As Pride Month draws to a close, a troubling report from the Southern Poverty Law Center blog HateWatch sheds light on a possible uptick in threats against transgender people.

According to the post, the SPLC has witnessed a significant uptick in threats against transgender people during Pride Month. Although it did not release any hard data or figures to this effect, the SPLC said it had observed leaders of white nationalist groups increasingly making threats against transgender people, including calls for transgender people to be murdered or to take their own lives.

On the encrypted messaging app Telegram earlier this month, for example, white supremacist Christopher Cantwell wrote “assisted suicide is the only help you can give,” trans people, while a columnist for the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer wrote on June 20th that transgender people should “wear some kind of symbol on their clothing so that people can tell them apart,” akin to the yellow star or pink triangle Jews and LGBTQ people were required to wear during the Third Reich.

Gillian Branstetter, spokesperson for National Center for Transgender Equality, tells Rolling Stone that “there is absolutely a growing focus on transgender people” in extremist groups. “One of the reasons trans people have become a top priority for these kinds of groups, I suspect, is because they believe in a form of radical traditionalism that is hinged on the very close-minded view of the family and of gender roles,” she says. “The vision white nationalists are pursuing in our society is one in which archaic gender roles are enforced with an iron fist in a way that strictly empowers cisgender men and no one else.”

Generally speaking, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has been on full display during Pride Month, with forum users on 8chan calling for violence at the upcoming New York City Pride March and protesters swarming to a Pride March in Detroit, according to Vice News. Far-right extremists have also targeted Drag Queen Story Hour, a nationwide initiative to promote diversity in libraries and bookstores. (Much of the language used by such extremist groups inaccurately conflates drag queens with people who identify as transgender or non-binary.) On June 19th, white nationalist Paul Nehlen used the app Telegram to announce Project Dox Tranny Storytime, calling on his followers to dox drag performers at the event, as well as parents who took their children to the program. (Nehlen was one of the many extremist figures banned from Facebook last May.) One such event in Spokane, Washington drew nearly 200 protesters, and law enforcement officials were called in to intervene.

Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, attributes the rise in anti-transgender hate speech to the actions taken by the Trump administration, which have actively rolled back transgender health care protections, as well as instituted bans on transgender people in the military. When the government proposes regulations that create barriers in housing and healthcare, as the Trump Administration has done, it is sending the message that we don’t deserve the resources all people need to survive. It is saying it doesn’t care if we survive,” Hayashi says. “[The] consequences of Trump’s hate filled rhetoric have been felt acutely by our community, and Pride Month has been no different.”

It’s also occurring at a time when violence against transgender people, particularly transgender people of color, is on the rise. According to the Human Rights Coalition, at least 11 transgender women of color have been killed in 2019 alone, most recently Chynal Lindsey, who was found dead in White Rock Lake in Dallas on June 1st. The American Medical Association has made a public statement referring to violence against transgender people an an “epidemic,” and the Dallas Police Department announced earlier this month that it was investigating four unsolved murders of black transgender women, including Lindsey and Muhlaysia Booker, 23, who was found dead in May. (A 33-year-old Dallas man was charged with Booker’s murder on June 12th.)

Despite the epidemic of violence against transgender women, says Branstetter, it’s the increased visibility of transgender people in mainstream culture, as well as the increasing acceptance of transgender rights, that is likely setting the stage for such vitriolic hate speech among members of the far right.  “The more visible we’ve become, its because transgender people are making progress — they’re changing their workplaces, their families, their communities,” she says. “To someone who has a very archaic and violent view of society, that is a very real threat. Because it means that view is becoming outdated. And they’re right.”

New York City will host 4 million visitors this week to celebrate World Pride for both a celebration of advancements in LGBTQ rights and a call to action in the face of anti-LGBTQ policies enacted by U.S. President Donald Trump.

New York has been designated the site for World Pride this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising on June 28, 1969. The annual gay pride parade on Sunday will coincide with parades in cities around the world.

The opening ceremony takes place on Wednesday with a benefit concert at a Brooklyn arena, and festivities conclude Sunday night with a concert on the Manhattan waterfront featuring Madonna.

The anniversary commemorates the moment when patrons of a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn rose up in defiance of police harassment, leading to a national and worldwide movement for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer people.

LGBTQ people will celebrate their many accomplishments toward equality in the five decades since, including winning the constitutional right to same-sex marriage through a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015.

The Trump administration has banned transgender people from the U.S. military, cut funding for HIV and AIDS research, supported the right of medical providers and adoption agencies to deny services to LGBTQ people, and aborted plans to gather data about sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2020 census.

“I don’t know what we have to celebrate. Right now I would love to feel that I have more pride than I have at present,” said Larry Kramer, the playwright and founder of Act Up, which fights for AIDS research and legislation.

Despite advances in civil rights, 32 states lack non-discrimination protections against LGBTQ people, according to the Human Rights Campaign, and 1.1 million Americans and 37 million people worldwide live with HIV/AIDS, according to U.S. government statistics.

“Today our biggest problem is our inability to be united and to fight back in a strong way,” Kramer, 84, told Reuters in an interview.

Trump issued a statement of solidarity on June 1 to begin Pride Month, saying his administration has launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality, while rolling back protections at home.

“Trump alternates between saying we’ll be good to you and then dismantling all sorts of programs,” said Richard Wandel, a longtime gay rights activist.

 A new Gallup poll found most Americans support openly transgender men and women serving in the military despite President Donald Trump's ban.

Seventy-one percent of Americans were in support of allowing them to serve a month after Trump's ban on transgender service members went into effect amid legal challenges, the poll showed.

The policy, which went into effect April 12, bans those who've received transitional therapies from joining the military and forces members of the military to serve under their biological gender.

The poll conducted May 15-30 was before a recent U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that allowed the ban to stand for the time being, but called for a policy review that could affect its standing.

During a debate on a $1 trillion spending package Tuesday, the Democratic-controlled House voted to block funding for the ban, but the measure's unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.

Trump announced the ban on transgender service members in a series of tweets in July 2017.

Polling shows that Republicans are less likely than other political parties to support allowing transgender men and women to serve in the U.S. military. Only 43 percent of Republicans polled were in favor of them openly serving compared to 88 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of Independents.

All other key demographic group, except Republicans, surveyed broadly across gender, military service and age, also showed majority support of openly transgender men and women serving in the military.

Fifty-six percent of military veterans were in favor of them serving and 73 percent of non-veterans.

Women and men, and various ages, also showed majority support, with women showing more support than men, and younger people showing more support than older people. Seventy-nine percent of women were in favor compared with 64 percent of men and 84 percent of young adults, ages 18-29, were in favor, compared with 73 percent of adults ages 30-49 and 66 percent of adults age 50 or older.

Trump has moved to undo the end of the U.S. military's ban on transgender troops and the transgender bathroom policy allowing public school students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity in 2016 under then President Barack Obama.

However, Gallup found that Americans were split on restroom policies for transgender people back in 2016 and remain so, with a slight majority, 51 percent, still saying that people should have to use a restroom based on birth gender rather than gender identity.

Results are based on a random sample of 1,017 adults with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

A 22-year-old man was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of Chynal Lindsey, a transgender woman whose body was found in White Rock Lake earlier this month, Dallas police said.

Ruben Alvarado was brought to police headquarters for questioning but refused “any further engagement with detectives” and was booked into the Dallas County jail.

He has been charged with murder in the 26-year-old Arlington woman’s death. Bail has been set at $500,000.

Lindsey’s body was pulled from White Rock Lake on June 1. Police said her body had “obvious signs of homicidal violence.”

Police have not released information about a possible motive.

Lindsey was the second transgender woman slain in Dallas in the last two months.

Muhlaysia Booker, 22, was found fatally shot May 18 on a street in Far East Dallas about a month after she was the victim of a mob attack. After Booker’s death, advocates, lawmakers and allies reignited their call for more protections for trans people.

Days after Booker’s body was found, police announced that they were investigating the possibility of connections to two other cases — a fatal shooting Oct. 21 and an April stabbing in which the victim survived.

Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 33, has been charged in Booker’s death and had her cellphone after her slaying, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Before Alvarado’s arrest Thursday, Dallas police had said Lyles was being considered as a person of interest in Lindsey’s slaying.

Lyles also has been accused in the fatal shootings of Leticia Grant and Kenneth Cichocki.

Grant, 35, was found with a gunshot wound to the head May 22 outside the Chatham Court Apartments in Far North Dallas. She died two days later.

The next night Cichocki, 29, was shot about 4 1/2 miles away in an AutoZone parking lot.

Cichocki had been in contact with Lyles on Facebook Messenger about the sale of Xanax earlier that night, according to an affidavit. He was found with a gunshot wound to the neck minutes after he messaged Lyles saying he was at the parking lot, police said. Cichocki died six days later.

The House of Representatives approved an amendment Tuesday night that blocks the Pentagon from using funds to implement President Donald Trump's transgender military ban.

But the appropriations bill amendment, which passed the Democratic-controlled House 243-183 largely along party lines, is unlikely to be considered by the Republican-led Senate, which has blocked past efforts in its chamber to reverse the ban.

"The President and his administration wrongfully argue that it's about military readiness and unit cohesion, but these arguments are the same ones that were made to keep the military racially segregated," Rep. Anthony Brown, a Democrat from Maryland who served in the US Army, said Tuesday during House debate. "My service in an integrated armed forces did not harm readiness, and neither does the service of the more than 14,000 transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines."

He went on to argue, "Transgender service members increase lethality, readiness. They have served honorably and have received prestigious commendations."

Rep. Ken Calvert, a California Republican, opposed the amendment, arguing that it "risks undermining the readiness of our military at a time when we can least afford it" and argued that the policy is not a ban on service by transgender individuals.

"It carefully balances the readiness needs of the military with the medical needs of transgender individuals who wish to serve," Calvert said.

Nine Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the amendment: Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Will Hurd of Texas, John Katko of New York and Tom Reed of New York.

The Pentagon's policy went into effect in April, banning transgender recruits from joining the military.

The ban blocks prospective recruits diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. Transgender individuals can serve, so long as they meet the standards of sex they were assigned at birth. The policy allows active transgender troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria before April to serve openly and those who began, or have finished, transitioning.

The House passed a resolution back in March expressing opposition to the Trump administration's ban, and five Republicans voted with Democrats then.

Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, along with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, introduced legislation in February to reverse Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. There has been no movement on the bill since then. The senators had introduced similar legislation in 2017.

Trump first announced the ban on Twitter in July 2017, arguing that transgender troops in the military would lead to "tremendous medical costs and disruption."

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