At 9pm on Sunday, April 3rd, a man dressed in black walked into an up-and-coming LGBTQ bar in New York City with a canister of gas, which he poured on the ground and set alight before running away.
The Rash bar was left "unrecognizable and torched," according to NBC New York, and two employees were severely burned. The arsonist showed deliberate and obviously premeditated behavior; owner Claire Bendiner noted that "he left the gas canister inside. Kind of calmly placed it on the bar counter. Wasn't knocked over or anything."
Tell the FBI to probe the burning of an NYC queer bar for evidence of a hate crime!
While the NYPD have not yet discovered any motives, it is impossible to not connect this act of arson with the avalanche of anti-LGBTQ bigotry that has been recklessly pushed from Republican politicians and propaganda networks.
The widespread promotion of QAnon-inspired narratives that liberals are "grooming" and sexualizing children with LGBTQ-inclusive education and by caring for trans kids was obviously going to paint a target on the backs of LGBTQ people and institutions.
Given America's predilection for spontaneous acts of bigoted violence, it's only a matter of time before something like this happens. The FBI needs to send a strong message to the LGBTQ community that they have their back — and if this is a hate crime, prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law.
Demand the FBI investigate the arson of an LGBTQ bar!