Monday, December 19, 2022

Editorial: Words and silences have consequences

Last week, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by US House Rep Carolyn Maloney, held a hearing entitled "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States."

While Democrats on the Committee could -- and did -- ask questions about this topic, Republicans on the Committee were too busy observing Florida's Don't Say Gay or Trans policy to participate in the actual hearing.  


As US House Rep David Cicilline observed:


I want to begin by reminding everyone here -- especially my Republican colleagues across the aisle -- what this hearing is about.  It's called "The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States."  And despite this hearing title, colleagues on both sides of the aisle have obviously condemned the attack on Club Q and violence more broadly, it's obviously more telling that the Republicans on this Committee -- with one exception -- did not ask any questions about anti LGBTQI+ extremism and violence.  Instead, they've only wanted to talk about crime broadly or hate crimes against other communities.  I'm disappointed, yet not surprised that a few weeks after a killer murdered five people at an LGBTQI+ nightclub, Republicans on this Committee could not bring themselves to discuss anti-LGBTQI+ violence and its causes with our witnesses.  Our community is scared -- terrified that we'll be attacked going to the doctor, scared that we'll be attacked going to night clubs, scared that we'll be attacked for living as our authentic selves and, unfortunately, this fear is well grounded.  The attack at Club Q is only the latest high profile attack against our community.  In 2021, 20% of all reported hate crimes were motivated by hate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Let me repeat that: Despite the fact that LGBTQI+ people make up roughly 7% of the population, 20% -- or more than 1 in 5 reported hate crimes -- last year were motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity bias.  My colleagues want to talk about anything but this anti-LGBTQI+ violence and their rhetoric that has contributed to it.  This violence is impacting both LGBTQI+ individuals and their families.


 But they couldn't talk about it, members on the Republican side of the aisle. 


At one point, US House Rep Shontel Brown declared, "Political violence and hatred targeted at the LGBTQ community is completely unacceptable." 


We're sure many of you nodded as you read that remark.  It's not that controversial.  But it was too much for any Republican to say.


Comer insisted, "I condemn all violence."  But he never once, in this hearing on violence aimed at LGBTQ+ individuals, could go on the record condemning violence against LGBTQ+ members. 


"Words have consequences," observed Committee witness and Pulse Nightclub survivor Brandon Wolf.  And he's right, they do.  Silences have consequences as well.




 For hearing coverage, see Monday's "Iraq snapshot," Thursday's "Iraq snapshot" and Friday's "Iraq snapshot," Ruth's "Allies are needed (House Oversight Committee)," Kat's "Respect for Marriage Act is only step one, more needed," "Cori Bush speaks some truth in Committee hearing," Trina's "LGBTQ youth need a safe nation (Dr. Jessie Pocock)," Mike's "Texas, come claim your idiot (House Oversight Committee)," Stan's "Shontel Brown, Chris Wallace, Wonder Woman" and Rebecca's "glenn greenwald wants to be the biggest bitch there is ."  

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