Anti-LGBTQ+ Activity Surges; NH Groups Blame Political Rhetoric
Monday, November 28, 2022
Human-rights activists in New Hampshire say the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills at the Statehouse is encouraging right-wing extremists to intimidate and threaten members of the community.
In the weeks leading up to the fatal shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, experts say anti-LGBTQ+ activity surged, including the recent protest of armed white nationalists at an LGBTQ+ family-friendly story hour in Concord.
Linds Jakows, co-founder of the group 603 Equality, said policies demonizing a specific group of people have real-world consequences.
"Everyone -- regardless of their family support or not -- should be able to find these safe spaces within our communities, without constantly looking over our shoulders," Jakows asserted.
Jakows pointed out lawmakers' efforts to ban books containing LGBTQ+ relationships, repeal the ban on conversion therapy or ban transgender people from public restrooms could all return in the next legislative session.
While Jakows noted Granite Staters have typically rallied in support of LGBTQ+ rights, the Colorado shooting should sound an alarm.
Government data show hate crimes have risen to their highest level in a decade, with the U.S. experiencing a record-setting year for mass shootings.
Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, said anti-LGBTQ+ language and legislation drive people to act.
"We have far too many politicians in New Hampshire who are contributing to some of the anti-LGBTQ+ or anti-Black rhetoric," Rice Hawkins contended. "And when people hear those in elected positions use language that 'others' people, that emboldens them to do the same."
Hawkins emphasized Granite State Progress is working to pass legislation on background checks, waiting periods and extreme risk protections for firearms purchases, policies she said many communities ask for after mass shootings, but are not yet on the books in New Hampshire.
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