In a recent tweet, the press secretary of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) implied that those who oppose the state’s anti-LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” bill are pedophiles.
“The bill that liberals inaccurately call ‘Don’t Say Gay’ would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill,” wrote Christina Pushaw. “If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.”
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Pushaw’s comments are part of the age-old homophobic cannon that has long considered LGBTQ people dangerous to children, which is, apparently, why Pushaw feels the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is necessary.
If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.
— Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) March 4, 2022
The bill is officially known as the Parental Rights in Education Bill and says teachers cannot “encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” It also says parents can sue their children’s schools for failing to adhere to these rules.
The bill has passed the Florida House and is awaiting a final vote in the Senate.
Pushaw has since refused to take back her words and has doubled down on her beliefs as LGBTQ advocates lambasted her.
“#DeSantis’ spokesperson openly accused opponents of #DontSayGay of being ‘groomers’— aka PEDOPHILES,” tweeted out Florida Rep. Carlos Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) — who has been speaking out against the bill from the beginning. “Bigoted attacks like this against LGBTQ people are the worst of the worst. They’re disgusting and dangerous and have NO PLACE in the Guv’s office.”
Smith then called for Pushaw to resign.
#DeSantis’ spokesperson openly accused opponents of #DontSayGay of being ‘groomers’— aka PEDOPHILES. Bigoted attacks like this against LGBTQ people are the worst of the worst. They’re disgusting and dangerous and have NO PLACE in the Guv’s office. @ChristinaPushaw must resign. https://t.co/UAMjvIELBx pic.twitter.com/xbIXpmX5Eb
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) March 6, 2022
Equality Florida released a statement emphasizing that Pushaw’s words confirmed what so many already knew: “that this bill is grounded in a belief that LGBTQ people, simply by existing, are a threat to children and must be erased.”
“[Gov. DeSantis] chose Pushaw to speak his mind to the public. He owns this unbridled hatred. This same bigoted insinuation has long been used to stigmatize our families, justify denying us the ability to adopt children, and is being used to justify the tracking of transgender children by government agents in Texas and threatens to imprison parents.”
The statement ended by accusing Gov. DeSantis of supporting “the erasure of LGBTQ people.”
Out state Rep. Michele Rayner (D) also took aim at Pushaw, tweeting that “this trope is tired and lacks originality.”
“It’s clear you don’t like LGBTQ people – just say that,” Rayner continued. “But no matter how you feel – we are here. We’ve been here. And we aren’t going anywhere.”
Chrissy, this trope is tired and lacks originality.
It’s clear you you don’t like LGBTQ people- just say that. But no matter how you feel- we are here. We’ve been here. And we aren’t going anywhere. https://t.co/ggBcwOdx3z
— Michele Rayner-Goolsby (She/They) (@micheleforfl) March 6, 2022