Threats Against LGBTQIA+ Community Intensifying, DHS Warns
The FBI recently determined 20% of all hate crimes reported in 2021 were motivated by bias linked to sexual orientation or gender.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned last week that threats of violence against the LGBTQIA+ community are on the rise and intensifying.
In a document distributed to government and law enforcement agencies on May 11, DHS said domestic violence extremists and others known to commit hate crimes have increased these threats within the last year. The issues inspiring these threats, says DHS, could lead to a rise of potential attacks against larger targets, such as public spaces and healthcare sites that may be linked to the LGBTQIA+ community.
“These issues include actions linked to drag-themed events, gender-affirming care, and LGBTQIA+ curricula in schools,” said the document.
DHS also cited social media discussions praising the recent mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, warning high-profile attacks against schools and faith-based institutions “have historically served as inspiration for individuals to conduct copycat attacks.”
According to the FBI’s hate crime statistics, 20% of all hate crimes reported in the U.S. in 2021 were motivated by bias linked to sexual orientation and gender. The Williams Institution of the UCLA School of Law also reported in 2022 that “LGBT people [are] nine times more likely than non-LGBT people to be victims of violent hate crimes.”
Furthermore, according to Los Angeles Blade, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project found that anti-LGBTQ incidents, including “demonstrations, acts of political violence, and the distribution of offline propaganda have more than tripled from 64 events in 2021 to 193 events in 2022 as of mid-November.”
In more recent months, politicians in several states have introduced legislation critics say targets the LGBTQIA+ community. In April, the Florida Board of Education expanded the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents, to ban classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in all grades, according to ABC News. The bill originally applied to K-3.
In March, Tennessee became the first state to try and restrict public drag performances under HB 9 and SB 3. The bill, signed by Governor Bill Lee, was temporarily blocked by a federal judge who said it was vaguely written and overly broad, reports AP.
A recent study from the Trevor Project found these restrictive state laws are significantly impacting LGBTQIA+ youth. About 86% of transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health, with 55% saying it has impacted their mental health “very negatively,” according to the report. Additionally, 71% of LGBTQIA+ youth say state laws restricting the rights of LGBTQ young people have negatively impacted their mental health.
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