The elevated visibility of white nationalists and emboldened religious hate groups boasting the endorsement of the Trump Administration has made the streets of America as dangerous for LGBT and people of color since the 1960’s.
In New York City, the birthplace of the LGBT movement, the epicenter of pride, the city that celebrates it’s cultural diversity and inclusion, a White Supremacy group known as Proud Boys violently attacked a group of peaceful protesters, hurling anti-gay slurs as they pummeled their victims on the sidewalk in front of a club in Manhattan’s lower East side.
This is one of those nights where things seem even more fucked up when editing/reviewing my photos. It wasn’t until I wanna editing that I realized how many fights were happening at once.
After the vicious attack which injured several bystanders, the alt-right group gathered to take a celebratory photo… and the New York City police department did nothing in response to the attack leaving many asking why. The authorities refuse to provide any answers.
Since Trump has taken office, we’ve seen the growing radicalism of his base become increasingly violent. In Charlottesville, a White Supremacist group of Trump Supporters called “Unite The Right” held a rally to demonstrate their intolerance toward LGBT and black communities. There were counter-protesters present, carrying placards and signs condemning the hatred that had shamelessly marched down the streets, parading their bigotry. Unite The Right attendees turned violent and ultimately, a riot ensued wherein they even attacked the police.
In one of the darkest moments, they brutally beat an black bystander and Neo-Nazi James Fields decided to weaponize his vehicle and plow it into the crowd of protesters that left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead and dozens more injured.
A year after the deadly attack, Unite The Right boldly applied for- and was granted- a license to hold a second rally on the anniversary of their first; This was intended to celebrate the pain, chaos and death they’d brought to their opposition. They felt they’d won.
In fact, their hate parade spawned hundreds more just like it in backwoods towns and major cities as Alt-Right extremists began developing local branches and offshoot hate groups feeling wildly confident by our Presidents refusal to condemn their racism, bigotry, xenophobia and misogyny. He referred to them as “Some fine people,” effectively providing a presidential stamp of approval.
Indeed, the president and his administration have aligned with well known evangelical based hate groups. Bother the President himself and his VP have given keynote speeches during the Voters Values Summit, a notoriously anti-gay, anti-trans collective of evangelicals who use the conference to preach that homosexuality should be criminalized, trans women are the downfall of society and they pass around shocking propaganda pamphlets. It is the first time that American leaders have shown solidarity with such divisive hate groups.
The president is addressing the Values Voter Summit today. Here's what they're giving guests in a swag bag: "The Hazards of Homosexuality
Some LGBT and people of color are understandably afraid. We have every right to be afraid. The direction that America is going has the potential to have a devastating effect on our communities. Our healthcare will be compromised, given Trump has founded the Division of Religions Freedom and Moral Conscience that will allow medical professionals to refuse us treatment based solely on our sexual orientation or gender identity. Trump has effectively banned the word “Transgender” and “Vulnerable people” from any missives between the White House and the CDC. He has tried multiple times to ban Transgender people from serving in the military. His Zero Tolerance policy resulted in the separation of immigrant families at the border and babies locked in cages.
It is a perfectly reasonable emotional response to be frightened about what the future holds as we approach mid-term elections. Whether or not democrats win the house, the split down the middle of the nation and dramatically opposing world views will likely provoke only more discord and social chaos as the conservative retaliate, likely claiming the results are rigged if they don’t prove favorable. The violence will intensify and the targets that have been painted on the backs of people of color and the LGBT community will only invite more aggression from neo-nazi’s who will be outraged at the prospect of a political loss of power having exposed themselves so unapologetically. They can’t simply disappear again.
We are in danger. Our public safety is on the line. Our ability to thrive in society is being unceremoniously challenged. We’re witnessing, nearly every day, more examples of hate motivated crimes. 2018 has been a record year in murders of Transgender women and of black men killed by police authorities. We have no reason to expect that winning the midterm election will result in a sudden ebbing of such radical and violent behaviors toward our people.
We are not afraid because we are “Snowflakes” or possess a weak nature. We are not afraid because we aren’t being catered to or getting things our way. Our protections have mostly been redacted anyway. We’re afraid because we’re being systematically disenfranchised and subject to cruel and inhumane treatment that is being sanctioned by government leaders. Equality seems to be slipping further away rather than nearer to our grasp. Between anti-trans bathroom bills intended to alienate us by identifying us according to what bathroom we use and Christian adoption agencies preferring children in their care go without loving families rather than be adopted by gay parents, we’re being pushed further to the fringes of society. Our culture is regressing to an era wherein we must live our truths in secret, if only to guarantee our survival in hostile territory.
It is not an exaggeration to say that a culture war has been waged upon us, and the government is on the side of our opponents.
The question is often asked; How do these Christians see Donald Trump as such a paragon of virtue? He’s an adulterer, a habitual liar, his arrogance remains astounding. What has created this unique marriage of interests that warrants the the unwavering support by Christians of a man who is the absolute antithesis of their own values? The answer is simple.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
We are that described enemy.
We have received the messages they are sending loud and clear. There’s nothing wrong for experiencing fear, anger, even feeling anxiety, depression and agitation as we wait to what lies in wait. The seeds of chaos and targeted bigotry have been sewn. We’re watching it happen. Its easy for those who have never been subject to persecution to feel lulled into a privilege of comfort and security, thereby dismiss us as reactionary and irrational when we express our fear. They’re not in our shoes.
They have nothing at risk. There will be no marches down their street intended to protest their existence. There will be no Senators introducing bills that debate their human rights and dignities. This is not their fight, thus the implications are easily rejected.
This is our fight. We haven’t invited it. We’d rather not have to do it. We also understand we have no choice. Again.
We’re standing in the very shoes of those in history who had everything to lose and risked it all anyway…
They didn’t do that just so that we’d had to find ourselves in the same battle half a century later. But, here we are. That’s what we must do…
… And it’s okay to be afraid.
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