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New Reports Reflect Dangerous Rise in Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate and Extremism

The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is a think tank focused on human rights and reversing the rising tide of polarization, extremism, and disinformation. They published a report documenting the increase in anti-LGBTQ+ hate worldwide over the last year. The report points to the movement to get rid of drag shows as part of a larger movement to denigrate LGBTQ+ individuals. The anti-drag show coalition includes far-right groups, conspiracy theorists, fundamentalist religious activists, and anti-LGBTQ+ influencers from the right of the spectrum. The U.S. is the only country where this is occurring in conjunction with a "substantial number of elected representatives of a mainstream party engaging in anti-drag rhetoric and action." Moreover, the U.S. is the only country where legislation has passed and where there have been violent attacks against drag events. ISD points to an unfounded conflation of drag performers with transgender/non-gender conforming individuals among all the countries studied, as though drag shows are the gateway to being transgender. 

The Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD (a non-profit organization focused on LGBTQ+ advocacy) also found increased harassment, assault, and vandalism incidents targeting the LGBTQ+ community from June 2022 to April 2023. Calling LGBTQ+ people "groomers" or engaging in "pedophilia" theories are the most cited alleged justifications for the 191 incidents. Almost half of those incidents were perpetrated by people in extremist groups. There is real concern about the dangers of the rise in extremist activity against the community. ISD warns we face "dangerous backsliding toward hate and violence directed at LGBTQ+ people." The Proud Boys are the leading U.S. groups against anti-drag activity, with Twitter and TikTok as the primary source online. The data used by the reports only captures publicly reported data, suggesting there may be many more incidents going unreported.