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Attacks against queer Americans have been on the uptick lately. Several Target stores received bomb threats over Memorial Day weekend, and right-wing actors have found themselves emboldened by successful anti-Pride social media campaigns. Hateful rhetoric leads to violence not just in the U.S. but around the world, such as with the stabbing of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey in the UK. Victories for hate have set dangerous precedents.

A particularly gruesome example of anti-LGBTQ+ hatred is the passing of Eden Knight. She was a wonderful person, a refugee, a trans woman and a friend to many. She deserved an equal shot at life, but anti-trans panic stole that chance from her. Through false promises of a better future, she was manipulated, abducted and forcefully extradited back to her home country of Saudi Arabia. She committed suicide on the 12 of March, 2022, following what she described in an online posting as a forced detransition by her family.

Her name cannot be forgotten, especially in an era where all members of the LGBTQ+ community face harassment, abuse and death threats from those who feel their mere existence is an attack on their way of life and sense of self.

Eden’s story is immensely significant as the LGBTQ+ community continues to become the target of violent attacks and hateful legislation. Some have even used the word genocide to describe recent actions, and there is valid evidence for this claim. In 1920s Germany, vicious Nazi attacks on the Institute for Sexual Research increased, culminating in a raid on the Institute in 1933. Over 150 bills restricting the freedom of trans people were introduced in state legislatures last year, ranging from the infamous bathroom bills to those restricting HRT and other medical practices entirely. Ron DeSantis has led these attacks in Florida, while at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference Michael Knowles outright called for the “eradication” of trans people. These recent attacks echo what happened in Germany a century ago. 

In the U.S. today, over 28% of LGBTQ youth have reported facing housing insecurity. Among gender nonconforming youth, the number is closer to 38%. In 2022, at least 38 transgender people were murdered. Violence against queer people is on the rise even from their own families. Combatting this requires community solidarity and action, creating safe and welcoming spaces for all people regardless of their identity.

Eden’s story is not an isolated incident. If hatred against the LGBTQ+ community is allowed to fester, it won’t just stop at oppressing trans people, pushing them to suicide, or outright murdering them, cases of which have been on the rise. Hatred of this kind is a threat to all. Eden should have been remembered not for how she died, but for the light and hope she brought to the world. Her memory, and that of all tragically lost LGBTQ+ community members, should be one of fighting back.