Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law fuels anti-LGBTQ hate online




  • In US
  • 2022-08-10 16:43:26Z
  • By Associated Press

Research that analyzed social media posts finds that hateful references to gays, lesbians and other LGBTQ people surged online after Florida passed a law that bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

References to pedophiles and " grooming " rose by more than 400 percent in the month after Florida's "Don't Say Gay" measure was approved, according to a report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest LGBTQ advocacy groups, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit group that tracks online extremism.

The measure, passed by the Florida Legislature on March 8 and signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 28, says school teachers cannot discuss gender identity or sexual orientation with their young students. Supporters have said decisions about talking about sexual orientation should be left to parents, not teachers.

Critics have said the law sends a hateful message about LGBTQ people.

The researchers who compiled the report found that the 500 most-viewed tweets that mentioned "grooming" were viewed more than 72 million times between January and July.

Influential conservatives drove much of the increase, the researchers found, through their own posts or by liking or forwarding posts from others. They include U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, who has equated criticism of the bill with pedophilia itself.

"If you're against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don't denounce the grooming," Pushaw tweeted in March.

Pushaw later defended her comments, saying she did not single out LGBTQ people in her comments or intend to attack them. She said criticism of Florida's law is misleading and political.

The authors of the report warn that the increased anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is inciting hatred that could lead to violence. They say social media platforms must do more to enforce their own policies on hate speech. Researchers said they reported 100 of the most hateful tweets they saw to Twitter. Only one was removed.

"Online hate and lies reflect and reinforce offline violence and hate," said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. "The normalization of anti-LGBTQ+ narratives in digital spaces puts LGBTQ+ people in danger."

Messages left with Twitter, Boebert and Greene were not immediately returned.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis exchanged subtle political digs as they pledged to work
Joe Biden and Ron DeSantis exchanged subtle political digs as they pledged to work 'hand in glove' in Hurricane Ian recovery

President Joe Biden met with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Fort Meyers, Florida, on Wednesday to survey the extensive damage after Hurricane Ian.

Rivals Biden and DeSantis project unity over Hurricane Ian
Rivals Biden and DeSantis project unity over Hurricane Ian

The two political foes have only complimentary words for one another as they focus on hurricane relief.

OnPolitics: How a 2022 hurricane could preview 2024 election as Biden visits Florida
OnPolitics: How a 2022 hurricane could preview 2024 election as Biden visits Florida

President Joe Biden visits Florida amid Hurricane Ian aftermath, placing him in proximity to a pair of potential 2024 re-election opponents.

Ian is disrupting voting in a GOP region critical for Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio
Ian is disrupting voting in a GOP region critical for Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

Ian's greatest impacts are in four heavily Republican counties critical for GOP efforts to win elections for governor and U.S. Senate.

Ron DeSantis Claims Media Hoped Hurricane Would Hit Tampa
Ron DeSantis Claims Media Hoped Hurricane Would Hit Tampa 'To Advance Their Agenda'

"They don't care about the lives here," the Florida governor said in a bizarre accusation following Hurricane Ian.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US