Hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community went up by 25% in 2020, the most recent year the FBI’s hate crimes data was available.
LGBTQ advocates say heated political rhetoric and legislation targeting the community have led to the increase in violence.
“In the environment we’re living in, with the political rhetoric and the anti-LGBTQ bills, there have been more than 300 bills proposed this year. We’ve seen an uptick in violence against our community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, the largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization in the world.
Just hours before a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding many others, Governor Ron DeSantis gave the headline speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s event in Las Vegas.
“It’s wrong to teach a kid that their gender is a choice. In the state of Florida, that will not happen,” DeSantis said to a standing ovation from the crowd.
DeSantis was speaking about the law he signed in March that prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in Kindergarten through Third Grade.
Gender identity and transgender youth was a topic during the run for U.S. Senate.
During the campaign Sen. Marco Rubio ran a TV ad against his opponent, Rep. Val Demings, claiming she supported “transgender propaganda.”
Neither politician responded to Fox 4 Investigates.
Ellis said politicians who have used this kind of rhetoric or pushed similar legislation “have blood on their hands.”
In Colorado, the suspected gunman, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, is being held on murder and hate crime charges.
“We are living in a time of rising hate and rising demonization. All of us in leadership positions have to recognize that our words matter,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.