Bigoted Attacks Are Injecting Fear Into Pride Month, But We Won’t Back Down

The tide of anti-queer and transphobia has risen to new heights in this year’s election. More than 300 anti-trans or anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced in 2022 alone — often by the same Republican lawmakers introducing anti-Black and anti-abortion bills. Over 25Several of them targeted trans teenagers and children, and have since been repealed. Republican politiciansAlong with right-wing pundits, influencers and pundits, they have encouraged their followers murder or otherwise harm transgender people, drag queens and queer people, and parents who support trans kids.

In times like this, it’s all the more important for LGBTQ people to come together in community to express rage, celebrate victories, protest injustice, and just love each other and have fun. People are nervous. As if COVID and monkeypox weren’t enough, this Pride month has seen tragic anti-LGBTQ violence in Oslo, Norway; Baltimore, Maryland; San Lorenzo, California; Palm Beach, Florida; Arlington, Texas; Apex, North Carolina; Coeur D’Alene, Idaho; Anacortes, Washington; Kalama, Washington; Karlsruhe, Germany; Kraaifontein, South Africa; Accra, Ghana; Kampala, Uganda; Jerusalem; and many more. In some of these incidents, groups of white supremacists were the perpetrators — including five Proud BoysSan Lorenzo Drag Queen Story Hour is being interrupted Proud Boys among others disrupting a drag brunch in Arlington and 31 Patriot Front members gathering in Coeur d’Alene to attack LGBTQ+ people at a Pride event.

White Christian Supremacy: The Interconnected Targets

White Christian supremacists often save most of their bullets to those who are Black or Indigenous, immigrants, Latinx or Jewish, Muslim or Asian, or act in solidarity with one of these groups. This includes many LGBTQ+ people. It also includes many straight cis people. Payton Gendron, the Buffalo gunman, thought trans advocacy groups were part of a Jewish plot that would lower white birth rates. But the people he killed were Black grocery-shoppers. Yet, anti-LGBTQ+ violent acts have always been a part of the larger white Christian extremist toolkit. White Christian supremacy, a gendered ideology and movement, is founded on patriarchy.

Theological reasons may also be cited for the anti-transness of white Christian supremacist ideology. Imara JonesHer explanations of some of them can be found in her seriesExploring the anti-trans hate machinery:

We have to understand that … they believe that the division of the world into men and women, each in their biblical roles, is the only way that God will return. And their faith is so structured around these patriarchal ideas, that they’re convinced that trans people are the ultimate threat to God Himself, to His divine order.

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Other aspects of the story are eugenic, based in the idea that it is desirable and possible to create a world with more or only people who are “fit” (read: non-disabled, healthy, white, Protestant, cis, straight, U.S. citizen, conservative) and fewer or none of everyone else. The Buffalo shooter was not the first to combine anti-LGBTQ hate and antisemitism. He speculated that trans identity, gender nonconformity, and same-sex relationships are the result of a Jewish plot to lower white Christian birth rates. White, Christian, nondisabled children who are raised by Christian adults (cis, straight and non-disabled) and protected from any other influences will eventually become Christian adults (cis, straight and non-disabled), who will then have more white, Christian, and non-disabled kids and pursue the white Christian supremacist agenda. They see white transgender and queer people who come from Christian backgrounds as either misguided victims that can be saved and rehabilitated into heterosexual normativity and cisgender normativity through Christianity or lost causes who cannot be allowed to influence others. And in trans and queer folks who are also Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, and in those who are also Jewish, disabled or Muslim, they don’t see people at all. Their tactics are designed for people in these groups to fall the most heavily on them. Anti-trans laws — by design — tend to harm Black trans folks the most. The at least 15In 2022, there were 12 trans people killed in the U.S., all of them Black, Latina, and Asian.

Police Won’t Save (Most of) Us

On June 11, a worker in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, called in a tip that a “little army” of men with shields were entering a U-Haul van. 31 white nationalists were arrested by police, who brought riot gear and a smoke bomb to attack LGBTQ+ people at Pride gatherings in 11 states. Various media outlets have praised the police for arresting these Patriot Front members — the same group that famously descended on Charlottesville2017 One might think that the police in this case are white supremacy opponents and act in allyship to LGBTQ people. But that would be wrong.

Let’s look a little closer at the actors involved.

These arrests were made by Sheriff Bob Norris from Kootenai County and Police Chief Lee White. They were framed as riot prevention. Like most other states, Idaho police favor white people over black and Indigenous people. According to the ACLUIn Idaho, overall, police are 3.9x more likely to arrest a Black person in connection with cannabis possession than a White person. That’s bad enough. In Kootenai County, though, the disparity soars even higher — sheriffs’ deputies are 6.2 times more likely to arrest a Black person than a white person for cannabis possession. While it’s trickier to find county-level statistics regarding Indigenous people, Idaho law enforcement also targets these communities. Jeanetta Riley, a Suquamish tribe descendant, is one among the Indigenous people Idaho police have arrested. killed. A federal studyAnalyzing the racial differences in how various states, including Idaho handle arrests of teenagers and children, we found that police were more inclined to refer Indigenous people (rather than release them back to their family with a warning) to authorities than any other race.

Norris, in particular, attended the conference a few months back. a Republican fundraiser featuring white nationalist speakers and guests, where a white nationalist speaker — Dave Reilly — thanked him for keeping them safe. A white supremacist publication wrote an article celebrating Norris’s election as sheriff because of his stance against enforcing mask mandates. Previously, he worked as a deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He reportedly donated$600 to the campaign Paul Tanaka, an undersheriff who was also connected to white supremacists, implicated with giving outPromotions based upon who donated to his campaign convictedFor interfering with an FBI investigation into corruption, widespread violence by deputies against people in his jail, he was charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice

I don’t know what Bob Norris believes. However, he supports a system which violently enforces white supremacy regardless of his beliefs. It’s not surprising that white supremacists saw the police as their friend, and are lashing outThey are being held for arresting Patriot Front members. It doesn’t matter if they are in OhioOr Russia, New YorkOr Turkey, again and again it has been the police who physically attack trans and queer people — especially Black and Indigenous people, and other trans and queer people of color who take to the streets.

As for the Pride event in Coeur d’Alene? It was the biggest, Jessica Mahuron said. Spokesman, “full of love and connection.” But numerous anti-LGBTQ groups organized counter-events and had a presence at the event itself, including some who walked through the event carrying guns or anti-LGBTQ signs. And Patriot Front members were not exactly neutralized — they filmed themselves handing out racist pamphlets after their arrest and ominously promised they would return.

It has been difficult for people and organizations to decide how to approach Pride this June, given the ongoing threat from COVID-19, police, vigilante and other hate violence. Some groups have cancelled events due to increasing COVID rates or death threats. Others have chosen to coordinate with law enforcement, hire private security firms, and request increased police presence. But of course, those have never been the only options — and for many trans and queer people, a police presence spells more danger, not safety.

Keep Each Other and Ourselves Safe

Trans and queer peoples have for many decades developed and practiced ways to keep their friends and family safe without relying upon the police. Safety is also a holistic concept. Safety from teargas is included in our discussion of making Pride events safe. And Safety from shooters and overdose AndFrom illness. We are here to help. keep teachingEach other’s safety tips.

Vision Change Win, a Black-led QTPOC social organization for social change, released a comprehensive Community Safety ToolkitEjeris Dixon wrote the majority of this book, but it also reflects oral traditions that have been passed down for decades. It covers topics such as deescalating conflict and treating tear gas. These tools should be familiar to all event planners.

Interrupting Criminalization has been formed, as well as the Community Resource Hub. pointing outFighting for the strategies that actually stop violence. Violence interrupter programs, increased investment in community organizations, improvements in the physical environment like better lighting, housing, green spaces, and even decriminalization have been shown to reduce violence.

A wide variety of people have been offering trainings in self-defense, community defense, and upstander intervention (tactical options that anyone can use). stop violenceThey will also be able to offer first aid, harm reduction, legal rights with police, and how they can respond to being threatened by a shooter. For example, according Rolling Stone, drag queens have continued reading to kids in libraries targeted by the Proud Boys — but they are working with the Anti-Violence Project to get trained and put protocols in place in case of further attacks.

Many digital events have their own website. own safety protocolsIn place to deal with Zoom bombers, terrorists, and other people who would cause harm.

This Pride, we must remember that white Christian supremacists can back down if they see us in numbers. They have tried to eradicate our magnificence from the world for centuries and have always failed. They will always fail as long as we love and protect one another.