Anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremism spiked during Pride Month 2023, report finds

Revellers carry rainbow-coloured balloons that spell out PRIDE at a Pride parade in Denver, Colorado on June 25, 2023

A recent report has revealed a shocking increase in hate and extremism during Pride Month 2023, compared to previous years.

Research conducted for and published by GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League found that there were at least 145 anti-LGBTQ+ extremist incidents reported in the US during June’s Pride Month this year.

It also found that, from June 2022 to April 2023, at least 356 extremist incidents took place in the US against LGBTQ+ people and groups.

These reported incidents included 305 cases of harassment, 40 incidents of vandalism and 11 reported assaults.

Among the 46 total US states that saw documented cases, California, Florida, New York and Texas had the highest number of incidents.

“This new report makes abundantly clear that extremism is escalating against LGBTQ+ people and endangers every America,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said. “A supermajority of Americans support LGBTQ+ people and our right to be safe.

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“Extremists, including elected officials, must be held accountable for inciting violence and using vile rhetoric against marginalised people who just want to live in safety and peace.”

According to findings, between June 2022 and April 2023, 49 per cent of all incidents were perpetrated wholly or substantially by individuals with association to extremist, right-wing groups.

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Many of these incidents also merged with other forms of hate, with 128 citing antisemitic tropes and 30 involving racist rhetoric.

One of these incidents included a man who shot and killed a passerby in front of her girlfriend while yelling anti-gay slurs in a gas station in Texas.

Twenty-three-year-old Bradley Jacob Stanford was reportedly witnessed interacting with 24-year-old Akira Ross and her partner in the Cedar Park gas station before opening fire while screaming slurs. Ross was pronounced dead at the scene.

Stanford was charged with first-degree murder and sent to Williamson County Jail.

The research noted that 191 of the incidents of harassment, vandalism and assault make reference to slurs such as the “groomer” conspiracy theory, which was the most cited anti-LGBTQ+ trope in the report.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A Greenblatt said that the research provides a “sobering” picture of the rising anti-LGBTQ+ hatred in the US, which they said was sparked by “organised extremist activity”.

“We hope these stark findings serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers, civil society leaders, and community leaders to stand up to this onslaught of hate and support our LGBTQ+ community,” Greenblatt continued.

The nonprofit groups urged lawmakers to protect LGBTQ+, faith-based and other targeted communities from unjust hate in the US while citing that public opinion of LGBTQ+ people is at an all-time high.

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In GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance Report, it found that 91 per cent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans agreed that LGBTQ+ people deserve to have the freedom to live their lives and not face discrimination.

Meanwhile, 84 per cent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans said they supported equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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