Last night, on the March 9th edition of her Fox News program The Ingraham Angle, Laura Ingraham decisively pushed into gaslighting territory with her defense of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, claiming that schools are now “essentially grooming centers for gender identity radicals.”
That she would use this word, “grooming,” so casually is no accident. Sexual predators “groom” their vicitms by befriending them, (and sometimes their families), as away of lowering the victim’s defenses and inhibitions. Ingraham, though, is participating in an intentional and cynical attempt to sterilize this phrase-–to turn it into a political buzzword, to “own the libs” but, also, crucially, to downplay the unconstitutional (and borderline fascist) anti-LGBTQ laws being proposed across the nation in many majority Republican states.
It’s wrong. It’s immoral. And principled people need to see it, and call it out for what it is.
Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill would make it illegal for teachers to talk about gender identity in the classroom. According to the AP, “Since it was introduced, the proposal has drawn widespread criticism from LGBTQ advocates and the White House, with President Joe Biden calling it ‘hateful.’” Yet, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary doubled down on the bill on 3/4/22, Tweeting:
Note the implication that somehow even talking with kids about gender or sexual orientation is now “grooming.” What Pushaw surely knows as she tosses off this glib phrasing is the long history of bigotry and fear-mongering around the provably false claim that homosexuality is somehow linked to pedophelia.
(Which is all not to mention the ridiculous allusion to QAnon conspiracies about liberal cabals of pedophiles.)
But let’s not over-focus on Florida. This week the Idaho House of Representatives passed its own discriminatory law criminalizing gender affirming care for Trans youth, as well as, (in a neo-fascist turn), also making it criminal for the families of these children to leave the state for such care. Texas did as well. In fact, under the radar, dozens of such bills are under consideration in Republican state legislatures across the country.
That these bills attack, degrade, and further marginalize the already most-marginalized in our society should go without saying. They’re ugly attempts at societal regression, and, worse, they’re being defended by Fox hosts like Ingraham not on their merits, but by attempts to muddy the waters by sterilizing phrases like “grooming.”