A U.S. data tracker has found the number of protests against the queer community has risen sharply across North America in recent months and groups that study online hate believe they know why.
“The data shows an uptick in anti-LGBT+ demonstrations in Canada alongside the larger increase in the United States,” said Sam Jones, communications lead for the Armed Conflict Location and Data Project. “More anti-LGBT+ demonstration events have already been recorded in Canada so far this year than in all of 2021 and 2023 is on track to exceed 2022.”
Canadian Anti-Hate Network executive director Evan Balgord says Canada is seeing the protests happening right across the country with multiple events happening every week.
“There are threats towards venues and threats towards drag performers,” said Balgord “We’re really seeing how the far right is pivoting to target queer spaces and these events. The priority (had been) COVID conspiracies and that is still a very dominant theme in their spaces of course but we’re seeing such a significant trend going after LGBTQ2 persons that we’re now calling this the next trend for the far right.”
“It’s the same age-old conspiracy,” said Balgord. “That queer people are pedophiles and coming after your children, they’re just rehashing it and using it against the trans community.”
Kris Wells, Canada Research Chair in the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Canada, says we’re seeing history repeat itself.
“I think we really need to understand and unpack who is protesting here. These are primarily white heterosexual men from the far right with religious backgrounds that are trying to demonize the LGBTQ2 community,” said Wells. “We’re seeing this anti-LGBT backlash all across the globe in places with populist movements and governments that are using the LGBTQ2 community as scapegoats to perpetuate stereotypes and misinformation for political gains.”
Anti-LGBTQ2 hate has been particularly prominent in the U.S., where lawmakers are actively working to limit gender expression and discussion of queer identity in schools and hateful rhetoric has spiked in conservative media channels.
“Right now we do need our LGBTQ2 allies to stand up (to this hate) because asking members of a vulnerable community to continue to experience these kinds of acts of hate and discrimination, it wears people down,” said Wells. “This is about basic human rights and respect and hate cannot be allowed to win, so it really requires everyone to loudly denounce hate when we see it.”
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