Bias crimes are increasing and so are armed protests.
There Have Been 141 Protests & Threats Against Drag Events This Year
Some of the incidents were violent, and the largest number took place in Texas, according to an updated report by GLAAD.
By Trudy Ring
December 17, 2022
At least 141 protests and threats against drag events across 47 states have happened in the U.S. this year, according to research by GLAAD and Equality Texas.
These include incidents during Pride celebrations “and false rhetoric against performers deployed in campaign ads for the midterm elections,” the research report says. “The analysis shows increasingly violent rhetoric and incidents as the year progressed, including armed white supremacists demonstrating in Texas and the firebombing of a Tulsa donut shop that had hosted a drag event in October. Equality Texas documented additional targeted events throughout the year, including an armed demonstration and confrontation in San Antonio.”
Texas has the dubious distinction of leading all states with 20 documented incidents. North Carolina was next with 10, followed by Illinois with eight, Tennessee and California with six each, and Georgia with five. There were no incidents reported in three states — South Dakota, Rhode Island, and West Virginia — and the District of Columbia. Some may have taken place, but they weren’t covered by the media.
In addition to the firebombing in Tulsa, the violent occurrences included armed protesters threatening events in Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Nevada. In Eugene, those who objected to a drag performance threw smoke bombs and rocks. In South Carolina, there was a bomb threat against a restaurant hosting a drag brunch, along with threats to kill the performers.
We have seen two protests here in Connecticut and the around the northeast there were 16 other protests, their animosity towards us knows no bounds.
Down in Texas the school board pulled all the LGBTQ+ books from the library and it caught the attention of the feds. NBC News reported that,
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights notified Granbury school officials on Dec. 6 that it had opened the investigation following a July complaint by the ACLU, which accused the district of violating a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender. The ACLU complaint was based largely on an investigation published in March by NBC News, ProPublica and the Tribune that revealed that Granbury’s superintendent, Jeremy Glenn, instructed librarians to remove books dealing with sexual orientation and people who are transgender.
The comments, combined with the district’s subsequent decision to remove dozens of library books pending a review, fostered a “pervasively hostile” environment for LGBTQ students, the ACLU wrote in its complaint. Chloe Kempf, an ACLU attorney, said the Education Department’s decision to open the investigation into Granbury ISD signals that the agency is concerned about what she described as “a wave” of anti-LGBTQ policies and book removals nationally.
“In this case it was made very clear, because the superintendent kind of said the quiet part out loud,” Kempf said in an interview. “It’s pretty clear that that kind of motivation is animating a lot of these policies nationwide.”
And what is the message it is sending the children?
All of that — including the fact that Glenn has never apologized or walked back his comments — has created an unwelcoming environment for LGBTQ students in the Granbury district, the ACLU argued in its complaint.
“These comments, combined with the book removals, really send a message to LGBTQ students in the districts that: ‘You don’t belong here. Your existence is shameful. It should be censored,’” Kempf said.
This is why we need to vote the Republicans out of Congress, it they ever get a trifecta with the Congress and the presidency we will be in deep doo doo. They will pack the courts with evangelical Christians and pass anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and I wouldn’t doubt they would repeal the marriage equality bill that just passed.
The Christian Science Monitor (Don’t let the name bias you, they are very liberal.) had this to say about what the future holds for us. In the article Curious about US trend toward LGBTQ equal rights? Look at Colorado by Sarah Matusek she writes,
Now justices are revisiting free speech in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, whose Colorado plaintiff Lorie Smith, a graphic artist, is the owner and founder of 303 Creative. She would like to begin designing custom wedding websites for clients, but based on her Christian conviction that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, she would also like to be able to legally decline creating sites with same-sex marriage messages. Her legal team argues that the Colorado public-accommodation law is censoring her speech.
Critics see a Pandora’s box ready to burst. The pendulum of Colorado state law has “swung in favor of LGBT people,” says Scott Skinner-Thompson, associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School. “The First Amendment in particular is now being weaponized to limit those protections.”
They are using religion to hide their bigotry behind it, can you imagine if they said it was their religious belief that Blacks can be refused service or that a Jew or Muslim can be refuse to be rented an apartment what an outcry there would be but somehow discrimination against us is okay.
The Grio wrote...
The states that saw the most threats and demonstrations against drag events in 2022 were Texas with 20, North Carolina with 10, Illinois with eight, Tennessee and California with six each and Georgia with five.
Violence or the use of weapons was present in numerous occurrences involving extremist organizations, including the Proud Boys, Patriot Front and local white nationalist groups.
Someone sent a bomb threat via email to a South Carolina local news station, alleging that there were multiple bombs put at a restaurant hosting a drag brunch and that they would murder the performers and patrons if discovered.
In Ohio, a church hosted a drag story hour that was protested by about 50 Proud Boys extremists wearing full face masks, helmets, flak jackets and long weapons. In Arlington, Texas, alleged Proud Boys obstructed sidewalks at many LGBTQ-inclusive events while falsely accusing participants of being “pedophiles.”
In Katy, Texas, armed protesters disrupted a drag bingo fundraiser by saluting in the Nazi fashion. Local authorities in Memphis, Tennessee, said Proud Boys were among the armed protesters who showed up before a scheduled drag show at the Museum of Science and Industry in September, prompting the last-minute cancellation of the event.
A letter-to-the- editor in the Columbus Dispatch by Rev. Neil Elliott an Episcopal priest and biblical scholar wrote,
The bedrock principle is that law enforcement must protect free speech.
When a “heckler” so threatens the safety of a speaker that authorities don’t think they can perform that duty and cancel or close down the speech event, the heckler enjoys a “veto” enforced by the authorities themselves.
But this is not a “bedrock principle." It is a fallback measure required when the police have failed to protect free speech.
Hoffman is quite right to express alarm that extremists threatening violence — like the heavily armed military cosplayers who showed up to intimidate the “Holi-drag Storytime” performers and attendees — are becoming increasingly normalized.
In this particular case, police did not close down the event (as in Hoffman’s “heckler’s veto” scenario); the organizers did — after what some of them described, with frustration, as the “casual, distant acknowledgment” of their very real concerns by police.
Officials have denied this characterization.
But they have had to defend video of a police officer high-fiving armed Proud Boys as a “dialogue” officer just doing his job. (Dispatch columnist Tom Decker suspected the “hint of a smile” on the cop’s face belied that easy out.)
The Rev. Neil Elliott, Ph.D., is an Episcopal priest and biblical scholar. As Episcopal chaplain at the University of Minnesota, he and other ministry colleagues were recognized with the university Equity and Diversity Office’s Breaking the Silence Award in 2004.
No video has yet emerged of police officers offering cheery greetings to storytellers in drag — ostensibly and legally the people they are sworn to protect.
I am not holding my breath.
What has characterized actual fascism and totalitarianism historically is a close tacit coordination between police forces and organized civilian gangs who enjoy relatively more freedom to harass, intimidate, and terrorize a targeted minority.
The Proud Boys are in this sense most like the Brown Shirts in Nazi Germany — though without their ability to coordinate outfits.
Free speech doesn’t involve intimidation by armed protesters! As the writer said this is something out of the 1930s.
I was watching a Sunday morning talking heads program and one of the pundits said that the pendulum will take about 10 to 20 years to swing back in our favor. I don’t know about you but I don’t have 10 or 20 years to wait.