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A Closer Look at Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric and Subsequent Violence

Nothing occurs in a vacuum.
A Closer Look at Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric and Subsequent Violence

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Welcome back to OptOut’s LGBTQ+ Newsletter.

In my last newsletter, I spoke about Nex Benedict, their death, and how the ongoing anti-LGBTQ+ discourse is a pressure cooker that brews the optimal conditions for hate and violence. I want to dive a little deeper into those connections this week, but I’d be remiss not to first mention TransLash Media’s podcast, The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality, which does this subject much more justice than I’ll be able to in the introduction to this newsletter.

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The last few years have seen a rise in anti-intellectualism that associates higher education with elitism and the perceived wrongdoing of the wealthy–people like Hilary Clinton, but never Donald Trump. These sentiments helped foster misinformation about COVID, vaccines, and the 2020 election results. It’s the same philosophy that breeds antisemitism, racism, sexism, genderism, and all of the other “isms” that otherize and vilify people who desire and advocate for civil rights. (The New Republic) Anti-intellectualism advocates for vocational schools over 4-year colleges on the mistaken belief that an electrician or plumber cannot also be well-read. It’s the same line of thinking that sees years worth of scientific backing for gender-affirming care as unreliable, but takes no issue with embracing debunked theories that call transness a social contagion. (Assigned Media)

Resentment toward academia and expertise has left us vulnerable and rife with contradictions. We are a country that will donate to help a presidential candidate pay for a hefty fraud bill while raging against “illegal” immigrants for not paying taxes. We are a nation that descends into moral panic over the need to “save our children” while also rolling back child labor prohibitions, covering up child sex abuse at the hands of clergy, refusing to fully face into a climate crisis that will render our planet unliveable for generations of children to come, banning life-saving care for trans youth, restricting abortion access while threatening to gauge government-assistance programs and curb birth control, and failing to call an ambulance after a child was assaulted in a school bathroom because of who they were. (DAME Magazine)

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Anti-intellectualism is a long-established precursor to fascism and right-wing state violence. The people who want abortion access, LGBTQ+ rights, and adequate environmental regulation are “woke, radical leftists, elites, intellectuals, and predators.” (The Humanist Report, Virginia Mercury) If queer and trans people cannot exist because they are preying on children, and if “government schools'' and libraries peddle to radical leftist elitism, then any books, lessons, and visible and verbal mentions of LGBTQ+ identities might be eradicated. (Idaho Capital Sun, Alabama Reflector) All of these measures enforce homogeneity and seek to create a world of Christian indoctrination because, allegedly, the best way to protect our children is to undermine their sense of self and belittle their intelligence–two efforts that do not cease on someone’s 18th birthday. (Arizona Mirror) And the more LGBTQ+ folks and their allies advocate for their humanity, the more they are vilified, the more their identities are conflated with harm and fear, and the more at-risk they are for hate, violence, and erasure. (Arizona Mirror)

The fight for equality needed to acknowledge its intersectionality long before Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term in 1989, and yet we remain largely unfocused on that truth. The fight for LGBTQ+ rights does not begin and end in queer, trans bodies. Unless you are an able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, white man, you too will come to be told that the Constitution was not written with you in mind. The removal of information from schools and libraries did not end with the book burning of World War II. You will search for your name and likeness on all the shelves just to come up empty. We will not be able to mark our doors to spare us from the ravages of climate change. Your house will flood just like mine. Banning abortion does not accompany safer, more equitable birthing centers or hospital conditions for pregnant people. You, too, might be forced into death on what was meant to be the happiest day of your life. Refugee camps along the border do not enhance the safety of the citizens on the other side. You are just many years down a bloodline that has forgotten you originated elsewhere, too.

I hope we can find a way to grasp the severity of the conditions of which we are a part. I hope we can find it in ourselves to save ourselves, to save each other.

With that, let’s get to it.

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More of the Latest

🏳️‍🌈 From The Appeal: “A report by the Vera Institute of Justice and Black & Pink highlights the many ways in which state prisons mistreat transgender people—nearly 90 percent of respondents said they’d been placed in solitary at some point.”

🏳️‍🌈 Writer Diffwys Criafol takes a closer look at the “queer” storyline in the film Saltburn. (QueerAF)

🏳️‍🌈 Judith Butler has a new book, Who’s Afraid of Gender?, and it couldn’t be more timely. (The New Republic)

🏳️‍🌈 In Arkansas, “some older LGBTQ+ people hide their identities or anticipate doing so to receive care they’ll need as they age,” since adequate housing for LGBTQ+ senior citizens is precarious and not guaranteed.  (Arkansas Advocate)

🏳️‍🌈 Anti-LGBTQ+ crusaders in Colorado, led by several pro-parental rights advocates and backed by “the far-right Christian nationalist movement,” are seeking to include several ballot measures to the state’s 2024 ballot, including one that, if approved, would amend the section of Colorado Constitution’s on inalienable rights to include parental rights. (Colorado Newsline)

🏳️‍🌈 Following the debated and uncertain candidacy of three trans women in Ohio, a new bill has been introduced that would ensure LGBTQ+ candidates no longer have to include their dead names on petitions. However, Republicans introduced a bill that “would make it easier to kick contenders off the ballot.” (Ohio Capital Journal)

Can you pitch in to help grow our LGBTQ+ program? We're raising money to make this LGBTQ+ newsletter weekly and expand our network of LGBTQ+-focused outlets—with the ultimate goal of making our communities safer and more equitable for all people. All donations are tax-deductible.


🏳️‍🌈 While this next piece speaks to the striking facts about LGBTQ+ suicide risks and rates, I’m including it as a positive because writer, advocate, and mother of a nonbinary child, Susan Stearns speaks to the importance of supporting our youth through the lens of her own experience. What’s more, her bio read that she “did not get it when her child came out to her and most definitely could have responded better had she taken the time to educate herself with the literature on the subject available in school and public libraries.” Such vulnerability and honesty is crucial and, I think, quite admirable, especially because such discourse works to counteract the increasing number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws being introduced in the state. (New Hampshire Bulletin)

🏳️‍🌈 In Canada, a new play depicts and inspects the intersectionality of queer-Muslim identity. (The Tyee)

🏳️‍🌈 In Ohio, a therapist helps their clients face their trauma through the power of nature and creativity. (The Buckeye Flame)


Thank you for being here, and thank you for your diligent, informed, and independent news consumption. Remember to hold each other. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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