Today I was planning on writing about what it’s been like to travel back to 1820 with Melmoth the Wanderer. I’m fascinated by the ways queer folks communicated with each other about their queerness when there was no affirming language to be found. Why? Because so many of our LGBTQIA family are still silenced here in the US and abroad. Because knowing our history is important. Because there’s hope in knowing that love finds a way to survive, even during the harshest of times, in the worst of places.
But then Jussie Smollett had to be a dick.
I’ve been thinking about how to frame my feelings and getting lost in my own head, then yesterday I read this tweet from Noah Michelson.
It’s eloquent, thoughtful, and helped me make sense of my own anger and frustration.
Here’s what I came up with:
First, Noah’s right, I’m not spending another moment on Jussie.
Second, a very real issue is being ignored. The right-wing pundits are freaking out about how those lefty media outlets should apologize for pointing out that hate crimes exist because “Trump. No Collusion. Gay Frogs.” And the flaming blue hell-scape that is right-wing twitter is demanding an apology because “Trump. No Collusion. Gay Frogs.”
What’s being ignored? The issue that queer and trans people of color are exponentially more likely to be victims of hate crimes than pretty much any other folks out there.
Five Facts About Hate Crimes:
- Racially motivated hate crimes almost tripled the day after the 2016 election.[i]
- The FBI reported hate crimes in the U.S. rose 17% in 2017 from the previous year.[ii]
- 59.6% of the hate crimes in 2017 were committed against people of color, 15.8% were committed against LGBQA people, and 1.6% were committed against trans folks.[iii]
- A Lambda Legal study published in 2015 reported that 62% of respondents had reported at least one incident in which the police failed to address a report of physical assault.[iv]
- Queer and trans people of color are more likely to report negative or discriminatory behavior from police during face-to-face interactions, including overwhelmingly higher incidents of the police failing to address reports of physical assault, property crime, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault.[v]
While Jussie’s report was fake, it is a demonstrable fact that queer and trans folks, especially queer and trans people of color, are more likely to be the victim of a hate crime and less likely to receive a supportive response from law enforcement.
Noah’s idea to donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center is spot on, and I wanted to offer eight other organizations that are doing incredible social justice work:
Brown Boi Project, http://www.brownboiproject.org
Immigration Equality, https://www.immigrationequality.org
GLAD(Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders),https://www.glad.org/our-impact/
Lambda Legal, https://www.lambdalegal.org
National Black Justice Coalition, http://nbjc.org
NQAPIA (National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance), http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/
TPOCC (Trans People of Color Coalition), https://transpoc.org
Transgender Law Center, https://transgenderlawcenter.org
Thanks again to Noah Michelson (@noahmichelson on Twitter) for speaking truth to power and helping me untangle the brambles in my head.
[i] “Hate crimes rose the day after Trump was elected, FBI Data Shows”, Washington Post, Aaron Williams, 3/23/2018, retrieved 2/21/2019,
[ii]“2017 Hate Crime Statistics Release, Reports Shows More Departments Reporting Hate Crime Statistics”, FBI News, fbi.gov, 11/13/2018, retrieved 2/21/2019.
[iii]“2017 Hate Crime Statistics, Victims,”U.S. Department of Justice, ucr.fbi.gov, retrieved 2/22/2019.
[iv]“Protected and Served?”Lambda Legal, 2015, retrieved 2/22/2019.
[v]“Protected and Served?”Lambda Legal, 2015, retrieved 2/22/2019.