Anti-LGBTQ hate groups on the rise in U.S., report warns
In its annual report, the Southern Poverty Law Center largely attributes this 43 percent increase to the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.
The number of anti-LGBTQ hate groups soared 43 percent last year, rising from 49 groups in 2018 to 70 in 2019, according to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Groups that vilify the LGBTQ community, in fact, represented the fastest-growing sector among hate groups in 2019,” the report states. The SPLC found the surge in anti-LGBTQ groups occurred amid an overall decrease in hate groups last year, which dropped to 940 from an all-time high of 1,020 in 2018.
The report said the surge was “possibly fueled by continued anti-LGBTQ sentiment and policy emanating from government officials,” largely attributing it to the Trump administration.
“Anti-LGBTQ groups have become intertwined with the Trump administration, and — after years of civil rights progress and growing acceptance among the broader American public — anti-LGBTQ sentiment within the Republican Party is rising,” the report states. “Though Trump promised during his campaign to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBTQ community, he has fully embraced anti-LGBTQ hate groups and their agenda of dismantling federal protections and resources for LGBTQ people.”
Then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rainbow flag given to him by a supporter during a campaign rally at the University of Northern Colorado on Oct. 30, 2016 in Greeley, Colo.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images fileIn a statement sent to NBC News, White House spokesman Judd Deere called SPLC a “far-left smear organization” and said its “comments are disgusting.” He also pointed to the president’s track record on LGBTQ issues, saying Trump has “fought for inclusion and repeatedly condemned hate and violence.”