February 1, 2024 

Welcome to the latest ONLINE Knowledge and Power.

Knowledge and Power is a bi-weekly communication distributed exclusively to our ONLINE community. It is designed to empower you with important information and action.

I shared some information about organized hate in the Bursting Through Bulletin last November. Since then I’ve been as loud as possible about organized hate, its impact on the human experience, and how it drives the purposeful and intentional work Bursting Through does. 

Organized hate is not a far-away concept, a piece of history, or a work of fiction you may see in a movie on your streaming channels. It is alive, well, and growing all around us. 

Perhaps many of us think hate is not alive and well because it’s something we have been understandably conditioned to avoid.  It’s an uncomfortable and ugly topic that we were taught not to give our energy or attention to. Simply put, hate is bad.  

I was raised in a no-hate zone.  If I had a nickel for every time I heard “we don’t hate” or “we don’t use that word” while growing up I would be a nickleaire. As a gay man, I have repeatedly heard “love wins”, “love trumps hate” and similar sentiments in response to intentional and malicious acts of hate. 

I want to be VERY clear.  I am totally behind all of these platitudes. I believe love should and will win but I also know that will not happen until love is more active, visible, and organized.

When I embrace these great catchphrases and use the hashtags they often trick me into thinking I have taken action when I have not. They sometimes make hate seem further away and defeated and it is not. 

I’ve been open about my journey of self-discovery and the hard truths that surfaced in my therapist’s office.  One of the hardest truths I have faced is when I deny something it doesn’t go away. 

Pushing something deep down or keeping it at arm’s length does not mysteriously defeat things I don’t like, don’t want to be real, or think shouldn’t be. Those actions allow whatever I have avoided to come back stronger and with more power.

I am applying that hard-leaning and painful lesson to this KNOWLEDGE and POWER. The information about organized hate needs to be faced and not pushed aside or down just because it’s uncomfortable or not the way things are supposed to be. 

Hate is active

Between June 2022 and April 2023, ADL and GLAAD documented at least 356 anti-LGBTQ+ extremist and non-extremist incidents motivated by hate across the United States.

Incidents range from intimidating organizers and attendees at drag shows, to bomb threats against hospitals that offer healthcare for LGBTQ+ people. These attacks are well-orchestrated, executed, and funded.

One of the best known hate groups is the Family Research Council which each year hosts Values Voters Summit for conservative politicians and thousands of participants. Another is The American Family Association which claims a remarkable 2 million online supporters and 180,000 subscribers to its AFA Journal.

Hate has money

The funds of the anti-gay movement are overflowing.  In 2016, 11 anti-gay groups reported taking in more than $87 million through donations, grants, and other noncash contributions. In 2020 these groups took in over  $110 million and their revenue continues to grow.

Hate is real and winning on many levels

These circumstances are real.  People who identify as Queer are targeted daily for just being who they are. These are not faceless, nameless masses, they are human beings just doing the best they can with what they have.  They are not inviting hate into their lives but it’s there. 

Many believe the anti-LGBTQ+ movement is small or all but gone. A few years ago this movement appeared to be losing ground but that is far from the reality of today and tomorrow. 

The groups have won significant battles at all levels of American government and society — from local school boards to the federal courts.  You are seeing the results of their work specifically through things like book bans. 

This knowledge is without a doubt awful, overwhelming, and disturbing but awful, overwhelming, and disturbing is not where we are going to leave it.  We are THE MAJORITY and we have POWER; we need to use our POWER.

Consider upgrading your Bursting Through Membership.

Your monthly $10 memberships will help us continue and expand the Allyship work Bursting Through is doing.

I know we as a community are making an impact through our expanded knowledge, daily actions, and the power of storytelling. More paid members will help Bursting Through turn up the volume of our message and turn down the volume of organized hate messages.

UPGRADE NOW

Embrace love as a verb.

Your love is active every day out of instinct and habit. Love is in action when you make dinner for those you care about or check in on a friend.  

Sometimes we have to be more intentional with acts of love before they become habit. Through the lens of Allyship love can take the form of being aware of where you spend your money.  Remember Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, and Walmart have all given money to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians who are supported by organized hate groups. Choosing Lowes over Home Depot, Canes rather than Chick-fil-A, and Target over Walmart are acts of love.

Flex your Allyship muscles.

For example:  Find out if your school or public library is banning books and if so, what books. These lists can be shocking and overwhelming so be careful not to strain your Allyship muscles.  Perhaps get the whole book ban list but focus on the books or authors that had an impact on you. Consider sharing how important a banned book is to you on social media or buy that book for someone in your life who may no longer have access to it.  Who knows maybe you will help someone start a home library.

As you move forward with this newly found Knowledge and Power, please ensure your safety is your top priority.  Real change is achieved with courage, compassion and consciousness of your surroundings. 

UPGRADE NOW

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