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Matthew’s Place

Pride or Fear — The Disturbing Rise of LGBTQ+ Attacks this June

by Judy Bokao

Image Credit: Bogdan Globa at Atlantic Council

This Pride month, anti-LGBTQ+ acts erupted across the world. In several countries, events were interrupted with riots, mass shootings, and police brutality. While they intend to make us afraid, we are determined to instead stay informed, stay upset, and more than anything, remain proud.

NORWAY

In Norway, an armed man launched an attack in a famous gay bar in Oslo. According to reports, the man walked into the club and started shooting bullets, killing two people and seriously injuring at least ten. It is unclear what motivated his attacks as the suspect refuses to cooperate with the investigation. Police however suspect that sexual orientation and gender identity motivated the attack. The devastating incident led to Pride events being canceled immediately, with Norway also raising its terrorism threat assessment to the highest level.

TURKEY

Pride month in Turkey started with heavy riot police presence and the arrest of 11 LGBTQ+ activists who had met to celebrate the beginning of Pride Month. The activists later accused the police of torturing them and posted picture showcasing bruises they suffered. Even with the ongoing police crackdown, many LGBTQ + individuals still took to the streets to celebrate. The authorities had initially issued a seven-day ban on gatherings “in open and closed spaces” in an attempt to prevent the Pride march from taking place. The police reacted by breaking up Pride events and arresting random people in several bars in the Cihangir district near Taksim where a Pride March was taking place.

USA

In the U.S., it would be an understatement to say it was an eventful month. Pride month this year saw a rise of attacks especially by anti- LGBTQ+ rioters. In Idaho, 31 members of a white nationalist group called Patriot Front were arrested and charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor. The men had allegedly planned to riot near a Pride event in Idaho. The men had masks on their faces and had riot gear that included shin guards, shields, helmets, and at least one smoke grenade. According to the authorities, they even had an operations plan to detail their actions once they arrived at the Pride event.

There was also another attack by The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group who stormed San Lorenzo Library in Dulce and proceeded to shout homophobic slurs. They were dressed in t- shirts with pictures of assault rifles and the words ‘Kill your local pedophile’ written on them. It is clear that these extremist groups are targeting Pride events to intimidate event goers from celebrating their full selves.

Drag Queens also found themselves as the next target for anti-LGBTQ+ politicians. This came after a video of kids enjoying a drag show in Texas went viral. State Rep. Bryan Slaton immediately released a statement saying that he will be filing legislation to ban children from attending drag shows. Some of his fellow Republicans from other states also joined in on the conversation claiming it was sexualization and endangerment of kids .

The Supreme Court made a stunning decision to overturn Roe vs Wade and ending the constitutional right to abortion. The overturn of Roe vs Wade is bound to have an adverse effect on the LGBTQ+ community. It has created loopholes and vulnerabilities that may take the queer advocacy and rights back. Many took to the streets to protests the Court’s decision and show support to women and LGBTQ+ community.

It is sad that these events took place in Pride Month when we should be celebrating and refocusing our energy on pushing for equality. It is frustrating that Pride events and gatherings are now targets for mass shootings and anti-LGBTQ+ riots. It is even worse that the leaders who are supposed to protect our human rights are busy doing the most to strip them away. Instead of moving forward, we will be going back with constant reminders that it is unsafe to be openly ourselves. Despite this month including relentless attacks against LGBTQ+ people, no one ever can or will take away our pride.

About the Author:

Judy Bokao was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.

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