Recently, we have seen an uptick in anti-gay hate crimes, and you may have noticed a pattern: they seem to be coming from places where there's been success in nondiscrimination and marriage equality. For example, there have been at least three recent occurrences in New York City. The first was just blocks away from the iconic Stonewall Inn, the second in the East Village, and then a third in the Bronx.
This could be a pattern, could be just a series of isolated but similar copycat incidents, or they might be the start of a backlash.
For the most part, the struggle for LGBT equality has been a peaceful one. There are, of course, the images of Matthew Shepard and Harvey Milk, and one cannot underestimate the suffering of our endangered youth who have been bullied, in some cases to death. But all of them were isolated to their region.
A backlash happens when those who most oppose your rights begin to realize that you've won, and then strike back with anger. That anger is usually in the form of violence. New York had a highly competitive fight for marriage equality, and following its victory in 2011 came many more successful fights across the country. Those haters who cannot come to terms with this sea change sometimes act out.
We need to be prepared for such actions, and like most issues, that preparation can come by looking at your history. And this coming month provides a perfect example of our history.