A transgender and nonbinary high school English and film teacher in Orange County, California says that Fox News’ repeated coverage about them has led to death and bombing threats against them, their coworkers, their school, and the district at large.
The teacher, named only “Flint” by The Daily Dot to protect their identity, was outed as queer and deadnamed in a September 2022 Fox News article for posting a TikTok video featuring their personally curated “queer library” of roughly 200 LGBTQ+-inclusive books. The collection wasn’t used in daily classroom instruction but was made accessible over the past five years to juniors and seniors involved in an extracurricular queer student alliance.
Fox News wrote that one of the collection’s books, Juliet Takes a Breath, “contains extremely graphic imagery of sex between women.” Another book, Everything you Ever Wanted to Know About Being Trans… “discusses BDSM, fetishes and a kink social media networking site [FetLife],” Fox News wrote. Yet another book, This Book is Gay, mentions sex toys, anal sex, bathhouses, orgies, and other sexual topics, Fox News mentioned.
Flint admitted that they hadn’t personally read every page of every book in their collection. The Fox News story compelled Flint’s school district to review books in all district libraries and to remove four books from Flint’s collection by September 2022. Fox News never mentioned the books’ removal in any of its follow-up articles.
The day after Fox News published its first article, someone called Flint’s school threatened to burn it down while the kids were still inside. That same day, Flint also received messages from four different email addresses calling them a “groomer” and calling their library “nothing short of child abuse.”
Fox News subsequently published four follow-up articles, all written by Hannah Grossman that largely recounted the aforementioned books’ sexual content while offering barely any new information. The most recent article was published on March 18, 2023.
After Fox News published its subsequent articles, a person identifying themselves as “Zamina Tamaro” emailed a bomb threat to the school. Tamaro accused school administrators of being “child abusers” and tolerating “sexually deviant and degenerate behavior from its staff.”
“We won’t tolerate this, we won’t stand idly which is why we placed multiple pipe bombs in [Flint’s] classroom, as well as in other locations in the high school,” the threat said. Tamaro said that they had also planted bombs at the district superintendent’s home, its education center, and Flint’s home. The bombs had “been rigged with explosives [that] will detonate shortly after receiving this email,” the email claimed.
“The school district is equally as bad for ENCOURAGING this degeneracy,” Tamaro’s threat continued. “F**k you all, we’ll see you burn in hell.”
An investigation found no explosive devices. The FBI and Orange County School District Cyber Crime Detail are continuing to investigate the threat, The Capistrano Dispatch reported.
“It was hugely traumatic,” Flint said of the threats. “I’d never been the focus of any kind of national attention, especially national attention that was homophobic. [The Fox News coverage] characterizes me as a predator, as someone who is intentionally and maliciously grooming and indoctrinating children for an agenda, which is bonkers.”
In December 2022, the school district published a statement expressing support for the LGBTQ+ community and denouncing “all hate, violence, and rhetoric that has been perpetuated in the national media.” Parents and community members at a school board meeting that same month largely opposed the threats and embraced LGBTQ+-inclusion in schools.
The attacks against Flint are part of a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry that characterizes all queer people and allies as people who want to “sexualize” children. This characterization has not only led to harassment and death threats against educators nationwide but also led to attempts to ban all LGBTQ+ content from school libraries and classrooms.
Flint said that they felt so unsafe that they didn’t attend their school’s open house event for students’ parents. They also said that the threats have led to fewer students attending the queer student alliance’s meetings and fewer outreach activities as a result. However, Flint said that they are “not going to be intimidated out of” doing things to make LGBTQ+ students and teachers feel less isolated.
“Unfortunately, people like [the Fox News author, Hannah Grossman], they don’t believe what they’re writing, but she wants her clicks,” Flint said in a recent TikTok video. “She wants people angry, continuing to click on her articles, and she’s willing to sacrifice me and a lot of teachers like me to make it happen, and it’s deeply disgusting.”