The Anti-LGBTQ Hate Spike Revealed – Rolling Stone

LGBTQ Hate Incidents Explode

LGBTQ+ hate is on the rise, and a startling joint report from GLAAD and ADL offers hard numbers that document an epidemic of intimidation and violence.

The report charts 356 anti-LGBTQ+ incidents — ranging from harassment to mass shooting — in the period between June 2022 and April 2023. It finds that nearly half of these incidents are connected to individuals involved in extremist groups. But the report also underscores that the false “groomer” narrative — popularized not just by the far-right but by mainstream GOP politicians who’ve maliciously linked drag performance and trans identity to pedophilia — was at the root of 191 hate incidents.

“Extremism is escalating against LGBTQ people and endangers every American,” argues GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Extremists, including elected officials,” she insists, “must be held accountable for inciting violence and using vile rhetoric against marginalized people who just want to live in safety.” 

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of ADL, calls the report “a sobering snapshot” of the “deluge of hatred” faced by the LGBTQ+ community and insists it must “serve as a wakeup call” to both lawmakers and civil society. The report highlights that anti-LGBTQ+ hate is often not limited to that community — and that more than a third of the documented incidents were also marred by antisemitic or racist intent.

The incidents tracked in the report are harrowing. They include acts of:

  • Gun violence — as seen at the Club Q shooting in November in Colorado, where five people were shot to death;
  • Firebombings — of a donut shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and a church in Ohio that featured drag performers or drag story hours;
  • Mass arrests — of Patriot Front members before they descended on a Pride event in Idaho last summer; and
  • Death threats — phoned into the Human Rights Campaign, allegedly menacing: “We will fucking slaughter you… We’ll cut your throats.” 

The report records 5 deaths and 31 injuries from anti-LGBTQ+ violence, and also documents dozens of threats of intimidation and harassment. These numbers rely on public information and are likely an undercount. “Since many anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremism incidents go unreported,” the document cautions, “the true numbers are likely far higher.”

Anti-LGBTQ+ hate is brewing nationwide, with incidents documented in 46 states, red and blue alike. Within the queer community, drag performers have faced the brunt of the hate, experiencing what the report describes as “138 acts of harassment, vandalism and assault.” (Rolling Stone recently covered the backlash against drag performance, as well as how artists in red states are standing up.)

The joint GLAAD/ADL report comes amid divergent polling on public attitudes — and fierce, right-wing consumer backlash that seeks to punish brands like Bud Light and Target for making even small marketing overtures to the trans community. A GLAAD poll released earlier this month found that a record 84 percent of Americans “support equal rights for LGBTQ Americans.” 

New Gallup polling, however, records a big dip in the number of Americans who say that “gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable,” from an alltime high of 71 percent in 2022 to just 64 percent this year, a turnaround led by Republicans whose support has dropped from 56 percent to 41, amid the anti-LGBTQ+ panic led by haters and clout seekers.


Heading into a competitive Republican presidential primary season at a moment when anti-trans politics are uniting the right, the situation documented in the GLAAD/ADL report is likely to get worse. 

Just this week, in fact, the Justice Department announced it had arrested a man alleged to have been threatening violent disruption of Nashville’s upcoming Pride celebration — with “shrapnel pressure cooker bombs” or “a mass shooting.”

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