Today, the White House announced it would host the “United We Stand Summit,” an event to combat the spread of extremist violence and misinformation. The Summit comes at a time when hate-driven violence against people of color and LGBTQ+ people is on the rise. In just the last few months, 10 Black people were killed at a shooting in Buffalo, New York; white nationalists targeted a Pride event in Idaho; Proud Boys crashed Drag Queen story hour at a local library in California to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs; and Boston Children’s Hospital’s patients and providers have found themselves the targets of violent threats following a campaign of disinformation on Twitter.
In response, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement:
HRC recently released a report, Digital Hate: Social Media’s Role in Amplifying Dangerous Lies About LGBTQ+ People, alongside the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) that explicitly noted the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric online. The report found that the average number of tweets per day using slurs such as “groomer” and “pedophile” in relation to LGBTQ+ people surged by 406% in the month after the Florida “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill was passed, resulting in a sharp spike in online homophobia and transphobia. The report also reveals that the anti-LGBTQ+ content was largely driven by a small group of extremist politicians and their allies who together are driving a coordinated and concerted campaign to attack LGBTQ+ kids in an effort to rile up extreme members of their base ahead of the midterm elections.
According to the report’s findings:
In a matter of mere days, just ten people drove 66% of impressions for the 500 most viewed hateful “grooming” tweets — including Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw, extremist members of Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, and pro-Trump activists like “Libs of TikTok” founder Chaya Raicheck.
Posts from these 10 people alone reached more than 48 million views, and the top 500 most influential “grooming” tweets all together were seen 72 million times.
The report also notes that there are real life consequences to anti-LGBTQ+ hate being spread online.
Reports of violence and intimidation against LGBTQ+ people have been making news across the country: White nationalists targeted a Pride event in Idaho; Proud Boys crashed Drag Queen story hour at a local library in California to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs; and Boston Children’s Hospital’s patients and providers have found themselves the targets of violent threats following a campaign of disinformation on Twitter.
Legislative — Legislators in state houses across the country introduced 344 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this session, and 25 of them passed. These bills and laws attack the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender and non-binary young people and their families, preventing them from accessing age-appropriate medical care, playing sports with their friends, or even talking about who they are in school.
Mental Health Outcomes: More than 60 percent of LGBTQ+ youth said their mental health has deteriorated as a result of recent efforts to restrict access to things like gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Read the full report here.
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