The arrest of 31 White Nationalists at a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiracy to riot grabbed national media attention. The disturbing reality is that it was one of the many attacks and disruptions that occurred across the country in the last week targeting LGBTQ people, Prides, and events. While these disruptions and attacks occurred in at least California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio, and Texas, they have been predominantly stoked by one group, “Libs of Tik Tok.” This hate group has been responsible for inciting fear and terror by spreading age-old lies and misinformation about our community while posting about people, organizations, and events in hope their followers will act. Locally, they were responsible for targeting an LGBTQ administrator here in San Diego earlier this year.
It is completely unacceptable that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok have not yet de-platformed this account and the accounts of those behind it when they know full well their intent and the impact these accounts are having on our community’s safety. Our elected officials, law enforcement, and corporations need to hold these people accountable now!
In San Diego, we are no stranger to these types of attacks at our events. In 1999 our Pride Parade was targeted by a tear gas attack and in 2006 several Festival attendees were severely beaten in a targeted assault. In 1999, we washed our eyes and restarted the Parade. In 2006, the Stonewall Citizens Patrol was formed in the wake of the attack. Our community is resilient.
It would be impossible to produce an event of our scale without a great deal of communication and coordination with local, regional, and federal law enforcement agencies. The rise in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and violence has the Department of Homeland Security and FBI paying close attention to our community’s safety here in San Diego and around the nation. You can also play a role in our safety. The attack in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was prevented because civilians saw suspicious activity and called it in. See something, say something.
I’ll say it again, we do not have Pride because we are free. We have Pride because we are not. Our community will not let fear, hate, and intimidation win. Our celebration is justice. Our joy is defiance. Our love is insubordinate. We will not shrink ourselves and return to the closets and prisons of our past. We will stand up. We will root out hate. We will march in the streets and to the polls. Whether they like it or not, we will pursue Justice with Joy!
With Pride, Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs Executive Director San Diego Pride
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.