Adkins: US’ anti-LGBTQ bills mirror German laws that ended in the Holocaust

In an op-ed piece published on Wednesday in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Kentucky attorney and former US House candidate Bill Adkins highlights the alarming similarities between the anti-LGBTQ laws being passed in the United States and the discriminatory legislation enacted in Nazi Germany. Adkins aptly argues that these modern-day laws echo the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which systematically stripped Jews of their rights and paved the way for the Holocaust. By drawing a parallel between these two periods in history, Adkins effectively highlights the urgent need to confront the grave implications of such discriminatory legislation.

Adkins’ comparison begins by highlighting the demographic size of the LGBTQ community in the United States, emphasizing that they make up approximately 7.2% of the population, equivalent to roughly 24 million people. He then points out that lawmakers have passed 45 laws nationwide that attack LGBTQ marriage, employment, First Amendment rights, and limit LGBTQ-inclusive education. Adkins writes,

State legislatures have passed at least 45 laws so far that attack LGBTQ marriage, endangers their employment and their First Amendment rights, limits what can be taught or discussed in schools and makes them victims of persecution.

One of the crucial aspects of Adkins’ article is his personal anecdote, where he reflects on his own past and the regret he feels for not standing up for a classmate who faced relentless bullying and harassment due to his perceived sexual orientation. This poignant recollection humanizes the issue and adds an emotional layer to his argument. Adkins acknowledges that witnessing such discrimination and prejudice in the past has motivated him to write the article and make amends for his inaction. This personal perspective adds a relatable element that resonates with readers, evoking empathy and a sense of responsibility.

The op-ed continues by exposing the tactics used by politicians who support these discriminatory laws. Adkins reveals their attempt to separate the transgender community from the larger LGBTQ umbrella, while employing false narratives associating sexual orientation with pedophilia. He asserts that these tactics of vilification and scapegoating have historically been used to persecute minorities, citing similar strategies against Jews, Romany, Blacks, and immigrants. Adkins writes,

Perhaps worse, these codified hate statutes make acceptable and encourage discrimination and bigotry, and permit the kind of bullying that I witnessed in a school in Florida in the ‘60s.

Adkins concludes his piece with a powerful statement, quoting Lyndon Johnson’s observation from 1960, which highlights how bigotry can be exploited for political gain. He warns that if individuals fail to recognize the danger posed by discriminatory legislation and turn a blind eye to its consequences, they risk repeating the mistakes of the past. Adkins writes,

If you’ve ever wondered what you might have done during the rise of fascism in Germany, the question is about to be answered. Don’t claim you didn’t know — it’s all over the news.

Bill Adkins is an attorney and a 2012 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. House.

Kristallnacht, 1938 shop damage in Magdeburg (Bundesarchiv, Bild / CC-BY-SA 3.0; Colorized by The Lexington Times)