tweeted: “The news from Colorado Springs is absolutely terrible. This morning the victims and their families are in my prayers. This lawless violence must end and end quickly.” Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized her for voting against gun control in Congress and spreading hate online and then turning around and posting a sympathetic tweet.
anti-transgender laws in the US they have also contributed to the violent rhetoric discussed above. Such laws include banning gender-affirming healthcare, restricting access to use appropriate facilities such as restrooms, limiting trans students’ participation in sports, and making it difficult to change your name and gender on official documents. . Additionally, in the state of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis passed a law known as “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits teachers at public academic institutions from providing classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
All of these examples normalize and contribute to violence against the LGBTQIA+ community. Those who have contributed must take responsibility for their actions and be held accountable. Instead of sharing condolences when violent attacks occur, they should change their actions to prevent these incidents from happening again. Additionally, it is important that allies and community members continue to push elected officials to enact policies that uphold LGBTQIA+ rights and ensure the safety of LGBTQIA+ people.
Written by: The Editorial Board