Unsafe in America: GLAAD data shows unprecedented violence against LGBTQ Americans

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Two weeks ago, GLAAD released their poll results of “LGBTQ Americans showing startling levels of fear in the wake of a record-setting year of legislative and political attacks on the community.” The poll was conducted just days leading up to the deadly mass shooting at Club Q, in Colorado Springs.

GLAAD’s President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, added in a statement, “Enough is enough. LGBTQ Americans are reporting feeling unsafe, and there is documented evidence as to why, even before the horror of this past weekend and the deadly attack on LGBTQ people in Colorado Springs. Extremist politicians have to stop using anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to score points and stoke fear. Social media companies and right-wing media must stop allowing vile lies about LGBTQ people to run rampant on their platforms. We’ve seen the consequences. We’ve seen enough.  It’s abundantly clear that something has to change in our politics and media to reject harmful rhetoric that leads to real life violence. Everyone should know they are accepted and safe.”

According to GLAAD’s poll, “72% of transgender respondents and 48% of LGBTQ community overall say current political environment makes them fear for their personal safety.” 

GLAAD also released a comprehensive analysis and count of attacks against drag events and performers throughout 2022. In 2022 alone, there were more than 120 threats and incidents in 47 against drag & drag-themed events. 

GLAAD’s research on 2022’s unprecedented year of targeting and threatening drag events and performers, has been comprehensive. Their research parameters included “incidents of protests and threats that forced organizers to cancel, reschedule or move events for the safety of performers and attendees,” as well as actual violence and weapons. 

The report highlights how extremist social media accounts elevate drag events with threatening and violent language, often riddled with inflammatory claims and misinformation. GLAAD also covers how right-wing media led politicians to propose bans and legal action against drag events and their performers. Such anti-drag legislation has already been proposed in six states, in the wake of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced across the country just this year. 

LGBTQ community centers across the country have been targeted by rising harassment and threats. According to GLAAD, “a  new report released by the Movement Advancement Project and Centerlink reviewed 208 LGBTQ community centers in 45 states and found that 71% had experienced hate or harassment over the past two years.” When asked about the type harassment and threats they received, the statistics were split into three categories – digital, online, and both. 56% of LGBTQ community centers reported digital harassment and threats, 54% reported offline harassment and threats (such as vandalism, hate mail, protests, etc.),  and 38% of centers reported having experienced both online and offline threats and harassment. 

GLAAD stated, “LGBTQ Americans are reporting feeling unsafe, and there is documented evidence as to why, even before the horror of this past weekend and the deadly attack on LGBTQ people in Colorado Springs. Extremist politicians have to stop using anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to score points and stoke fear. Social media companies and right-wing media must stop allowing vile lies about LGBTQ people to run rampant on their platforms. We’ve seen the consequences. We’ve seen enough.  It’s abundantly clear that something has to change in our politics and media to reject harmful rhetoric that leads to real life violence.”

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