Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) says that conservatives who accuse LGBTQ+ people of sexually targeting children are actually “projecting” onto queer people the ways that abusive, heterosexual, and cisgender men treat young women and children.
“So we know how people in power and conservatives use culture wars in order to distract and defuse us from challenging institutions of power, right?” Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent Instagram post. “I want to talk about how the attacks on trans and LGBT people factor into this.”
The congresswoman said that she was only about 13 or 14 years old with braces on her teeth the first time a grown man ever hit on her. She said that many women have similar stories, noting that a grown man hit on them when they were only 11 to 14 years old.
She then said that when she was in her early 20s, working as a waitress in an outdoor cafe, a man would regularly park on the street, “pleasuring himself” to the view of the waitresses walking back and forth.
“I can tell you how many stories I and almost every woman I know have about things like this,” she says. “And when you actually look at who’s committing this abuse, it’s majority straight men.”
“Many of these disgusting and insinuating attacks on trans and LGBT people are actually projections of what predatory, cisgender, and often straight men do when left alone in the presence of women or sometimes horribly children,” she continues. “So instead of getting you to challenge the patriarchy, [anti-LGBTQ+ conservatives are] trying to get you to challenge the very gender expressiveness that challenges patriarchy.”
Ocasio-Cortez notes that the recent right-wing wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry characterizes all queer people and allies as “groomers” who want to “sexualize” kids for sexual abuse — a baseless bit of scaremongering which ignores the countless arrests of cisgender men for pedophilia and child pornography.
The queers-are-coming-after-your-kids stereotype has not only been used as a political pretext for banning drag, LGBTQ+ issues from classrooms, and gender-affirming care for trans youth, it has also led to harassment and death threats against educators, drag performers, and gender-affirming healthcare providers nationwide.
According to the congresswoman, this rhetoric is an attempt to turn people against marginalized queers rather than to ally together against forces that facilitate the actual sexual abuse of women and children.
Ocasio-Cortez has called herself a “champion for LGBTQ+ people,” and her words and actions back this up. In the past, she has criticized Republicans for inciting violence against trans people and against LGBTQ+ people in general. She has even introduced LGBTQ+ views into intersectional issues like reproductive choice, pointing out to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), for instance, that abortion bans also affect trans men and non-binary people.