Data: Anti-LGBTQ Protests Drive Spike in Hate Crimes, Bullying

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday August 14, 2019

It's like a microcosm for society at large: Information analyzed by the UK newspaper the Independent strongly suggests that parental protests of schools where LGBTQ people are in some way acknowledged in the classroom have directly contributed to a greater incidence of hate crimes at those schools and in the communities where the schools are located — a rate of bullying and violence that's more than 100% higher than in schools not targeted by such protests.

The Independent looked closely at two schools targets by parents and other protestors who objected to LGBTQ content in the classrooms. Aside from the issue of what sort of content might be appropriate, and for what ages, what the Independent found was that the protests — and the vitriolic, sometimes violent, language they entailed — appeared to have a direct correlation to substantial increases in the rates of anti-LGBTQ harassment and violence that took place in the communities at large but also, school staff indicated, among the students.

The Independent reported that:

During the period when schools started receiving complaints about LGBT+ teaching, from December 2018 to May, the number of police reports of hate crime in the West Midlands area more than doubled (a 129 per cent rise) compared to the same six-month period the year before.

The Independent reported that protestors used tried-and-true anti-LGBTQ and misogynistic rhetoric such as "Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve" and "Women Were Created for Man's Pleasure."

Students circulated hateful videos and messages using social media, some of them anti-LGBTQ but some also anti-Muslim in nature, the article said. An openly gay teacher offered his own perspective, saying that he encountered much more in the way of threats and harassment in recent months than he had to endure before the protests. The teacher had even received at least one death threat.

"People are seeing that this is happening and they are not seeing a strong, robust response from the Department for Education or from anyone in fact," the teacher told the newspaper. "I am really concerned that there is a culture developing where hate crime is becoming acceptable."

Meanwhile, at schools where such protests did not take place, the incidence of hate crimes also rise — as have hate crimes across Britain in recent years — but only by three percent.

In other words, the analysis indicated that the same protestors who were decrying classroom acknowledgment of love between people of the same gender were prompting hate.

The analysis jibes with a well-publicized recent study in America that demonstrated that violent bias crimes jumped more than 200% in places where Trump rallies took place during the 2016 elections. No such increase in hate crimes took place in places where Clinton rallies were held.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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