On November 30th, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a domestic terror threat warning for the LGBTQ+, Jewish, and migrant communities. This warning comes a little over a week after the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which left five dead and many injured.
It is no surprise that the United States has seen a dramatic increase in hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. In 2022 alone, legislators introduced an overwhelming 200+ (nearly 670 since 2018) anti-LGBTQ+ bills. According to GLAAD, 29 states have attempted to restrict access to life-saving, transition-related care for trans youth. Some states even tried to prohibit access to public bathrooms for transgender and gender non-conforming folks. These bills, both proposed and passed, are inhumane and degrading. Healthcare should be a human right, using the bathroom is human nature. But, unfortunately, our right to choose and relieve ourselves is being dictated by bigoted legislation.
“In the coming months, DHS expects the threat environment to remain heightened and threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence.”
As a result of the increased attack from legislators infringing upon LGBTQ+ rights, we have seen a spike in hate crimes and increased activities from domestic terror groups, such as the Proud Boys, a neofascist and white nationalist group. For example, Donut Hole, a donut shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was firebombed around 2:30 am on October 31st. This attack came shortly after the local shop hosted a drag event. Luckily, the shop managed to escape with minimal damage.
More recently, the Proud Boys showed up to a then-canceled drag show story hour in Columbus, Ohio, on December 3rd, 2022. The event was canceled due to a conflict regarding how best to handle the safety of attendees and performers. Even though the event was canceled, this did not stop the Proud Boys from appearing armed to harass and threaten folks who were already present.
If I am being honest, it is terrifying to be queer and trans right now.
We are being politically and physically attacked in a nation that’s supposed to be the land of the free. In reality, it is only free for those who benefit from the systems of oppression. Cisgender heterosexual legislators and domestic terror groups are making it increasingly difficult to exist in the United States.
Now is when allies need to check in with their LGBTQ+ friends and family. They need to stand with us as we fight for our human rights. How can you do this? There are simple ways that you can support the LGBTQ+ community.
1. Donate to a local or national LGBTQ+ organization.
Organizations such as The Trevor Project, which provides mental health assistance for LGBTQ+ youth, or the Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), are among several critical resources for queer and transgender folks. Donating or becoming involved can provide greater access.
2. Consider donating to transition-related or gender-affirming funds.
Not every transgender or non-binary person has the same experience while transitioning. Not every trans or non-binary person transitions. Whether it’s for clothing or a procedure, transgender folks, especially trans people of color, experience a higher rate of poverty. Buying gender-affirming clothing, saving for surgeries, and buying HRT-related items can become increasingly difficult. So, donating to a trans person in need can make access easier and increase their quality of life.
3. Educate yourself.
I’m queer and trans, so I have done my fair share of educating. This work is taxing, and asking for unpaid labor during trying times can be too much to handle. But if you are unsure about terminology, sites like HRC provide a glossary of terminology, which is a great way to get started. Want to become a better ally? Straight for Equality has resources that can help you continue the journey of becoming a better ally.
4. Contact your local legislators.
Don’t be silent regarding anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Tell your legislators that you disagree with their proposed bills and discuss how they are harmful. You can also speak at open city council meetings.
“History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable. It happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.” – Marsha P. Johnson
Marginalized communities have been abused and neglected for centuries. Just because we are queer and trans does not mean we should be treated inhumanely. Now is the time to speak up against hate and continue fighting for our rights and freedom to exist. We will not go back any longer.