“Family!? That’s not a family! You’re rapists. You steal black & Asian kids.” My son and my 5yo daughter were both now openly crying, petrified. He yelled right at them, unmoved: “These guys aren’t natural. Homosexuals are an abomination. They steal and rape kids.” — from a Twitter thread by a married gay man, describing a creep harassing his family.
It’s possible the guy is genuinely convinced by all the right-wing propaganda about gays being pedophiles, which has, after all, been around for years. It’s still a lie, one intended to make homophobia sound like godly moral behavior. For example in one Texas school, teachers have been criticized for putting up gay pride stickers but it’s not because the critics are anti-gay, gosh no. It’s because “labeling certain classrooms as safe havens for certain groups could communicate to students who do not see themselves reflected in that classroom’s decorations that they are unwanted or unsafe in those rooms.” Or because it implies all the other teachers are homophobic. So gay pride stickers are bad!
But that’s not an excuse, any more than sincerely believing anti-semite Rick Wiles excuses being an anti-Semite. It’s just as likely the shitbag harasser choose to believe the smears because if gays are child abusers, he has the moral high ground.
It’s also possible that he hated gays anyway and the “groomers” bullshit gives him an excuse to unleash his inner bully while fantasizing he’s the good guy in that scenario. I’ll bet good money he’s not half as upset about Tennessee allowing child marriage again.
As I’ve said before, a small percentage of people are always going to be hateful. A much larger group take their cues from the people around them — their church, their department head, their online friends, the media they listen to. When so many Republicans take up the “groomers” battle cry in unison, that’s bound to warp people who might otherwise not be so hostile (or keep their hostility in check, at least). That Twitter thread mentions the guy confronted and yelled at one of the kids in the bathroom; it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see another similar homophobe try to “save” the children by kidnapping them. QAnon supporters have allegedly done it.
I suppose I should be shocked that the “Log Cabin Republicans” — conservative gays — are solidly siding with “Typhoid Ron” DeSantis and his lying mouthpiece Christina Pushaw, they’ve branded a gay icon. Or that they’re willing to parrot Pushaw’s lies about how Don’t Say Gay isn’t anti-gay. But I’m not shocked. White women are willing to work within the ultra-misogynist white supremacist movement; it’s not surprising gays would work with a party that actively opposes their rights, and for that matter their right to exist. Foolish, as the article at the first link points out, and depressing, but not surprising.
As Ibram X Kendi points out, Republicans aren’t protecting kids, they’re leaving them vulnerable. When kids don’t know about race and racism in America, they’re easily manipulated by white supremacist bullshit online (and also misogynist bullshit): “How can kids distinguish right from wrong if they haven’t been shown what’s right and wrong?” The trouble is, as Kendi says, that Republican politicians don’t find white supremacy horrifying the way they do gay rights. They don’t simply tolerate them the way they do gay conservatives, they welcome them into the party.
Republican policies are the fruit of a poisonous tree.