But the threats go beyond acts of violence. Amid a series of new laws targeting the LGBTQ community in South Dakota, Sioux Falls Pride recently registered as a 501(c)(4) with the IRS, which will allow them to pass the rest of the year lobbying politically to fight back. .
Given the political climate, Neufeld said this year’s parade was an act of visibility, not just a celebration.
“With all the legislation going on in South Dakota and across the country… [it was important to bring] more outreach to our community and our members who feel more under attack and under the microscope,” Neufeld said. “[Pride] is more important than ever.
Neufeld isn’t the only one who feels things may be going backwards. After a decade of remarkable civil rights advances for the LGBTQ community that saw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, the legalization of same-sex marriage and a significant increase in cultural prominence and public acceptance of transgender and non-binary Americans, many feel in 2022 that the march of progress has suddenly come to a halt. Some 70% of LGBTQ people believe discrimination has increased over the past two years, according to a survey by media watchdog GLAAD published on Wednesday.
“Honestly, I would be lying if I said that I was not afraid that everything could be, that everything could disappear,” Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the 2015 Supreme Court same-sex marriage case, told AFP. BuzzFeed News after the court quashed Roe vs. Wade Friday.
He and others have warned that due to comments in Judge Clarence Thomas’ abortion opinion, LGBTQ rights could be next. “It’s time people stopped being complacent. It’s time people stopped saying this will never happen,” Obergefell said. “We are there. It happened.”
It’s not just a feeling. South Dakota is one of 13 states that passed a total of 24 anti-LGBTQ laws this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The LGBTQ advocacy group counted more than 325 harmful bills pending in state houses across the country — a record that has activists worried and worried.
“Pride was born out of protest,” said HRC Legislative Director and Senior State Advisor Cathryn Oakley, “and I certainly feel this year that Pride is less joyous than it has been, from less for me, in the past, and that she calls to protest, he calls people to stand up and organize, and mobilize our community – not just LGBTQ people, but also our allies.
Oakley said she sees a “dissonance” between lawmakers introducing the bills and the general public, which overwhelmingly supports the LGBTQ community. What has changed, Oakley said, are their opponents’ tactics.
“Over the past few years, our community has absolutely been attacked, and we’ve been attacked by the same forces that have attacked LGBTQ equality for decades and decades,” Oakley said. “The names of the opponents are the same. Their tactics kind of hark back to some of the vintage tactics they used back then.
Following a strategy that has successfully centered schools and classrooms on pandemic struggles and critical race theory, opponents of the LGBTQ community have also placed children at the center of their latest moral panic. South Dakota, Alabama and Georgia have all followed Florida’s lead in legislating so-called don’t say gay laws, which restrict references to LGBTQ people in classrooms. Elsewhere, a national Catholic political group is urging parents across the country to check out all books displayed in the library’s Pride Month displays and not return them unless those displays are removed.
Oakley says these opponents are also working overtime to leverage public ignorance or apprehension about emerging issues — such as transgender athletes competing in women’s sports or the medical treatment of trans children — to lead. a bigger fight.
“They’re not really interested in the medical best practices that surround young trans people. They’re here because they don’t believe LGBTQ people should be allowed to be LGBTQ,” Oakley said. “I don’t think it counts as a culture war when some people just try to live their lives on one side and others try to stop them from doing so.”