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In Colorado Springs shooting, extremism experts saw a longtime pattern

The people paying attention to extremism in America knew an attack like the one at Club Q was coming.

Experts who monitor the far right have watched for months as public aggression toward the LGBTQ community in general, and the transgender population in particular, has ramped up.

Drag shows across the country have, for months, been targeted by far-right extremists including Proud Boys and white supremacists. Protests and violence at LGBTQ events have surged for at least the last two years.

At those street protests, extremists have been joined by everyday American conservatives – fueled, experts say, by right-wing media. The target of their outrage: previously obscure events ranging from drag shows to children’s book readings. One industry analysis concludes conservative media has become “obsessed” with drag shows in particular.  

Pundits like Tucker Carlson have devoted hours to conflating, and then denigrating, drag shows and transgender people. Articles on Fox News lament the “subversive sexualization” of children via drag shows and claim that their goal is to create a “sexual connection between adult and child.” 

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