Here’s How an LGBTQ Leader Predicted Right-Wing Bigotry Would Lead to Club Q
On Saturday, November 19, 2022, a gunman entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs called Club Q and opened fire, murdering 5 and injuring 25 before a witness grabbed his gun and subdued him by hitting him with it. Mass shootings and anti-LGBTQ violence have become horrifically commonplace in the United States, and there’s a clear connection between these acts of violence and the hateful rhetoric that’s flourishing on social media.
One account in particular, LibsofTikTok, has emerged as one of the largest right-wing influencers encouraging violence against LGBTQ people. Run by former real estate agent Chaya Raichik, the account frequently posts out-of-context quotes and reposts that are designed to stoke anti-LGBTQ hatred.
Although Raichik has denied, in the past, that her intent is to encourage violence, her posts paint LGBTQ people in the most vile light possible, frequently lobbing accusations that sound shocking, but have no basis in reality—including claims that LGBTQ people are “beyond evil.”
It’s not hard to see the connection between hateful online rhetoric and real-life attacks. In fact, one LGBTQ leader predicted events like the Club Q shooting months ago.
Sarah Kate Ellis called out right-wing influencers in June 2022
Last summer, after a group of Proud Boys stormed a Drag Queen Story Hour in San Lorenzo, CA, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis issued a statement on the connection between online harassment and real-world attacks. Ellis said that attacks like the one in San Lorenzo were examples of “how inaccurate and harmful portrayals of LGBTQ people can lead to real-world violence.”
Ellis went on to say that “It’s inevitable that extremists will be activated online and in the real world when right-wing leadership is feeding them horrific lies about LGBTQ people around the clock.”
NBC reporter Ben Collins, one of the reporters who first quoted Ellis back in June, pointed out on Twitter that the Club Q shooting was all too predictable, given the hateful climate that right-wing influencers and pundits are creating.
Hate movements throughout history have depended on dehumanizing propaganda to recruit people and convince them to commit violence—from Nazis convincing Europeans that Jews were running the world, to Qanon conspiracy theorists convincing Republicans that Hillary Clinton runs a human trafficking ring out of a pizzeria. As much as right-wing influencers like Raichik might try to escape accountability by denying that they incite violence, it’s clear where the hatred against LGBTQ people is coming from.
(featured image: Vladimir Vladimirov for Getty Images)
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]