Darcy Schoening, the leader of a Colorado chapter of the anti-LGBTQ+ group Moms for Liberty, says teachers unions and President Joe Biden (D) are deliberately trying to turn kids LGBTQ+ in order to break down the family and traditional conservative values.
Schoening, chair for the group’s El Paso County chapter, recently sat for an interview with CNN journalist Elle Reeve. Reeve asked Schoening if she believed “there’s some kind of high-level coordinated effort to make more children trans and gay.”
The administration even apologized to the hate group and cancelled the book-reading.
“There is. Yep,” Schoening answered, according to The New Civil Rights Movement.
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Reeve asked, “Well, who’s directing that?”
“Teachers’ unions and, um, our president’s, and a lot of funding sources, and teachers’ unions are also heavily backing the curriculum that we’re bringing into school.”
When Reeves asked her why these groups would want to trun kids LGBTQ+, she replied, “Because it breaks down the family unit, which breaks down traditional conservative values, it breaks down a lot of things in this country. It changes the way that people think, it changes the way that people, um, handle politics.”
Reeves later asked Schoening if she thought her claim sounded like a “conspiracy theory.”
Schoening said, “It’s not a conspiracy theory that the state, whether you’re talking about Colorado or the federal government, is taking a stronger hand in public education, in raising our kids.”
“The people that want to erode away at parental rights, the left, the teachers’ unions, they’ll use LGBTQ or whatever may be the case at the time – those are just tools to erode away at parental rights.”
While Schoening’s comments may sound silly, it’s an increasingly common right-wing claim that has set parents and anti-LGBTQ+ activists against public educators. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro made a similar claim last November, saying that teachers nationwide want to turn kids transgender. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has also repeatedly said that Democrats and teachers want to turn children gay and make students identify as trans.
Other right-wing figures and parents have also claimed that schools try to indoctrinate kids into LGBTQ+ identity. They say that educators’ willingness to respect trans students’ chosen names and pronouns has been used to force impressionable kids into prematurely accepting trans identities without parental knowledge — even though such actions can’t turn otherwise cisgender children transgender.
Nevertheless, Moms for Liberty has become a driving force in the far right’s efforts to reshape public education in the U.S., advocating for what it calls “parental rights” in schools — including banning anti-racist education and LGBTQ+ content from classrooms.
The group’s founders and founding chapter have strong ties to national anti-LGBTQ+ politicians and groups, including the Heritage Foundation, GLAAD notes. Moms for Liberty claims to have 135 chapters in 35 states. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has helped its members get elected to local school boards and appointed one of its members to a special oversight board created to punish Disney for publicly criticizing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The group’s past activities include offering bounties for turning in teachers who discuss “divisive topics”; attacking the Trevor Project for trying to prevent LGBTQ+ teen suicide; trying to get a book about seahorses banned for being too sexy; complaining about a book on the Civil War because it portrays “white people as ‘bad’ or ‘evil’”; trying to get librarians arrested for offering “inappropriate books”; saying that two girls briefly kissing at a school function is “lewd” and “traumatic”; encouraging schools to ignore LGBTQ+ History Month; and suggesting that LGBTQ+ students be forcibly isolated from other pupils.