Out gay Rep. George Santos (R-NY) retweeted an anti-LGBTQ+ video and said teachers who advocate for inclusion and tolerance in the classroom are indoctrinating children. Santos accused the teacher of not educating kids but indoctrinating them in part because she has a Pride flag in her classroom.
The video was from the far-right activist group Project Veritas and claimed to be the result of a five-month undercover “investigation” into EdCamp Long Island, a grassroots, teacher-led professional development event in the region.
The main target of the “investigation” was Elisa Waters, a middle school Spanish and Social Justice Teacher and the founder of LGBTeach, which leads workshops to help teachers foster more inclusive classrooms.
The video shows Waters leading seminars at EdCamp in which she speaks about encouraging students to communicate their preferred names and pronouns.
She also discusses the importance of teaching about gender diversity in elementary school and potentially earlier, since kids as young as two may already know their gender. She also speaks about how being tenured gives her the power to fight for change in a way that non-tenured teachers cannot and uses the example of refusing to take down a Progress Pride flag in her classroom. She encouraged non-tenured teachers to fight for change but to do so more tactfully until they gain tenure.
Project Veritas used footage of these discussions to “prove” that Long Island has become “an epicenter for using the classroom to promote gender ideology to children,” and Santos, who is gay, agreed.
“This is in #NY03 [Santos’s district] seems like a good reason to get back out there and remind teachers that their job is to EDUCATE not Indoctrinate,” he tweeted.
In the past, Santos has voiced support for Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law and made it clear he believes discussions of LGBTQ+ people should be banned in schools. In a 2022 video supporting the law, Santos said it would “protect our children’s innocence” and “protect values.”
Santos has also cosponsored two anti-LGBTQ+ bills in his few months in Congress. One of the bills calls for banning books that it says promote “the sexualization of children in schools,” a common dogwhistle for books by LGBTQ+ authors. The other is a resolution that calls for the rollback of LGBTQ+ job protections.
In addition to the many lies Santos has been caught telling, he is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly violating campaign finance law.
Project Veritas was banned from Twitter last year for posting misleading content, but the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk, reinstated the account. In December, a highly edited, undercover video from the group led to a bomb threat at a Chicago school after implying students there were being indoctrinated into queer sex.
Last month, the group’s founder, James O’Keefe, was ousted as leader after the board accused him of “financial malfeasance” and spending “an excessive amount of donor funds in the last three years on personal luxuries.”