This year’s summer of Pride 2019 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, where LGBT+ people partook in iconic demonstrations of civil resistance in late June 1969. This link back to Pride’s radical roots exacerbated the celebratory atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance at Pride events, but also served as a reminder of the serious struggles faced by LGBT+ people internationally.
Unfortunately, although colourful displays of love have been at an all-time high, so has LGBT+ hate crime, according to a special report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). The US-based group aims to empower “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organising and education, and supports survivors through counselling and advocacy.”
Entitled Pride and Pain, the report observed that the two-month period between May 15 and July 15 saw an average of 1.75 LGBT+ homicides in the US per week, almost trebling the figure for weeks in 2019 previous. Furthermore, 10 of the 14 victims were black, half (7) being black trans women in particular. This registers the marginalisation of both people of colour and transgender women in the LGBT+ community.
Additionally, two deaths of trans women of colour were connected to their detention and incarceration; Salvadoran asylum seeker Johana Medina died in a hospital after ICE repeatedly refused to provide medical attention for her HIV-positive diagnosis.
These outbursts of violence are certainly not exclusive to the US – a 2016 study conducted by LGBTIreland found that one-fifth of LGBT+ people in Ireland were subject to physical attacks due to their LGBT+ identity. This was concentrated amongst gay males, 29.3% of whom reported that acts of physical violence had been taken against them. Even further, 12.2% of transgender participants had been attacked with a weapon.
This year’s Pride season in Ireland has also witnessed cruel acts of hate speech and protest, particularly from journalist Gemma O’Doherty, who also perpetrates anti-immigrant sentiments.
NCAVP reports 22 anti-LGBT+ protests organised by white supremacists groups such as MassResistance took place during the two months. Eighteen of these were targeted attacks against Drag Queen Story Hours (DQSH), a program where drag queens into US schools, libraries and bookstores to read stories of inclusion to children.
The report also includes an excellently designed but concerningly long timeline of occurrences of anti-LGBT+ hate and violence from May 15 to July 15, 2019.
“These incidents must be contextualised within a culture of hate that is encouraged by our current federal administration and president. From an increase in the number of legislative attacks on the rights and protections of LGBTQ communities to an increase in the severity of hate violence against LGBTQ people, our collective struggle continues,” the report points out. Trump’s vocally anti-LGBT right-hand man Mike Pence is set to visit Ireland early next month.
NCAVP conclude their Pride and Pain by highlighting the imbalance of numbers between anti-LGBT+ people and allies to the community. Although this summer saw small clusters of violent protest, “the LGBTQ community showed its determination to honour the memory of Stonewall by continuing to stand up in the face of discrimination, and for the dignity and safety for all.”
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