JOSH MARGOLIN and TEDDY GRANT
Tue, 16 May 2023 at 1:32 am BST
Threats of violence against the LGBTQIA+ community are on the rise and intensifying, according to a new briefing by the Department of Homeland Security.
The DHS document, distributed to government and law enforcement agencies on May 11, said that domestic violence extremists and people who commit hate crimes have increased threats of violence against the LGBTQIA+ community within the last year.
“These issues include actions linked to drag-themed events, gender-affirming care, and LGBTQIA+ curricula in schools,” DHS said.
DHS said that the issues inspiring threats and calls of violence against the LGBTQIA+ community could lead to a rise of potential attacks against larger targets, such as public spaces and healthcare sites that may be linked to the community.
DHS analysts also cite social media chatter celebrating the recent mass shooting at a Nashville church school.
“High-profile attacks against schools and faith-based institutions like the recent shooting in Nashville have historically served as inspiration for individuals to conduct copycat attacks,” DHS said.
In recent months, politicians in Tennessee, Florida and other Republican-run states have introduced legislation that critics say targets the LGBTQIA+ community.
In March 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by detractors.
The bill banned classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Last month, the Florida Board of Education expanded those restrictions to include all grades. In March, Tennessee became the first state to restrict public drag performances.
HB 9 and SB 3, signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, make “a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property” — or where it can be viewed by minors — a criminal offense.
Last month, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law, saying it was vaguely written and overly broad, according to AP.
At least 14 states have passed laws or policies that restrict gender-affirming care for people under the age of legal majority, which is the threshold for legal adulthood.
According to DHS, about 20% of all hate crimes reported throughout the country in 2021 were motivated by bias linked to sexual orientation and gender, citing the FBI’s hate crime statistics.
ABC News’ Kiara Alfonseca contributed to this report.
Threats against the LGBTQIA+ community intensifying: Department of Homeland Security originally appeared on abcnews.go.com