In A Year of Hate, ISD followed anti-LGBTQ+ mobilisation efforts against drag performances in the US, UK, France and Australia over a period of 12 months. The findings of this research revealed an increase in incidents of anti-drag protests, on- and offline threats, and sometimes violence, with the US leading in incidents and exporting narratives abroad. The report’s findings point to a global rise in anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremism and received extensive coverage from various US and international outlets.
ISD’s US Executive Director, Dixon Osburn, and report co-author, Digital Research Analyst Clara Martiny, feature in ABC News commenting on the findings from the study period, June 2022 to May 2023. “The spread of anti-LGBTQ+ hate in the US is advancing across the globe,” said Dixon. “It’s imperative that policymakers address the rise of hate and extremism online and off. It starts with taking online threats seriously. We need to be proactive in protecting LGBTQ+ communities to avoid a snowballing effect of hate.”
“The numbers in this report suggest that we run the risk of dangerous backsliding toward hate and violence directed at LGBTQ+ people,” Clara said.
In another conversation with NBC, Clara explained the motivation behind the report: “Last year in June 2022, during Pride Month, we observed a lot of anti-drag and anti-Pride protests. This year, we decided that ahead of Pride Month 2023, it was really important to understand what’s going on out there in the landscape.”
She explained how anti-drag protests were carried out by a wide range of groups including local extremists and white supremacists, parents’ rights activists, anti-vaxxer groups and Christian nationalists. “Drag is the key frontier on which the so-called culture war is being fought. It’s become this unifying cry for a lot of these groups. It creates this ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friends’ situation.”