December 21, 2022

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to recent threats and attacks against New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher. 

Council Member Bottcher, who represents the west side of Manhattan, received threats and vandalism at his office and home after visiting a Drag Story Hour in his district, and his neighbors were even physically attacked. According to the Council Member, these attacks came from extremists who call themselves “Gays Against Groomers” on Meta’s Instagram. 

GLAAD research found that at least 141 drag performances have been threatened or attacked with violence this year, the recent Chelsea-area attack being just one of those. Additionally, newly-released research from HRC shows how extremist social media accounts and unhinged individuals triggered harassment campaigns against at least 24 different children’s hospitals across 21 states. The campaigns resulted in bomb threats against hospitals, endangering every child and family receiving any treatment; and death threats to medical providers. Lies and disinformation are spread about gender-affirming care that has the widespread consensus support of every major medical association and world health authorities. Statements here.

Statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
“This attack against Councilman Bottcher, who has been a strong and fearless supporter of LGBTQ New Yorkers for his entire career, is not just an attack against one person who stood up against hate, but an attack against all LGBTQ New Yorkers, and all Americans who believe in equality. Once again we are seeing evidence that vile rhetoric against LGBTQ people on social media leads to violence in real life. Social media platforms, most notably Meta, must take action when hate accounts are targeting our community leaders instead of enjoying profits from anti-LGBTQ content and giving pathetic explanations on why they refuse to act. It’s long past time for every social media company to stop allowing disgusting false claims to spread on their platforms: it has consequences and puts innocent people in harm’s way.”

Examples of additional attacks and misinformation about LGBTQ people and youth:

  • More than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed this year, drafted and funded by longtime anti-LGBTQ groups.
  • Politicians, their staff and enablers smeared LGBTQ people and allies with false and repulsive slurs, with a 406% increase of the slurs online as bills like “Don’t Say LGBTQ” passed in Florida. LGBTQ people were attacked by assailants using the slurs.
  • GLAAD documented at least 141 attacks and increasing violence against drag events in 47 states, including armed white supremacists terrifying children at drag story hours and the firebombing of a donut shop.
  • Media Matters counted 170 segments in a three-week span on Fox News with anti-transgender fearmongering and disinformation.

  • More than 2,500 books were challenged or banned September 2021 to September 2022; the majority about LGBTQ characters.
  • Extremist politicians with zero engagement with transgender people proposed bills to restrict their healthcare, which is supported by every major medical association and public health authority.
  • When extremist politicians couldn’t pass bans on trans healthcare, they weaponized state agencies to falsely investigate parents of trans kids, and orchestrated sham tribunals stacked with anti-LGBTQ donors to stop doctors from providing evidence-based, best practices care.
  • At least twenty children’s hospitals endured bomb threats after extremist accounts on social media and Fox News misrepresented trans healthcare and hospitals providing the evidence-based care.
  • Extremist state politicians withheld federal taxpayer funds marked for mental health care unless hospitals refused to treat trans youth.