A new report distributed to government and law enforcement agencies on May 11 by the Department of Homeland Security said that domestic violence extremists and people who commit hate crimes have increased threats of violence against the LGBTQ+ community within the last year.
DHS said that the issues inspiring threats and calls of violence against the LGBTQ+ 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. 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.
In recent months, politicians in Tennessee, Florida, and other Republican-run states have introduced legislation that critics say targets the LGBTQ+ community. In March, Tennessee became the first state to restrict public drag performances. In March 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by detractors. Last month, the Florida Board of Education expanded those restrictions to include all grades. DHS mentioned that high-profile attacks against schools and faith-based institutions have historically inspired individuals to conduct copycat attacks.