Western State Center Continues To Monitor Extremist Activity In Northwest

Three people stand together in a park facing a stage. One wears black lipstick, one other wears a pride flag draped around their shoulders.
Despite the interruption of Coeur d’Alene’s pride event last month, the North Idaho Pride Alliance said this year’s celebration was the largest yet. (Photo courtesy of the North Idaho Pride Alliance)


A watchdog organization warns there’s a rise in homophobia. Lauren Paterson reports.

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Anti-extremism groups have been monitoring the white nationalist movement in Northwest communities since the 1970s. Today, some of those groups are now concerned about a rise in homophobia and transphobia.

Kate Bitz is a program manager with the Western States Center, an organization that monitors extremist groups. She says the center is seeing a rise in attacks against members of the LGBT+ community.

“I mean, homophobia and transphobia are really important components of the white nationalist worldview, just because that worldview is deeply committed to a gender binary and also to gender hierarchies,” says Bitz.

Last month, 31 members of a white nationalist group called Patriot Front were arrested for allegedly planning to riot at a Coeur d’Alene pride event. Bitz says the Western States Center wants to contribute to the Northwest’s track record of effectively countering white nationalism and anti-democracy movements.

The organization has toolkits available for educators, parents, and communities combating extremism available on their website.