Why Lauren Boebert & her ilk are so obsessed with LGBTQ+ people

Rep. Lauren Boebert
Rep. Lauren Boebert Photo: Gage Skidmore

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) stood up for former Fox News host Tucker Carlson after leaked video showed him making creepy comments to a female staffer, arguing that trans women’s mere existence somehow negates Carlson’s alleged sexual harassment.

Her words are emblematic of how Republicans have decided that calling LGBTQ+ people “groomers” and “pedophiles” should deflect attention from the sexual impropriety people committed by people they like.

Prior to his termination, Carlson was arguably one of the most powerful people at Fox News, hosting cable news’s highest-rated show. Before he was fired, he could be heard asking a female staffer what goes on in “the ladies’ room.”

“Is there actually nose-powdering going on?” he asked her.

“Sometimes,” the unnamed staffer told Carlson.

“Oooh. I like the sound of that,” he said. “Do pillow fights ever break out? You don’t have to [answer].”

“Not in the bathroom,” she said.

Carlson later appeared apologetic (without actually apologizing): “You are such a good sport. Such a good person. Thank you. I know you do, but you do not deserve that.”

The clip got some attention last week in the media. Carlson’s comments were not appropriate for a workplace, and, according to a lawsuit from former booker Abby Grossberg, were part of a larger pattern of sexist behavior and a misogynistic work environment.

But instead of simply agreeing that what was caught on video was inappropriate, Boebert brought up transgender women to deflect attention.

“If he were a Leftist man, he’d just throw on a skirt and waltz right in to peek under the stalls and find out for himself,” she wrote on Twitter this past Friday about Carlson.

Her statement was a non sequitur. The issue of bathroom usage isn’t about letting men in the women’s room; it’s about transgender women getting to use the appropriate restroom. And no one on the left is defending looking under stalls. In fact, with her tweet, she was the only person in the room defending sexist behavior by defending Carlson.

As liberals often say, “Every Republican accusation is a confession.”

Also last week, former President Donald Trump defended his infamous comments from the Access Hollywood tape where he bragged about sexually assaulting women. It’s a situation that doesn’t seem to have anything to with LGBTQ+ people, but somehow that’s where his supporters went.

“I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything,” he said in the tape, which was leaked during his first presidential campaign.

During his deposition last week in the lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll – the journalist who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her and is now suing him for defamation and battery – Trump stood by those comments.

“If you look over the last million years, I guess that’s been largely true. Not always, but largely true. Unfortunately or fortunately,” he said. It’s pretty clear what he meant when he added that “fortunately.”

Carroll is far from the only person who has accused Trump of sexual assault. At least 15 women as of 2016 had done so, including a 13-year-old girl who filed a lawsuit against him and child sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein (she later withdrew her lawsuit).

This could explain why Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) – one of Trump’s most loyal supporters who has practically been begging him to pick her as his running mate – called President Joe Biden a “pedophile” last month. If you can’t defend your own likely 2024 presidential nominee, accuse the Democratic 2024 presidential nominee of being worse.

“Even Joe Biden the President himself supports children being sexualized and having transgender surgeries,” Greene said on 60 Minutes. “Sexualizing children is what pedophiles do to children.”

Even if one disagrees with every major medical association and believes that gender-affirming care harms trans kids, how in the world is defending that care akin to sexually abusing children? There is no connection, but she needed to call Biden a pedophile and she literally handwaved away the reasoning behind her accusation by bringing up LGBTQ+ people.

Those comments come as “Not a drag queen” has become a popular hashtag on social media. People use the hashtag to share stories of people who are actually accused of sexually abusing children – often members of the clergy or law enforcement – and point out that the alleged assailants aren’t drag queens, despite the rightwing protests calling drag queens pedophiles for reading books to children.

LGBTQ+ people are useful to Republicans since it’s fundamental to the conservative worldview that only bad and abnormal people do bad and abnormal things, and defying gender roles is enough to be seen as bad and abnormal by these people.

They rely on LGBTQ+ people so much as a rhetorical device that, if we didn’t exist, Boebert, Greene, and their ilk would have to invent us.

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