As the world responds to the immoral Russian invasion of Ukraine, bigots are using this moment to target the LGBTQ community once again. Through questionable lines of reasoning, extreme right-wing pundits are pinning the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin on America’s “woke ideology.” These attacks focus on recent pushes for more diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and alluded to traditional displays of gender performance, criticizing even the most basic levels of empathy to marginalized communities.
This blame-game is happening when attitudes surrounding the LGBTQ community, specifically homosexuality, around the world are becoming more positive. The Pew Research Center published a study in 2020 which found there has been an overall global increase in acceptance of LGBTQ people.
Anti-LGBTQ talking heads feel threatened by the increasing acceptance of the LGBTQ community. They aim to persuade who may not have strong attitudes concerning this group by perpetuating anti-LGBTQ stereotypes and demonizing LGBTQ people. By engaging in semantic gymnastics instead of focusing on world leaders, military institutions, or bureaucratic channels, they attempt to argue that bad actors are taking advantage of a ‘weaker’, ‘softer’ and ‘gayer’ America.
This isn’t the first time
Following the removal of American troops in Afghanistan last year, anti-equality leaders wasted no time trying to attack and blame the LGBTQ community for the chaos that ensued.
The primary, and most widely cited, claim involved a doctored image of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul flying the Pride Flag along with a Black Lives Matter Flag. While it is true that President Biden granted blanket authorization to embassies to fly the Pride Flag, the decision stipulated that it was, “an authorization, not a requirement.”
— Dr. Dirk Diggler (@TDProductions2) August 16, 2021
The creator of this image was attempting to communicate how the attitudes of acceptance and celebration of members from different backgrounds somehow made our international diplomacy weak and ineffective.
These attitudes of passing the blame of an international crisis to the LGBTQ and Black communities are only entertained when there are underlying biases and hate towards these groups.
The Hottest Takes
Below are some of the hottest (worst) takes which attempt to blame pro-equality measures, like the growing acceptance for asking for preferred pronouns, the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, and the repeal of the Trump era policy barring transgender people from serving in the military, for ‘American weakness’.
All the instances below personify hateful ideas which assume that a country cannot be a global superpower while also being inclusive of people of differing sexual orientations and gender expressions.
This is a cartoon by Ben Garrison who is committed to creating, “politically incorrect” pieces. On Facebook, his official page posted this piece on February 25 with the caption that, “A weak military invites danger.”
He goes on to say in an article attached to the piece, “There have always been gays in the military. They fought and died for their country, but kept their mouths shut about their sexuality. If asked, most denied being gay.” He goes on to say that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, “worked well for a long time.”
You millennial leftists who never lived one day under nuclear threat can now reflect upon your woke sky.
You made quite a non-binary fuss to save the world from intercontinental ballistic tweets.
— Rep. Clay Higgins (@RepClayHiggins) February 27, 2022
Beside this statement looking like Higgins looked up buzz words and tried at a profound realization, it assumes that the Biden Administration – in its prioritization of diversity and inclusion – has given up being a global superpower. This is flatly wrong and backwards.
It is notable that Louisiana only has three out elected officials. The state has never elected an LGBTQ person to the U.S. Congress or their state legislator.
See more examples of commentators pointing at diversity and inclusion instead of the actual perpetrators of war.
What This Means
The only reason commentators and elected officials engage in these outdated and tone-deaf attacks is because they know there is an audience for it. By appealing to stereotypes of femininity and weakness about the LGBTQ community, these pundits purpurate backwards ideas in order to reinforce a traditional, conservative agenda.
They continue to fan the flames of hatred in order to gain viewers, donors, and voters.
The only way to combat against these stereotypes of ‘wokeness = weakness,’ is to elect and support LGBTQ candidates in all levels of government. A new report was recently published which stated that LGBTQ people only hold 0.2% of elected positions, even though 7.1% of Americans identity as a member of the LGBTQ community.
The gap in representation for this community helps explain the attacks on LGBTQ people amid international conflict because there are few in power to hold them accountable for their prejudice and bigotry. This representation gap can also help explain the increasing amount of harmful legislation attacking the rights of transgender people, expanding religious liberty claims, and censoring content in schools.
The good news is that we are on the right track. Last year, for the first time in U.S. history, there were 1,000 LGBTQ elected officials serving and this year a record number of LGBTQ people are running for Congress.
This year will undoubtedly set records in increasing LGBTQ political power to combat these ideas and to showcase this community’s resiliency.
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