Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, to remember all of the trans-people who have died over the past year—especially in hate crimes. Transphobia and homophobia are interrelated, and both are influenced by misapplied religion. To help ensure that these crimes are investigated properly and not subject to the biases of local authorities, we passed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes act. It adds clauses about sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and the perception of those attributes to the classes established in the Hate Crimes act of 1969.
Those protections are very timely. Two stories have been in the news recently that underscore why this legislation was so badly needed, especially with the gender expression clauses:
Jorge Steven López Mercado
Unfortunately, our attackers come from both the Church and State sides of the street.
Coming from the State street side:
There is a Republican Senator in Oklahoma who is considering a bill that would allow states to opt out of the Hate Crimes act because it interferes with State's Rights and the freedoms of religion and speech granted by the US Constitution.And from the Church side:
A group of preachers came and tried to 'incite a hate crime' in Washington DC by reading bible verses.
Both of these examples are easy to brush off as batshit crazy asshats and bigots. However, while these nutjobs are attempting to take our hard-won protections away, they are also creating an atmosphere of hate that is like waving a match around a fireworks factory. Similar haters are promoting Psalm 109:8 as a 'prayer for the President'… How long is it before someone decides they are being called to do God's work and take out an LGBT person or the President? Sadly, it's already happening.