News (USA)

Fox host claims schools are installing litterboxes for students in bizarre rant

Shannon Bream
Shannon Bream Photo: Screenshot

While on a recent episode of Fox News talk show Outnumbered, commentator Shannon Bream ranted about public schools and bizarrely claimed that schools in her area are installing litterboxes for kids to use.

Bream joined the Outnumbered hosts to weigh in on a presentation by Dr. Diane Ehrensaft. Ehrensaft, the chief psychologist and director of mental health at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Benioff Children’s Hospital gender development center, used whimsical terms to describe the myriad ways in which children can understand their gender.

The show’s hosts pounced on Ehrensaft’s use of terms like “Gender Priuses” and “Gender Tootsie Roll Pops” as metaphors for describing gender expressions that don’t fit neatly into the male-female binary.

Bream briefly conceded that most people want to have respectful “conversations and debates over LGBTQ+ issues,” before disingenuously claiming that Ehrensaft thinks kids can identify as actual Tootsie Pops. She went on to pull the old litterbox hoax out of the woodwork.

“Where I live in the Washington area, I have a lot of Northern Virginia moms who have kids in school who have told me that there are schools who are now having to put litterboxes in for kids who identify as cats,” Bream said. “And I think most parents at home are like, ‘We’ve lost the story line here. Some legitimate conversations to have, but when you spin off this far, you are going to lose most Americans, and there will be backlash from people who think you have lost it.”

Conservatives and other anti-trans trolls just can’t seem to let go of the thoroughly debunked litterbox conspiracy theory. In the last few years, anti-trans conservatives have pushed the urban myth that schools have begun recognizing furries — a subculture in which people dress up as anthropomorphic animal characters — as a gender identity and begun installing litterboxes for students who identify as furries to us. Republican politicians and right-wing commentators have repeated the hoax to gin up the moral panic around trans and nonbinary kids and also to push efforts to ban students from using school bathrooms that match their gender identity.

But the myth has been thoroughly debunked. Last October, NBC News reported that none of the school districts that had been accused by Republican politicians in 2022 of installing litterboxes had actually done so. One Renison University College professor who studies furry culture noted that she has never once come across any evidence of actual furries using litterboxes.

Earlier this week, shock rocker Alice Cooper referenced the false claim that kids these days are identifying as cats.

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