Fear of more violence in US as anti-LGBTQ hate thrives online

WASHINTON: In the days after a gunman killed five people at a gay nightclub in Colorado last month, much of social media lit up with the now familiar expressions of grief, mourning and disbelief.
But on some online message boards and platforms, the tone was celebratory. “I love waking up to great news,” wrote one user on Gab, a platform popular with far-right groups. Other users on the site called for more violence.
The hate isn’t limited to fringe sites. On Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, researchers and LGBTQ advocates have tracked an increase in hate speech and threats of violence directed at LGBTQ people, groups and events, with much of it directed at transgender people.
The content comes after conservative lawmakers in several states introduced dozens of anti-LGBTQ legislation and amid a wave of threats targeting LGBTQ groups, as well as hospitals, health care workers, libraries and private businesses that support them.
“I don’t think people understand the state of danger that we’re living in right now,” said Jay Brown, senior vice president at the Human Rights Campaign and a transgender man. Hospitals in Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Washington, DC, and other cities received bomb threats and other harassing messages after misleading claims spread online about transgender care programmes.

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