Dear Arlington friends and neighbors,
The Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission condemns the recent hateful verbal attack and use of a homophobic slur against a town resident. The verbal attack was captured on video and posted to the Arlington MA Current Residents group on Facebook on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. It took place on Massachusetts Avenue near the intersection with Park Avenue.
In a description of the incident that accompanied the video, the poster wrote: “[T]he guy behind me in line at the grocery wasn’t keeping a distance, and had his mask only halfway on. I asked him to put his mask on and he got supper aggro. He followed me outside, got all in my face and threatened to fight me, but backed off when I pulled my phone out.”
Everyone in Arlington has the right to participate in public settings free from violence, discrimination, and abuse based on identified or perceived sexuality or gender identity/expression. This incident is a reminder that anti-LGBTQIA+ bias remains commonplace and much work remains to become a safe, supportive, and inclusive town. The LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission is committed to this work and welcomes all members of the town community to join us.
Here are ways you can help.
First, educate yourself. Verbal attacks like these are often minimized as having caused no harm. But being the target of anti-LGBTQIA+ bias or merely anticipating such bias in public settings has been linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety among LGBTQIA+ people.
The use of slurs targeting people based on their identified or perceived sexuality or gender identity/expression, as well as their race, gender, religion, disability, or ethnicity is designed to humiliate and dehumanize the target of abuse. It is also meant to instill fear among other members of the targeted group.
Although LGBTQIA+ people comprise less than five percent of the U.S. population, nearly 20 percent of hate crimes reported to the FBI in the U.S. are motivated by anti-LGBTQIA+ bias.
Arlington has a thriving, active, and resilient LGBTQIA+ community. Please join us and learn more at the next Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission monthly meeting on Thursday, August 20 via Zoom at 6:30pm.
The town of Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. The Arlington LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission supports these values by promoting the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ individuals and groups in Arlington through affirming policies and programs, resources, advocacy and community building.