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In the Colorado Springs shootings, extremism experts saw a long-standing pattern

The people watching for extremism in America knew an attack like the one at Club Q was coming.

For months, pundits who monitor the far right have observed how public aggression toward the LGBTQ community in general, and the transgender population in particular, has increased.

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

In these street protests, the extremists have been joined by ordinary American conservatives – fueled, experts say, by right-wing media. The goal of their outrage: previously obscure events from drag shows to children’s book readings. An industry analysis concludes that conservative media is particularly “obsessed” with drag shows.

Pundits like Tucker Carlson have spent hours confusing and then denigrating drag shows and transgender people. Fox News articles bemoan the “subversive sexualization” of children by drag shows, claiming their goal is to create an “adult-child sexual connection.”

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