Since Donald Trump won the presidential election, attacks onLGBT community centers across the country have reached an all-time high. We reported on an uptick in anti-LGBT vandalism during the election cycle, but things have only gotten worse.
At least 13 LGBT centers have been threatened or vandalized since Election Day, some more than once. Below we examine numerous incidents at their impact on the community.
Providence Youth Student MovementFacebook/Providence Youth Student Movement
A grassroots center serving queer Southeast Asian youth in Providence, Rhode Island was broken into in December 2016, and a noose was hung from the rafters. In addition to other minor vandalism, two knives were reportedly stabbed into one of the tables.
LGBT Center of Central PennsylvaniaFacebook/ LGBTCentralPA
In January 2017, windows at the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania were smashed in with bricks, and vandals stole cash from the donation box. No one was in the building at the time.
Los Angeles LGBT CenterFG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, one of six facilities operated by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, was vandalized in February 2017. The phrase “F*ck Trannies” was spray-painted twice in large print outside the building, along with graffiti reading “F*ck All Y’all” scrawled next to it.
Milwaukee’s Diverse & Resilient CenterCBS
An LGBT center in Milwaukee was vandalized three times in two months at the start of 2017, including someone spray-painting the word “fag” across the storefront that February.
A brick was thrown through a window at Equality Florida’s offices in Orlando in March 2017. A double-paned window at the front of the building was smashed right where the agency’s logo, an equal sign, was located.
Garden State Equality
The offices of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s leading LGBT advocacy organization, were also vandalized in March 2017, with two unidentified assailants smashing the glass door of the group’s offices in Asbury Park.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker condemned the act, stating, “We must stand united with love against the shadow of hate that has been cast over our great nation.”
Casa Ruby LGBT Community CenterFacebook/CasaRubyDC
A Casa Ruby staff member was assaulted when the Washington, D.C.-area LGBT center was attacked last March. According to police, the suspect walked into the center on a Sunday and began arguing with an employee, hitting her in the forehead with his pointer finger. He threw a bar of soap at the staffer and hurled a brick through the front door, yelling “I’ll kill your motherf*cking ass. Y’all tranny motherf*ckers think somebody won’t f*ck y’all up.”
The center was targeted yet again in December 2017, when a masked man pepper sprayed a staffer. Police are still investigating the attack as a burglary and hate crime, and the unnamed victim was hospitalized for her injuries.
West Hollywood’s “F*ck Without Fear” CampaignWehoville
The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s “F*ck w/out Fear” campaign was launched in January in an effort to promote PrEP, but not everyone was happy about the sidewalk art. A man was charged with felony vandalism in March 2017 after spraying red paint over the word “F*ck,” telling authorities he was offended by the campaign’s language.
Phoenix LGBT Youth CenterPhoenix PD/ABC7
In July 2017, a man was caught on camera setting a Phoenix LGBT youth center ablaze. Investigators reported that 26-year-old Darren William Beach Jr., who they believe to have been a former client of the center until he aged out of eligibility last year, was responsible for the fire, which destroyed the building’s electronic equipment, personal products and food.
Dallas LGBT CenterNBC5
Last July, arsonists set fire to a Dallas LGBT Center that served the area’s black LGBT community for more than 13 years. Although no one was injured in the blaze, severe damage reportedly disrupted the many services the center offers, including HIV testing.
Freedom OklahomaFreedom Oklahoma
In November 2017, assailants targeted the LGBT advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Windows were riddled with bullets at the entrance of the building, shattering one panel and damaging four others.
Our CenterOur Center
A masked vandal targeted this LGBT center in Reno, Nevada, just days after the new year, smashing its windows while staffers were still inside. “It just sort of goes to show that even in where we think it’s such a progressive Reno, that we’re getting so much better, that we’re so accepting, that there’s still people with so much hate in their hearts,” a bystander said after the incident.
Sacramento LGBT Community CenterSacramento LGBT Community Center
Police are investigating death threats made to members of this California LGBT center in March 2018. Someone mailed threatening letters to the center’s staff with a “faith-based slant,” breaking down the “ways they felt homosexuals have plagued society.”
“Then they talked about the various ways they would harm our community, including destroying and murdering every queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual [person] in Sacramento,” center director David Heitstuman told The Sacramento Bee.
Samantha Manzella contributed to this feature.