At least five LGBTQ people have been murdered in recent weeks, following a dramatic spike in anti-LGBTQ hate and harassment during Pride month.
(New York, NY - August 1, 2023) GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is responding to the stabbing death of 28-year-old O'Shae Sibley in New York City and the rise of violence against LGBTQ people nationwide.
GLAAD has been tracking escalating violence against LGBTQ people, including at least a half dozen murders over the last weeks across the U.S.
Sibley was a dancer and choreographer who had performed at Lincoln Center with an all-queer dance group as well as Alvin Ailey and the Philadelphia Dance Company in his hometown. He was stabbed and killed at a gas station in Brooklyn, where he and his friends were voguing and dancing. The murder is being investigated as a hate crime.
Sibley is the fifth LGBTQ person murdered in recent weeks:
18-year-old Jacob Williamson in South Carolina was a transgender man killed after going on a date.
24-year-old Akira Ross was shot and killed at a Cedar Park, Texas, gas station by a man who reportedly yelled a homophobic slur at her, according to her girlfriend and father. Ross' murder was among 145 incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence, harassment, and vandalism documented during Pride month this year via GLAAD's partnership with the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism.
Three transgender women, Cam Chamberlain, Ashley Burton, and Chanell Perez Ortiz were killed in separate incidents in Central Texas, Atlanta, and Carolina, Puerto Rico, as first reported by PGHLesbian.
Colin Smith, a straight, cisgender man, was killed defending an LGBTQ friend being harassed by a man using homophobic slurs according to The Oregonian.
Quote from Darian Aaron/GLAAD Director of Local News, U.S. South:
"O'Shae Sibley's shocking murder follows a disturbing rise in violence and harassment against LGBTQ people across the U.S. This cannot continue. No one should have to fear for their safety just for being themselves. Politicians spewing lies and proposing policies filled with disinformation, and media repeating their false and dangerous rhetoric unchallenged, are creating an incredibly hostile environment that endangers all LGBTQ people and all queer people of color.
There are reports that Sibley was vogueing to a track from Beyonce's Renaissance album, music from the biggest pop star in the world celebrating Black queer people. O'Shae Sibley had the audacity to live without the restraints of patriarchy and toxic masculinity, embracing freedom and joy. He should still be alive to celebrate all that made him great and inspired others to live their truth.
GLAAD urges media to challenge harmful rhetoric, report on LGBTQ lives accurately and inclusively, and elevate our humanity and right to live in peace and safety. GLAAD grieves with O'Shae Sibley's friends, family, the dance community, and the entire LGBTQ community for the loss of their loved one, and for the loss of a talent like O'Shae, whose gifts and beauty will forever be missed."
More than 500 bills [ www.equalityfederation.org/state-legislation ]were proposed in state legislatures in 2023, most targeting transgender people and the best practice health care supported by every major medical association [ glaad.org/medical-association-statements-supporting-trans-youth-healthcare-and-against-discriminatory/ ] and leading world health authorities, as well as access to youth sports and public spaces, book bans, and curriculum censorship. Judges have blocked [ glaad.org/bans-on-essential-health-care-for-transgender-people-and-youth-remain-blocked-in-six-states/ ] anti-LGBTQ laws in at least seven states so far, ruled as unconstitutional.
GLAAD has documented [ glaad.org/anti-drag-report/ ] more than 160 attacks against drag events and performers over the last year, increasingly with violence and fomented by extremist and white supremacist groups.
GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism [ www.adl.org/resources/press-release/adl-and-glaad-report-more-350-anti-lgbtq-hate-and-extremism-incidents ] documented more than 350 incidents of harassment, vandalism, and assault over an eleven-month period beginning in June 2022.
ADL identified [ glaad.org/anti-lgbtq-hate-and-extremism-spike-during-pride-2023/ ] at least 145 incidents of anti-LGBTQ hate and extremism nationwide during Pride 2023 alone. ADL tracks violence against the LGBTQ community via its HEAT Map here: www.adl.org/resources/tools-to-track-hate/heat-map .
GLAAD's Accelerating Acceptance Study [ glaad.org/publications/accelerating-acceptance-2023/ ] found a 91% supermajority of non-LGBTQ Americans agree that LGBTQ people should have the freedom to live their life and not be discriminated against