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News Analysis

Right-wing media targets children’s hospital for trans youth care

Escalating threats show how anti-trans bigotry promoted by conservative pundits risks metastasizing into stochastic terrorism



Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By John Knefel | WASHINGTON – Right-wing media figures have spent more than a week encouraging their audiences to harass healthcare workers at Boston Children’s Hospital for providing care to trans youth, leading to fears that the disinformation campaign could result in acts of violence. After reports surfaced of death threats against hospital employees, some on the right have broadened their focus to other children’s hospitals.

On Thursday evening, Fox News’ top star Tucker Carlson devoted two segments to the topic, interviewing far-right Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and anti-LGBTQ activist Chris Elston, who goes by the moniker Billboard Chris. Carlson repeatedly, falsely described providing gender-affirming care as “mutilation of children,” before asking Elston to elaborate.

“We have the biggest child abuse scandal in modern medicine history,” Elston said.

“I don’t think there’s any debate over whether we should be allowed – which doctors should be allowed to mutilate children,” Carlson responded.

Elston and Carlson are both completely wrong here. Numerous studies show that having access to gender-affirming care is associated with improved mental health outcomes, while being denied access is associated with increased rates of suicidality and depression. And while much of that care is non-surgical, experts have found that those who do have surgical procedures experience very low rates of regret.

Carlson added that “we can debate, you know, the trans question,” channeling the antisemitic phrase “the Jewish question,” that has long been used by Nazis and others on the extreme right.

From the August 18, 2022, edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight

Carlson also downplayed the concept of “stochastic terrorism,” a term that describes a process through which ubiquitous violent rhetoric creates conditions that can lead to acts of violence by individuals. The idea describes an environment in which each individual act of violence is impossible to predict, but the likelihood of some sort of violence becomes far greater.

In his introduction, Carlson praised Libs of TikTok, an extremist, anti-LGBTQ social media influencer account run by Chaya Raichik, which has driven much of the anti-LGBTQ harassment across Twitter and Facebook. On August 11, Raichik shared a video falsely claiming that Boston Children’s Hospital was performing hysterectomies and genital surgeries on minors. Facebook reportedly suspended Libs of TikTok on August 17, but the page has since resumed posting content targeting children’s hospitals. Twitter has yet to take any action against it.

Earlier this year, Libs of TikTok repeatedly suggested that drag events were inappropriately exposing children to sexual content. In several instances, those posts were followed by members of the far-right Proud Boys gang showing up to disrupt the event.

Since Raichik’s post about Boston Children’s Hospital, numerous figures and outlets on the right have joined in the effort.

The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, one of the most virulently anti-LGBTQ pundits on the right, announced that he was organizing an intimidation campaign against hospitals that provide gender-affirming care for trans youth.

Walsh addressed the issue on his show days later, accusing Boston Children’s of lying about the threats they’d received and dismissing his connection to stochastic terrorism.

“When they claim that threats are coming in – that they’re being threatened – you can never take that claim at face value,” Walsh said. “Of course, they’re not above simply lying, and what’s more, we know what they consider a threat to be.”

“What was the word of the day that we learned yesterday? It was, uh, sto – sto – stochastic terrorism, is what it is,” Walsh continued. “So we already know that any criticism is an act of terrorism.”

From the August 17, 2022, edition of The Matt Walsh Show

Ben Shapiro took the same approach as Carlson and Walsh. Referring to the media writ large, Shapiro said that “if you note that gender-affirming care is an awful euphemism for torturing children – if you note this – then this means that you’re engaged in what they call ‘stochastic terrorism.’”

“No one should wonder about what Boston Children’s Hospital is doing, mutilating children,” Shapiro said. “No one should ask questions about that. This makes you akin to a terrorist, effectively speaking.”

Several other right-wing figures referred to the providers as demons or Nazis.

  • Conservative talk radio host Jesse Kelly said a provider at Boston Children’s Hospital was “a demon, a child-abusing demon who thinks because a little boy picks up a Barbie doll, he’s now somebody who should be groomed into eventually cutting his penis off.”
  • Failing Fox News rival One America News repeatedly pushed disinformation about the issue, including one segment where a guest compared providing gender-affirming care to Nazi gas chambers.
  • BlazeTV host Steve Deace also invoked the Nazis in describing the hospital’s practice. “That’s Fourth Reich stuff,” Deace said on his podcast. He also said what providers were doing was “like demonic possession” and that providing care to children was the moral equivalent of chattel slavery and segregation, and argued that providers should be “criminally prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
  • Seth Dillon, the CEO of conservative humor website the Babylon Bee, tweeted the care Boston Children’s Hospital provided was “as evil as it is insane.”

Conservative digital media outlets and pundits have taken up the campaign as well. Far-right website The Federalist accused the hospital of “promoting the mutilation of healthy kids.” Nationalist conservative and Viktor Orban-apologist Rod Dreher wrote a typically unhinged post arguing now was the time for “moral panic.”

The list goes on.

The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles, tweeted about a gender-affirming provider at a different hospital in an apparent attempt to include them in the broader harassment campaign.

“I would probably call it the Gender Mutilation Service at Boston Children’s Hospital,” said Christian fundamentalist influencer Allie Beth Stuckey.

From the August 16, 2022, edition of Blaze TV’s Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey

Conservative talk show host Dennis Prager said the hospital’s work showed that “Boston is a sick city. Really, really sick.”

The risks to the LGBTQ community and those who stand in solidarity with them, including healthcare providers, is difficult to overstate. Anti-trans activists have harassed trans people, drag queens, and others in LGBTQ communities for months. Fascist street gangs have taken up the call. Prominent trans YouTuber Clara Sorrenti, who is known online as keffals, was repeatedly “swatted” by anti-trans activists and is currently in hiding. According to a study by the Williams institute at UCLA, trans people in particular are over four times more likely to be victims of violent crime than people who are not trans.

These are the predictable and intended results of the targeted campaign against Boston Children’s Hospital and other trans-inclusive providers. Conservative pundits are making acts of violence like this more likely, a fact they know all too well, which is why they’re so desperate to deny it.


John Knefel is a Senior Writer, and Rapid Response team member at Media Matters. Follow him on Twitter @mmfa or @johnknefel


The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.


News Analysis

76% say trans youth care should be decided by parents or doctors

A new poll shows that the majority of people believe that decisions around gender affirming care should not be elected lawmakers



Demonstration for transgender rights in London, UK. (Photo by Karollyne Videira Hubert)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Over the past three years, 21 states have implemented bans or severe limitations on gender-affirming care for transgender youth. These prohibitions were enacted despite significant resistance from parents and medical professionals who have emphasized that such care is lifesaving for transgender youth in need.

Despite this, numerous Republicans have expressed the belief that targeting on transgender youth is a “political winner” for their re-election prospects. However, in the 2023 elections, candidates who featured attacks on trans youth at the forefront of their campaigns suffered significant defeats.

Now, a new Data For Progress survey reveals that the broader public does not favor legislative interference in transgender issues. Instead, a decisive 76% of likely voters believe that the decision regarding access to care for transgender youth should rest with parents or medical practitioners.

In the poll, likely voters were asked who they thought should be able to make the final decision on who can access gender affirming care. 54% of respondents stated that the parents of trans youth should make that decision, while 22% said that the decision should belong with the doctors of the trans youth.

Only 12% of people answered that the elected state lawmakers should be able to make the decision around whether or not a trans youth should be able to access gender affirming care. Moreover, even Republicans opposed legislative interference in trans care; only 16% of Republicans answered that such decisions should be handled by the legislature.

The survey also questioned respondents about the creation of a transgender bill of rights. This year, Senate Resolution 144 was proposed which would codify the right to medical care, education, housing, employment, and more for transgender people. Such a resolution also has a plurality of public support, with 48% supporting such a bill and 43% opposing it.

You can see the crosstabs here:

Though previous polling has been unclear around transgender issues, one continuing theme of polls taken on this question is that voters oppose making attacks on trans youth a political priority.

Earlier this year, a Fox News poll stated that 86% of people in the United States view attacks on trans youth as a major problem or a minor problem. That same poll also found that only 1% of voters name “trans/woke issues” a top priority.

Another poll found that a majority of people believe that there is too much legislation targeting trans people and that these bills are wedge issues.

This year, voters considered candidates across the United States who made trans issues a top priority. Those candidates did not fare very well on election night. Moms For Liberty an Project 1776 backed candidates lost 70% of their races.

Virginia saw the House and the Senate go to Democrats after Governor Glen Youngkin campaigned for his party on a platform that targeted trans youth throughout the state. Governor Beshear in Kentucky faced a torrent of ads for his veto of a gender affirming care ban on trans youth, and yet he won by more than he did in his first race.

Clearly, this issue has not delivered political victories for Republicans. This new poll may explain why that is the case.

Now, heading into 2024, candidates who have made trans issues a major priority and have passed bans on trans care for youth will face a real test on the popularity of their positions. If this poll is correct, they may face an uphill battle in swing districts nationwide.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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News Analysis

Moms for Liberty & anti-trans Republicans suffer election defeats

Hotly contested school districts: Candidates opposing transgender rights and running on a Moms For Liberty platform lost big.



EIM/Los Angeles Blade photo montage

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, election results poured in and within minutes of polls closing, it became apparent that Democrats were going to have a good night. Kentucky’s Governor Andy Beshear surged ahead, despite the over $2 million in anti-trans ads deployed against him.

As the evening progressed, Democrats clinched victories in numerous contests, including taking control of the House and Senate in Virginia, securing a pivotal Pennsylvania Supreme Court seat, affirming a constitutional right to abortion in Ohio, and capturing mayoral positions in several municipalities.

Another narrative began to emerge, though: the overwhelming defeat of Moms For Liberty and anti-trans school board candidates across the country, including pivotal districts like Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Loudoun County, Virginia—areas critical to the 2024 election landscape.

After championing a significant anti-trans agenda in 2023 and proposing more legislation against the LGBTQ+ community than the past decade, Republicans running on that platform faced unexpected and widespread defeats.

The most intense scrutiny over transgender issues was seen in Kentucky, where Governor Andy Beshear faced a barrage of more than $2 million in anti-trans advertisements from the American Principles Project. These ads included a spot titled “Real Man,” featuring Lia Thomas and anti-trans swimmer Riley Gaines. 

Other ads insinuated that Beshear would covertly assist children in gender transition and sanction surgeries for trans minors as young as nine, despite no evidence of such procedures being performed on young transgender youth in the state. This followed Governor Beshear’s veto of legislation prohibiting all gender-affirming care for transgender youth, including hormone therapy and puberty blockers, which was overridden by the state’s Republican supermajority.

Notably, Beshear secured his position by a substantially larger margin than in 2019. Moreover, in 2019, the very same organization launched a significant anti-trans advertisement against Beshear, which similarly did not tip the scales. It appears that Kentucky’s electorate has grown increasingly opposed to such tactics targeting transgender individuals in the state.

Senator Claire McCaskill spoke on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, pointing out the outright rejection of the tactics in the state. She stated of the race:

“This issue about transgender rights, the Republicans think they have this big winner… People voted for [Beshear] last night over the Trump-backed candidate in a big way. So these issues, they think banning all abortions and transgender rights, they think these are winners? They need to check again with the suburbs of America, because they are not winners in the suburbs.”

Governor Beshear’s reelection would be the first sign of what was to become a long night for anti-trans Republicans.

In Virginia, where Glen Youngkin heavily pushed a controversial “model school policy ” that mandated discrimination against transgender students, Democrats took both the House and the Senate. Transgender candidate Danica Roem became the state’s first openly transgender senator.

These victories occurred despite Governor Youngkin’s team prioritizing policies targeting transgender people in sports in flyers handed out at political rallies for Republicans in the state.

The rejection of measures aimed at transgender students was starkly evident in the defeat of school board candidates endorsed by Moms For Liberty and those who advocated for policies against transgender students.

In Virginia, by Wednesday morning, five out of six school board candidates supported by Moms For Liberty were trailing in their races. In Loudoun County, a critical battleground in the debate over transgender policies, Democrats gained a 6-seat majority on the school board. This district had been at the center of national attention, spotlighted by conservative media following a sexual assault incident involving a purportedly transgender student—a claim for which there was no substantiated evidence.

Triumphs for school board candidates advocating for transgender rights extended beyond Loudoun County. In Albemarle County, Justice Scalia’s daughter, Meg Scalia Bryce, was defeated in her bid for the local school district board. Her campaign was marked by opposition to transgender rights and anti-“CRT” rhetoric. Meanwhile, in Fairfax County, where the school board declared its refusal to enforce Governor Youngkin’s policies directed at transgender students, right-leaning candidates in favor of Youngkin’s policies were unsuccessful as Democrats swept every seat.

This election was deemed a critical indicator of the “parental rights” movement’s targeting of trans students. In the Livingston school district, the incumbent Kirk Twigg was unseated following his controversial proposal to burn LGBTQ+ books.

The narrative of candidates aligned with Moms For Liberty suffering electoral defeats played out nationwide. In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, an electoral bellwether, Democrats clinched every seat on the Central Bucks School Board election results. This race became one of the costliest in U.S. history for a school board, with campaign spending reaching $600,000. The district was a battleground over book ban and anti-trans policies, with Republicans distributing flyers showcasing explicit images about books featuring trans characters to households throughout the district.

Flyers targeting LGBTQ+ books in Bucks County School District.

This pattern repeated itself across the nation. In Pennsylvania’s Central York School District, Democrats overturned the previously Republican-held school board amidst controversies over book bans and anti-LGBTQ+ policies that led to packed school board meetings.

A similar victory for Democrats unfolded in Perkiomen Valley School Board, which saw national attention over a trans bathroom ban in schools there; Democrats swept this race on Tuesday.

Similarly, in Iowa’s Linn-Mar School District, a focal point for national conservative media due to debates over transgender student policies, all three Moms For Liberty-endorsed candidates were defeated. This trend was echoed throughout Iowa, with 12 out of 13 such candidates facing losses.

In Kansas, Johnson County voters rejected all candidates from the group in school board elections. And in Minnesota’s Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District, all four contenders were unsuccessful.

Book bans around LGBTQ+ books were a major losing issue in the 2023 elections. This was most evident in Pella, Iowa, where a ballot initiative would have given county officials the ability to ban books from the library after the library chose to keep “Gender Queer” in stock. The town, which had voted +35 for Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, rejected the ballot initiative.

Several other candidates supporting transgender people won their races. In Pennsylvania, Judge Daniel McCaffery was elected to the state supreme court. He has been a vocal ally of the LGBTQ+ community.

In New Jersey, Democrats flipped multiple Republican seats and held onto competitive seats. In one hotly contested race in a competitive district, Democrat Vin Gopal defeated a Republican challenger running on trans people in schools. Similar narratives unfolded in contested races cross the country.

This is not the first time Republicans have lost on trans issues. In 2022, similar results unfolded: In Georgia’s senate race, Herschel Walker’s focus on anti-trans swimmer Riley Gaines did not resonate with voters, as evidenced by Senator Warnock’s win. Similarly, Arizona, Kari Lake’s emphasis on Governor Hobbs’ husband’s counseling of a transgender youth did not sway the election in her favor.

Across the country, anti-trans campaigns consistently failed to deliver Republican victories last year, from Michigan’s Democratic sweep to the Wisconsin Supreme Court election and Pennsylvania’s legislative races. These outcomes were so striking that Michigan’s Republican chair attributed their losses across all government branches to prioritizing anti-trans issues over economic concerns. Many were watching to see if, after relentlessly targeting transgender people in 2023, this pattern would change.

Republicans face difficult decisions ahead. With the 2024 legislative session on the horizon, the battle over transgender rights has escalated to a national stage. Presidential hopefuls are pushing for complete prohibitions on gender-affirming care. The newly appointed House Speaker, Representative Mike Johnson, a former spokesperson for the Alliance Defending Freedom, has been criticized for anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.

A looming national budget conflict sees Republicans proposing numerous amendments to ban trans care and directly target transgender individuals, even threatening a government shutdown to push these culture war stipulations. However, if past election outcomes in 2022 and 2023 are a barometer, such strategies could lead to electoral repercussions.

While political analysts have largely centered their post-election discussions on the influence of abortion rights, the significant role of LGBTQ+ rights in the 2023 elections has not received its due attention. Overlooking the sweeping defeats of anti-trans candidates at the local level and the surge of voter turnout driven by student-led organizers would be to overlook a pivotal narrative of the 2023 elections—a narrative that could carry profound implications into 2024. For the students and transgender youth witnessing the downfall of numerous anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ figures, the sense of relief is palpable and undeniable.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Abusive practices & conversion therapy ties: Finnish Doctor Kaltiala

Dr. Riittakerttu Kaltiala published stating she helped “pioneer” trans care. The reality is more akin to a horror story



EIM/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – On Monday, Bari Weiss’ platform, “The Free Press,” published an article by Dr. Riitakerttu Kaltiala, the chief psychiatrist in the department of adolescent psychiatry at Finland’s Tampere University Hospital.

Dr. Kaltiala claims to reveal the “truth” about gender-affirming care, contending that this truth is being “silenced” by esteemed organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology.

What she omits, however, are the troubling allegations of misconduct within her own gender clinic in Finland, her associations with conversion therapists and anti-trans entities, how those practices have found their way into her clinic, and her involvement in lobbying against trans care in the United States.

Ultimately, the story’s title as well as its assertions are false: gender affirming care is not dangerous, and to many of her patients, the only thing she has pioneered is their suffering.

Dr. Kaltiala initiated her medical journey in forensic and adolescent psychiatry, ultimately ascending to the position of chief psychiatrist of adolescent psychiatry at the university hospital. In 2011, despite her prior research portfolio having little to nothing to do gender medicine, she was tasked with establishing a gender clinic.

For years, details of her clinical practice remained obscure to American audiences. At the time, the urgency of anti-trans legislation in the United States had not even begun, and the operations of a chief psychiatrist in a Finish gender clinic seemed of marginal concern to the public eye.

This dynamic shifted in the early 2020s when the surge of legislation targeting trans people reached its zenith. Proponents of these measures, eager to deflect claims that their stance was rooted in religious discrimination, searched for ways to give their position a veneer of scientific credibility. A handful of Nordic clinics, such as Dr. Kaltiala’s, became invaluable to the anti-trans right, offering an appearance of scientific authority to support their cause.

Simultaneously, alarming testimonials from Dr. Kaltiala’s patients regarding their clinic encounters started circulating. The Finnish LGBTQ+ platform, Kehrääjä, solicited information from many of the clinics patients. What it found was shocking.

The publication detailed an alleged incident where a clinician asked a young girl to “describe to me how you masturbate,” an allusion to the discredited theory of transgender identity being a fetish, once used as a way to invalidate many transgender people.

Additionally, a transgender boy was allegedly cautioned that bottom surgery “seldom functions correctly,” and was remarked upon his stature, being told he would “be quite short for a man.” His treatment was subsequently put on hold after being told that his hobbies were “too girlish.”

Numerous patients have reported being addressed by their old names and pronouns in the clinic, a practice that apparently persisted irrespective of legal name changes. While the clinic denies these claims, Dr. Kaltiala’s statements reflect a similar stance.

She is on record opposing the validity of transgender people’s gender identities, once stating, “Acceptance means saying, ‘So you’re a boy who feels like you’re a girl,’” to a transgender girl. These assertions are consistent with patient accounts that children were referred to by their sex assigned at birth, regardless of any legal name changes or if they had been living in accordance with their gender identity prior to arriving at the clinic.

Similarly, she opposes allowing trans youth to change their IDs, stating that “it would be irresponsible to cement their gender self-identification in state documents” to Leor Sapir, an activist from the Manhattan Institute opposing care.

“How does it feel knowing you’ll never be as good as real man?”

The clinic apparently utilizes gatekeeping methods not used in modern standards of care that were more common decades ago. One patient reports being told, “how does it feel knowing you’ll never be as good as a real man.” The patient likewise claimed to Kehrääjä that he was always expected to display traditional, strong masculinity that would then be judged by the staff.

The clinic required “real life experience” in your gender identity to obtain care, but that “real life experience” did not begin until after diagnosis, according to some patients. The mandatory requirement of “real life experience” combined with enforcement of gender stereotypes is more akin to how trans people were treated in the 1970s than modern times. These practices have been decried by Amnesty International.

Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect is the clinic’s endorsement of what appears to be “gender exploratory therapy,” a new form of conversion therapy. This method, increasingly favored by right-wing opponents of trans healthcare, aims to postpone transition indefinitely while attributing a trans identity to factors other than a person’s authentic experience of gender.

As a result, necessary care is perpetually deferred until trans youth feel that transitioning is no longer viable or they age into adulthood. This form of conversion therapy, endorsed by many in the Christian right in the United States, has also been advocated by the American College of Pediatricians — an organization with a deceptive name that has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Here are a list of supposed “causes of being trans” that gender exploratory therapy seeks to “explore,” all while putting off transition indefinitely. The list is from “Parents of ROGD Kids,” and patient reports from Dr. Kaltiala’s clinic show that the clinic tries to explain trans identification on many of these unsupported “causes” of being trans. You can see that the number of “truly transgender people” is listed as a tiny speck, with the implication that most people who identify as transgender are not “truly trans.”

“It feels like the whole process is about searching for various reasons why the child is transgender. The option that transgender identity could be an innate, unchangeable trait is considered only as a last resort,” one family told Kehrääjä. Numerous accounts of experiences at the clinic detail delayed transition and denial of care until adulthood, with many stating the experience was traumatic or harmful.

“at this hospital, we provide… exploratory intervention”

Dr. Kaltiala claims that gender affirming care is dangerous, but in reality, it is her practices that are dangerous to her patients. She has explicitly endorsed gender exploratory therapy, stating that “at this hospital, we provide… exploratory intervention” when delivering a speech to the Florida Board of Medicine advocating the banning of gender affirming care. The harms of this institutionalized, therapeutic gaslighting are evident in patient reports solicited from others who have undergone exploratory therapy.

The clinic’s lengthy waiting lists have reportedly inflicted harm on patients. In search of timely care, some have reportedly sought treatment beyond the nation’s frontiers. One family, for instance, obtained a diagnosis from a private doctor who legally prescribed puberty blockers. Despite this, the clinic reported the patient to child protective services and filed a criminal complaint. These actions resulted in no legal repercussions; however, Dr. Kaltiala’s clinic subsequently terminated the patient’s care.

Gender affirming care is not “dangerous,” it saves lives. A recent report from the esteemed medical journal, The Lancet, published on July 26, highlights that gender affirming care constitutes a form of preventative healthcare. It is associated with an improved quality of life and plays a crucial role in the well-being of transgender youth.

Numerous studies have shown that it leads to positive psychological outcomes and reduces suicide rates significantly—some studies report a remarkable 73% decrease in suicide rates. The endorsement of gender affirming care is supported by a collection of over 50 papers compiled by Cornell University, all of which underscore its beneficial effects.

Dr. Kaltiala’s engages in numerous other falsehoods in her article. She claims, for instance, that up to 80% of transgender children will “desist” from their gender identity—a claim based on decades-old data that has been widely debunked by newer studies. She endorses the idea of “social contagion” as a driver behind transgender healthcare, proposing that “gender clinics around the world” are diagnosing “social contagion-linked gender dysphoria.”

Yet, on average, transgender youths have a longstanding awareness of their gender identity, often 4-8 years, before they reveal it to their parents. The invocation of “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” and similar concepts, which insinuate that transgender youths’ gender dysphoria emerges suddenly due to social contagion, has been repudiated by over 60 leading psychological organizations.

She also leans heavily into the idea that gender affirming care lacks “high quality” evidence, according to an analysis using the GRADE technique done by those in the country. This point has been heavily refuted by medical experts as well as several courts in the United States, including federal courts in Arkansas and Georgia. It would be impossible to conduct a study that obtains a “high quality” score because it would require a randomized controlled trial, which is not ethically possible for gender affirming care. In fact, most medical care does not have “high quality” GRADE scores because if a treatment is known to be likely lifesaving from clinical experience and observational data, it would be difficult to obtain approval to withhold that care.

See this portion of a judgement by a federal court in Georgia which evaluates this very claim:

Dr. Kaltiala cannot be characterized merely as an impartial medical researcher; she has emerged as a key figurehead for an anti-trans movement. She has been deeply involved with many of the key players in trans care bans. She’s appeared in a podcast by Genspect, an entity known for opposing gender affirming care up to the age of 25teasing transgender children on social media, and promoting Moms for Liberty—a staunchly conservative anti-LGBTQ+ “parental rights” organization in the U.S.

In the her appearance on a Genspect podcast, Dr. Kaltiala was featured alongside Stella O’Malley, founder of Genspect, who has labeled trans girls as “porn induced” fetishists and stated they warrant “no empathy.” She similarly has worked with the Catholic Medical Association’s Patrick Hunter, a Desantis-handpicked Florida Board of Medicine member who was integral to the care bans in the state. She testified at the Florida Board of Medicine hearing to help ban care.

Were Dr. Kaltiala a single chief adolescent psychiatrist in a private medical hospital in the United States, it would warrant concern. Instead, she runs the gender program of one of only two hospitals that serve trans youth in Finland. Her rise to her position and the outdated methods she employ for trans youth in her clinic’s care means she can have outsized influence on policy. That influence then gets magnified and singled out to help ban care in the United States.

Likewise, her willingness to promote harmful policies towards trans patients has given her purchase in the biggest circles opposed to transgender rights. JK Rowling retweeted her story. It was shared by Leor Sapir of the Manhattan Institute. The far-right Alliance Defending Freedom blasted the story. So did Seth Dillon. Even Elon Musk has joined in the discussion about her.

The prevailing narrative for the past few years has painted Finland as a “progressive place” for transgender healthcare that later retracted its approach following a “careful examination of evidence.” However, there has been scant scrutiny of the actual practices at the country’s primary clinic. Now, the stories of those on the front lines—the patients grappling with a healthcare system rife with mistreatment and political agendas—are coming to light.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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News Analysis

33 incidents of documented violent threats after Libs of TikTok posts

Timeline details harassment & violent threats to at least 33 institutions, events, or individuals have followed incitement from Libs of TikTok



Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

By  Alyssa TIRRELL & Kayla Gogarty | WASHINGTON – The account Libs of TikTok directs the anti-LGBTQ outrage of a large audience toward individual people and institutions, authoring posts that are regularly followed by harassment and threats of violence. 

Bomb threats to hospitals and harassment against hospital staff have followed the account’s posts to social media. A similar relationship is apparent in a series of bomb threats, death threats, and harassment efforts against schools, libraries, and educators.

The account has also seemingly inspired violent protests and threats to Pride events, drag shows, and drag queen story hours. Media Matters documented 25 institutions, events, and individuals who reported threats after being targeted by Libs of TikTok, and 8 who reported harassment — a total of at least 33 instances of threats or harassment.

Here’s a timeline of threats and harassment seemingly sparked by Libs of TikTok’s posts, as well as some background on the account and the right-wing websites that help to amplify its hate.

Libs of TikTok directs the anti-LGBTQ outrage of a large audience toward individual people and institutions

LoTT has been linked to backlash against hospitals and medical providers.

  • A Human Rights Campaign December 2022 report on the link between online harassment and offline violence named LoTT as one of the accounts responsible for a “campaign of hate against hospitals and medical providers who offer gender-affirming care.” The report found that “24 different hospitals and providers, across 21 states, … were directly attacked online following harassing, inflammatory and misleading posts,” some authored by LoTT. [Human Rights Campaign, 12/8/22
  • LoTT has scrutinized schools and educators, with some experiencing backlash.In the first four months of 2022, LoTT targeted over 200 individual teachers, schools, and districts. A Media Matters review of the Twitter/X account found that LoTT tagged or named at least 222 schools, education organizations, or school system employees within the first four months of 2022, often directing users to harass an individual school district or teacher. [Media Matters, 4/28/22
  • The founder of LoTT has made false and inflammatory claims about LGBTQ people.In the interview on Fox Nation’s Tucker Carlson Today where she first revealed her identity, Chaya Raichik claimed that LGBTQ people are a “cult,” adding, “They’re just evil people. And they want to groom kids. They’re recruiting.” The following month, in another interview in the media tour prompted by her identity reveal, Raichik referred to trans women as “cheaper” and “knockoff versions” of cis women. [Media Matters, 1/18/23; The Daily Beast, 3/28/23]
  • Raichik has said she sees herself “as a journalist,” but she has promoted hoaxes and doctored footage.In one such instance, LoTT shared doctored video of an all-ages drag event to suggest a performer in a nude illusion (“layers of clothing designed to look like a naked person,” per LGBTQ Nation) had appeared in front of children. The University of South Dakota, whose LGBTQ student group had hosted the show, received an email claiming that bombs had been placed on the campus and threatening to harm potential survivors of the detonation. [Media Matters, 1/18/23; LGBTQ Nation, 12/16/22]
  • Raichik has mocked LGBTQ victims of violence and endorsed real-world harassment. Despite condemning violence in a comment to The Washington Post in September 2022, Raichik has celebrated and endorsed the harassment and threats that stem from her scrutiny. She also mocked a slain trans man, emphasizing that a report called him a “pregnant boyfriend.” [The Washington Post, 9/2/22; Advocate, 8/27/23; Media Matters, 4/28/22; Twitter/X, 6/15/22]

Libs of TikTok’s posts were followed by harassment or threats of violence against at least 10 hospitals or hospital staff

  • LoTT targeted Doernbecher Children’s Hospital; the hospital reported harassment.Replies to the post included comments calling the doctors “perverted demons” and saying it was “time for 1776 v.2.0.” [Twitter/X, 3/16/22; Media Matters, 8/18/22]
  • 06/13/22LoTT targeted a Nebraska children’s hospital; the hospital reported threats.The post denounced the hospital for hosting a youth Pride event at which information about LGBTQ health and gender-affirming care would be made available. [Twitter/X, 6/13/22; The Washington Post, 9/2/22]
  • 08/11/22LoTT targeted Boston Children’s Hospital; the hospital received violent threats.Following posts about Boston Children’s Hospital, members of far-right online forums suggested people “start executing these ‘doctors.’” From August 30, 2022, to November 16, 2022, Boston Children’s Hospital reportedly received three bomb threats, including one in which the caller cited the hospital’s gender-affirming care program. The threats were deemed credible by the FBI and later resulted in an arrest and a guilty plea. [Facebook, 8/11/22; Twitter/X, 8/16/22; Media Matters, 8/18/22; Vice, 8/17/22; NBC Boston, 9/28/23;, 10/24/22; The Boston Globe, 11/16/22]
  • 08/12/22LoTT targeted the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; the hospital reported harassment.The hospital also reported online harassment. [Twitter/X, 8/12/22; Human Rights Campaign, 12/8/22; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 8/28/22
  • 08/24/23LoTT targeted a doctor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital; the doctor reported harassment.LoTT posted a video of a doctor from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Washington University Transgender Center describing the difference between biological sex and gender identity. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the doctor in the video began receiving “hateful and threatening messages via Twitter and her work email” within minutes of the post. [Human Rights Campaign, 12/8/22
  • 08/25/22LoTT targeted Children’s National Hospital; the hospital reported threats.LoTT published a report that pushed misinformation about the gender-affirming care program at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.; the hospital reported threats and harassment. [Twitter/X, 8/25/22; The Washington Post, 8/26/22]
  • 09/18/22LoTT targeted Akron Children’s Hospital; the hospital reported harassment.The Akron Beacon Journal reported that “Akron Children’s Hospital is the latest target of right-wing social media accounts targeting children’s hospitals nationwide that offer gender affirming care.” [Twitter/X, 9/19/22; Akron Beacon Journal, 9/22/22; News 5 Cleveland, 9/22/22]
  • 09/21/22LoTT targeted Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; the hospital reported receiving threats.The post claimed that training videos provided to doctors were ultimately intended to “convince parents to get on board with their child’s gender transition.” [Twitter/X, 9/21/22; CBS News Philadelphia, 10/11/22]
  • 09/23/22LoTT targeted a doctor at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s UW Health; the clinic reported harassment.LoTT posted a thread that mischaracterized the gender-affirming surgeries performed by the co-director of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s UW Health gender services program; the clinic reported harassment. The thread, to which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also replied, was quickly followed by further misinformation, online harassment, and harassing phone calls to the clinic. The physician also reported being doxxed. [NBC, 10/7/22]
  • 08/02/23LoTT highlighted an Oregon medical center; the hospital received a bomb threat.The post shows at least 11,500 reposts. The following day the clinic received bomb threats and was forced to close for a day. [Twitter/X, 8/2/23; Advocate, 8/10/23]
  • LoTT targeted Seattle Children’s Hospital; the hospital reported needing heightened security.The clinic was targeted on July 18, 2022, and seemingly in response to the post, the gender clinic at the hospital installed a panic button and hired a full-time security guard. Media Matters could not source reporting that the clinic was harassed or threatened, so it has not been included in the total incidents of threats and harassment reported in this publication. [Twitter/X, 7/18/22; Politico, 4/23/23

Libs of TikTok’s posts were followed by harassment or bomb threats against at least 16 schools, libraries, or educators

  • 02/28/22LoTT began targeting Salem Keizer Public Schools; replies smeared the district.From February 28 to April 5, 2022, LoTT tagged the Salem Keizer Public Schools in Oregon at least 12 times; replies smeared the district. Raichik targeted the district in part for announcing new policies that support trans students using chosen pronouns and bathrooms and for issuing pronoun pins to students and faculty. A tweet from the school system account drew hundreds of replies, many filled with anti-LGBTQ attacks and smears. [Media Matters, 4/22/22]
  • 04/10/22LoTT targeted a trans teacher; the teacher was harassed.Raichik shared a video of the teacher explaining how he teaches his students about identity. Raichik tagged the teacher’s employer and included the teacher’s Instagram username in her tweets. Users replying to Libs of TikTok argued that the teacher should not be allowed to work with children and declared that he is “another groomer that needs to be arrested and jailed for abusing and trying to indoctrinate kids into the sickness.” [Twitter/X, 4/10/22; Media Matters, 4/28/22]
  • 04/25/22LoTT targeted Austin Independent School District; the district reported harassment.LoTT tweeted out false accusations that second-graders in the Austin Independent School District were learning about furries. Media Matters found that LoTT had tweeted about the district at least 18 times by that point, sometimes tagging individual employees. [Mashable, 4/26/22; Media Matters, 4/28/22]
  • 03/21/23LoTT targeted Northwest Junior High; the district received bomb threats.LoTT posted about Northwest Junior High in Iowa, denouncing its library for housing a book with LGBTQ content. The school district received graphically anti-gay emails and a pair of bomb threats and eventually decided to remove the book from district collections. [Iowa City Press-Citizen, 3/30/23]
  • 08/21/23LoTT and other right-wing figures targeted a public library in Davis, California; the library received a bomb threat.The tweet garnered over 30,000 interactions. The library was targeted with a bomb threat and harassment. [Twitter/X, 8/21/23; MMFA, 8/23/23]
  • 08/21/23LoTT targeted Ellen Ochoa Elementary School; the school received bomb threats.The post centered around a 16-second video that a school librarian posted on TikTok. The tweet garnered over 20,000 interactions. The librarian was doxxed and the school received multiple bomb threats. [Twitter/X, 8/21/23; The Oklahoman, 8/23/23]
  • 09/09/23LoTT began targeting Western Heights school district; the district received a bomb threat.From September 9 to 14, 2023, LoTT targeted Western Heights school district in Oklahoma City in a series of posts. An elementary school in the district received a bomb threat on September 15. [Vice, 10/4/23]
  • 09/09/23LoTT targeted Witchcraft Heights Elementary School; the school received bomb threats.Following bomb threats on September 19, 15, and 21, police reported being in contact with state and federal law enforcement. [Vice, 10/4/23; Boston 25 News, 9/21/23]
  • 09/13/23LoTT began targeting Anoka-Hennepin School District; the school received a bomb threat.LoTT posted about the district on September 13 and 14. The first tweet garnered over 26,000 interactions. The following day, the school received a bomb threat. [Twitter/X, 9/13/23; Vice, 10/4/23]
  • 09/15/23LoTT targeted a Red Oak School classroom; the school received bomb threats.The tweet garnered over 15,000 interactions. The post tagged the school and promoted hateful replies. On September 21, school staff received a bomb threat and evacuated the campus. A second threat was received on September 26. [Twitter/X, 9/15/23; American Independent, 9/29/23]
  • 09/20/23LoTT targeted Pulaski High School; the school received bomb threats.The tweet garnered over 7,000 interactions. The school received two bomb threats in the following week. Vice reported that the school attributed the threats to “a variety of controversial social media content.” [Twitter/X, 9/15/23; Vice, 10/4/23]
  • 09/21/23LoTT targeted Cherry Creek School District; the district received bomb threats.LoTT published a piece on the account’s Substack claiming that Colorado’s Cherry Creek School District was offering pornography in school libraries to students and referring to the district as “groomers.” On September 22, a local news outlet reported to police that they had received an email stating that multiple bombs had been planted in several elementary schools and administrative buildings. [Sentinel Colorado, 9/28/23
  • 09/24/23LoTT targeted Denver Public Schools; the district received bomb threats.The tweet garnered over 40,000 interactions. Vice reported that the district “received several threats the following day from someone claiming they’d placed a bomb in three of the 12 schools in the district.” [Twitter/X, 9/24/23; Vice, 10/4/23]
  • 09/24/23LoTT targeted Brownsville Elementary; the school received a bomb threat.The school received a bomb threat on September 25 and was evacuated. [Twitter/X, 9/24/23; Vice, 10/4/23]
  • 09/27/23LoTT targeted a professor at Fresno State University; the professor and school received bomb threats.The tweet garnered nearly 25,000 interactions. The following day, the Fresno State Police Department was made aware of a bomb threat against both the university and the professor’s home. [Twitter/X, 9/27/23; USA Today, 9/30/23]
  • 09/28/23LoTT targeted Tigard-Tualatin School District; the district received bomb and shooting threats.The tweet garnered over 11,000 interactions. The district received bomb and shooting threats in the following days. [Twitter/X, 9/28/23; Vice, 10/4/23]

Libs of TikTok’s posts were followed by violent protests or threats against at least 7 Pride events, drag shows, drag queen story hours, or drag performers

  • LoTT targeted a drag queen story hour event in San Lorenzo, California; the event was stormed.The event was stormed by men believed to be members of the Proud Boys, who issued threats to patrons. [MMFA, 6/13/22]
  • 05/31/22LoTT targeted a drag queen story hour event at a library in North Carolina; the event was canceled.Advocate reported that city officials “received complaints and even threats of violence.” [Twitter/X, 5/31/22; Advocate, 6/7/22]
  • 06/07/22LoTT targeted a drag queen for performing at a California charter school; the performer received death threats.The performer also said that they received “messages calling them a ‘groomer.’” [ABC 15 News, 6/8/22; Insider, 6/14/22]
  • 06/08/22LoTT targeted several drag performances in a mass thread; at least one event was threatened.LoTT posted what the account referred to as a “MEGA DRAG THREAD,” in which it shared at least 35 events featuring drag queens and accused event organizers of “trying to confuse, corrupt, or sexualize kids.” Twitter, now X, removed the first post of the thread, but left other posts targeting specific events or individuals on the platform. The Proud Boys threatened to disrupt at least one of the events highlighted in the thread, a June 30 drag performance in Woodland, California, and it was canceled. [Media Matters, 6/15/22; The Sacramento Bee, 7/1/22]
  • 06/11/22After LoTT targeted a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, police arrested 31 members of an extremist group who were planning to riot at the event.LoTT and other right-wing figures targeted a drag event at Coeur d’Alene Pride in Idaho and later spread doctored footage of the event, even after the video had been debunked. Following LoTT’s post, the event was targeted by members of the Patriot Front, 31 of whom were arrested. LoTT later shared doctored footage of a drag queen from the celebration, who then faced threats of violence. [Media Matters, 9/29/22]
  • 10/10/22An Alabama outlet reported that LoTT had targeted a Huntsville animal shelter’s drag queen story hour and that the shelter had received death threats.LoTT reposted a video of an Alabama teacher reading in drag to a group of students at a local animal shelter and accused the performer of making lewd jokes. The teacher and the shelter reported a series of death threats and bomb threats to local police and the FBI. The teacher was also placed on leave. [KATV, 10/18/22;, 10/12/22]
  • 11/18/22LoTT shared a doctored video of a drag performer at a University of South Dakota event; the school received bomb threats.The video combined footage of an all-ages drag performance with footage from a previous adults-only event in order to make it appear as though a performer in a nude illusion had performed in front of children. The school received an email that targeted the LGBTQ student group that hosted the event, claiming bombs had been placed on the campus and threatening to harm potential survivors of the detonation. [LGBTQ Nation, 12/16/22]

Libs of TikTok’s anti-LGBTQ posts and blog are amplified on right-wing websites and across social media

  • LoTT’s Substack articles, which target schools, events, and teachers, proliferate on social mediaUsing NewsWhip, Media Matters found that Libs of TikTok has published at least 47 articles since January 1, 2023, on its Substack, earning over 95,000 interactions on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The articles include “BREAKING: Mayor of Burbank gets spanking from drag queen at campaign event,” “SCOOP: Missouri middle schools took students to drag show without parental consent,” and “‘Black supremacist’ teacher with history of racist tweets is fired after bragging that she wouldn’t get fired.” On Facebook, posts with the 47 articles earned over 21,000 likes, comments, and shares, and Twitter influencers shared the article over 74,000 times.
  • Right-wing websites have amplified LoTT by mentioning the anti-LGBTQ group, its founder Chaya Raichik, or its website over 700 times so far this yearMedia Matters found that right-wing websites have amplified Libs of TikTok over 700 times, earning over 217,000 interactions on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Some of the right-wing websites that most frequently mentioned Libs of TikTok included Rumble, Twitchy, Conservative Angle, TheBlaze, and Fox News. 
  • Right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group plays a unique role in amplifying LoTT onlineSinclair Broadcast Group’s national program The National Desk and its 70 local stations accounted for 35% of the more than 700 articles that mentioned Libs of TikTok and were published on right-wing websites. For example, two articles that embedded posts from Libs of TikTok — “FACT CHECK: Does an Oklahoma elementary school principal moonlight as a drag queen?” and “University of Arizona nursing students taught to ask 3-year-olds about gender identity, report says” were both published dozens of times by the network of websites. [The National Desk, 9/1/239/8/23]



The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

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Instagram reinstated Gays Against Groomers’ account

The group’s accounts have repeatedly claimed LGBTQ people are “grooming” children rhetoric that Meta has said “violates hate speech policies”



Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

By Camden Carter | WASHINGTON – On October 25, Instagram suspended and then quickly reinstated the account of the anti-LGBTQ group Gays Against Groomers, allegedly apologizing for getting it “wrong.” The group, its state chapters, and its affiliates have repeatedly and falsely claimed that LGBTQ people are “grooming” children and “normalizing pedophilia,” seemingly violating Instagram and parent company Meta’s terms of service. 

Media Matters has already reported on the group’s Instagram account pushing anti-LGBTQ hate and seemingly violating Meta’s policies. But Meta has generally offered minimal response, which suggests that its hate speech policies are narrowly interpreted and applied. And while the company specifically reiterated that calling LGBTQ people “groomers” violates its policies, it seems to have ignored content targeting teachers, medical providers, and parents that support LGBTQ youth with the “groomer” slur. 

Meta’s inadequate policy enforcement regarding Gays Against Groomers is consistent with its history of failing to moderate hate speech and its pattern of allowing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric to proliferate on its platforms, including from large accounts.

Instagram has a history of failing to adequately moderate hate speech, including from the main account of extreme anti-LGBTQ group Gays Against Groomers

  • Instagram’s community guidelines state that the platform wants “to foster a positive, diverse community” and that it will “remove content that contains credible threats or hate speech.” The policy further specifies that “it’s never OK to encourage violence or attack anyone based on their … sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation” and that “overstepping these boundaries may result in deleted content, disabled accounts, or other restrictions.” [Instagram, accessed 10/26/23]
  • Instagram, in particular, has a history of failing to moderate harmful accounts despite Meta’s anti-hate speech and harassment policies. [Media Matters, 5/18/222/18/227/6/222/21/23]
  • Gays Against Groomers is composed of experienced right-wing grifters, despite claiming to be a “grassroots” organization. The group’s founder Jaimee Michell and former chair and co-founder David Leatherwood both have employment histories with right-wing firms and connections to right-wing figures, as do several of GAG’s staff and members. [Instagram, 6/6/23; Media Matters, 7/6/232/7/23]
  • In September, Media Matters reported on a plethora of posts from Gays Against Groomers’ main account that seemingly violate Instagram’s policies — including by referring to LGBTQ people as “groomers” and targeting trans people with claims of mental and moral deficiencies. In one post, the organization claimed, “Gender ideology is a trojan horse for pedophilia.” In another post, Gays Against Groomers described a clip from Sesame Street discussing pride as “grooming, point blank.” As of the time of publication, the account has over 360,000 followers. [Media Matters, 9/26/23; Instagram, 3/23/236/5/23, accessed 10/18/23
  • A Meta spokesperson told The Advocate that examples from Media Matters’ September report, which were cited by The Advocate, were “non-violating,” but that “if someone were to use the term ‘groomer’ as an attack against someone based on being part of the LGBTQ+ community, it violates our hate speech policies.” Posts cited by The Advocate included a shared video of children dancing and waving Pride flags, which the poster called an “indoctrination ceremony” with the caption “Indoctrinated kids are groomed kids,” a video of Megyn Kelly attacking Target’s pride collection and saying if “you’re marketing this stuff to little kids, you are a groomer,” and a post with a caption claiming, “There’s no such thing as ‘trans kids.’ There are only groomed kids.” [The Advocate, 9/26/23; Instagram, 6/6/235/18/234/6/23
  • In September, Gays Against Groomers’ Facebook account was reportedly suspended as a “result of a platform error.” According to the Daily Dot, the Facebook account was suspended around September 19, but was reinstated by September 22 despite the account’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Meta even claimed “the suspension was the result of a platform error.” [Daily Dot, 9/25/23
  • On October 25, the Gays Against Groomers Instagram account was briefly suspended by the platform. According to reporting from The Advocate, a person close to the conversations around the group’s suspension “speculated that while Meta’s trust and safety team likely found the group to violate the platform’s guidelines, an intervention might have come from the company’s political team to avert the scrutiny of Republicans in Congress, who have been critical of social media companies for purportedly suppressing conservative voices.” After the account was reinstated, Gays Against Groomers posted on X (formerly Twitter) a message it allegedly received from Instagram that said the platform was “sorry we got this wrong and that you weren’t able to use Instagram for a while.” [The Advocate, 10/25/23
  • Since the Gays Against Groomers Instagram account was reinstated, the group has used the platform to promote its two backup accounts, link to merch, and attack Instagram for “[siding] with predators.” [Instagram, accessed 10/26/23, accessed 10/26/23, accessed 10/26/23]

On Instagram, prominent figures associated with Gays Against Groomers have called multiple LGBTQ figures “groomer” and claimed that “there is a lot of pedophilia in the gay community”

  • BTQ figures “groomer” and claimed that “there is a lot of pedophilia in the gay community”
    • Jaimee Michell, the founder and president of Gays Against Groomers, posted a clip from the show Generation Drag with a caption asking, “Is this just entertainment for groomers by groomers??” The post, which seemingly calls the show’s LGBTQ cast “groomers,” appeared on Michell’s personal Instagram account, where she has over 229,000 followers. [Instagram, 5/2/22, accessed 10/16/23; Deadline, 4/26/22
    • In the caption of another post, Michell claims, “The history and origins of ‘queer theory’ are deeply nefarious and its goal has always been to normalize pedophilia.” The post includes a video that claims to tell “the truth about ‘Queer Theory’ and how schools support pedophilia” with the hashtag #ExposeGroomers.” [Instagram, 12/11/22
    • The New York chapter leader of Gays Against Groomers, whose handle is Magay_45 and who is listed only as “Rachel” on Gays Against Groomers’ own site, posted a video about schools supporting children who are questioning their gender, claiming that it is because “they want to normalize pedophilia” and that “there is a lot of pedophilia in this gay community.” In the caption, Rachel claimed, “The gay community indeed have many perverts in it.” [Instagram, 9/21/23]
    • Rachel also attacked a trans author in a video post, saying, “I should call you a groomer.” In the caption she refers to them as having a “me^tal d!sorder.” [Instagram, 7/18/23
    • Gays Against Groomers co-founder and former board member David Leatherwood shared a video on Instagram featuring an LGBTQ influencer discussing gender and biological sex with a caption that began, “Ok groomer.” Leatherwood has since left the organization, but continues to post anti-LGBTQ content on his account, which currently has more than 34,000 followers. [Instagram, 11/30/22; Media Matters, 7/6/23; Instagram accessed 10/23/23]
    • Florida chapter leader Jana Warnecke shared and responded to a video of someone suggesting ways for parents to support their children’s exploration of gender identity, accusing them of “grooming children to believing that [they] aren’t born in the right body.” In her video, she also claimed that “this is, like, very grooming” and “they can push this as far as they like.” Warnecke has over 41,000 followers on Instagram. [Instagram, 8/10/23, accessed 10/26/23]

Instagram accounts for Gays Against Groomers’ state chapters baselessly refer to LGBTQ people as “groomers” and claim that “molestation” is “slipping thru the cracks now during our gender revolution”

  • Gays Against Groomers Georgia accused a drag queen of “grooming” for reading to children. The video post called for the cancellation of a drag story hour happening in the state. [Instagram, 10/4/23
  • Gays Against Groomers Colorado shared a photo of a transgender state representative over which the words “Now thats what I call a groomer” were superimposed. The caption claimed that she is “pushing for sterilizing medications & butchering of children.” [Instagram, 8/6/23
  • Gays Against Groomers Tennessee posted a video of nonbinary singer Sam Smith dancing to the Teletubbies theme song with a caption claiming, “It’s GROOMING.” [Instagram, 9/11/23
  • Gays Against Groomers Washington posted a cartoon originally captioned “You call that being molested?” with a post caption reading “This is the same kind of thing that is slipping thru the cracks now during our gender revolution.” [Instagram, 8/7/23]

Accounts affiliated with Gays Against Groomers have repeatedly attacked teachers, doctors, and parents who support LGBTQ youth as “groomers”

  • ts who support LGBTQ youth as “groomers”
    • Gays Against Groomers D.C. claimed in a post that teachers who teach children about gender identity are “groomers.” [Instagram, 9/29/23
    • Gays Against Groomers Illinois declared on Instagram that “Minnesota is continuously lowering the age to start medical intervention for CHILDREN who have been groomed to think they are trans is disgusting and it must be banned before any more children lay victim to this wretched ideology.” The image in the post showed a screenshot of a headline about a hospital in Michigan discussing “gender identity” with young patients. [Instagram, 8/15/23
    • Gays Against Groomers Illinois posted a video in collaboration with the group’s main account in which the speaker said every institution that supports age-appropriate gender-affirming care has been “captured by groomers” and that the people involved in them should “never see sunlight again.” [Instagram, 4/4/23
    • Gays Against Groomers Wisconsin shared a TikTok featuring a child with parents who are supportive of them being trans, with the caption, “This is child abuse. Grooming a child to believe they are the opposite sex is bad parenting.” The second half of the video features a man asking, “Who is to say that you — what’s not gonna happen is — you’re pushing this on him?” At one point, text reading, “This is a mass contagion” appears at the top of the video. [Instagram, 8/14/23
    • Becky Weiss, who is an “ambassador” for Gays Against Groomers, claimed in a video post that children “cannot be LGBTQ unless they are being groomed to be so.” In the caption of the post she encourages her audience to “give Boston Children’s a call to let them know how you feel about the mutilation of healthy children” and provides a phone number. [Twitter/X, 9/22/23; Instagram, 9/1/23
    • Michell shared a post featuring a quote from TheBlaze’s Allie Beth Stuckey in which she claimed that only “perverts and predators” would talk to children about being trans. Michell’s caption exclaims, “Say it louder for the groomers in the back‼️” [Instagram, 4/20/22
    • In the caption of a post, Weiss claimed, “A child is not capable of having a sexual orientation unless they have been groomed into having one.” She also wrote, “To teach a child that they can be gay, lesbian, pan, bi, yada yada yada… is to imply that children are sexual beings.” [Instagram, 10/5/23]


The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

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News Analysis

9th Circuit Court Of Appeals blocks Idaho trans kids bathroom ban

The 9th Circuit Court stands alongside the 4th and 7th Circuit Courts in determining that trans students are likely protected by Title IX



James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Courthouse San Francisco (Photo Credit: US Courts/GSA)

By Erin Reed | BOISE, Idaho – On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the bathroom ban for transgender students in Idaho could not proceed, at least for the time being.

This decision follows an unexpected reversal by Judge David Nye, a Trump-appointed judge, who initially halted the ban but later allowed the state to prevent transgender youth from using bathrooms aligning with their gender identity in schools.

Now, the Ninth Circuit Court stands alongside the Fourth and Seventh Circuit Courts in determining that trans students are likely protected by Title IX regarding bathroom rights. Conversely, the Eleventh Circuit Court has opined they don’t enjoy such protections.

This growing split in rulings between circuits makes it much more likely that the Supreme Court takes up bathroom rights in the near future. Meanwhile, transgender students in Idaho will not be banned from bathrooms by state law.

On April 23, Idaho ratified SB1100, scheduled for implementation in the 2023-2024 academic year. The legislation ambiguously defines sex as “the immutable biological characteristics at birth” seemingly overlooking intersex individuals and the transformative effects of gender-affirming care on many attributes tied to the bill’s concept of sex.

It mandates that school restrooms and changing areas be designated for individuals of the same sex as defined in the bill. Furthermore, the law establishes a civil recourse for students to take legal action against schools that permit transgender students to utilize bathrooms aligning with their gender identity.

In its “legislative findings” rationale section, the legislation suggests that the presence of transgender students might inflict “psychological injury” on cisgender peers, casting trans students in a predatory light as potential threats in restroom environments.

See the “legislative findings” section, particularly (4):

The bill came before Judge David Nye, a Trump-appointed judge, who initially chose to block its enactment as the school year neared, awaiting a more thorough review. Yet, on October 12th, Nye reversed his stance, asserting that discrimination against transgender individuals was permissible and didn’t infringe upon Title IX, which, in his interpretation, only protects against discrimination based on sex. He handwaved the Supreme Court precedent in Bostock vs. Clayton County, contending that Title IX permits “sex-segregated facilities,” and emphasized that sex and gender are distinct.

However, a close examination of Bostock reveals that the Supreme Court determined sex and gender discrimination to be mutual—it’s impossible to discriminate based on gender without simultaneously doing so based on sex. This interpretation is why other circuit courts have upheld the rights of transgender individuals to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identities.

The Ninth Circuit did not wait long to issue their ruling. Following an appeal by Lambda Legal, the Ninth Circuit ruled in an abbreviated 2-page ruling that the law must be blocked while lawyers prepare their challenge. In an interview with the Windy City Times, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kell Olson said, “For years, transgender students have been able to use restrooms consistent with their gender at schools across Idaho for years without incident. This order will allow that inclusive practice to continue while we pursue our challenge.”

This places the Ninth Circuit as the latest federal appeals court to block a bathroom ban. The Fourth Circuit’s famous case, Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, ultimately decided that transgender students have the right to use the bathroom of their gender identity. This decision is currently being ignored by Virginia governor Glen Youngkin and his anti-trans model policies that tell schools to ban trans students from bathrooms in the state.

Likewise, there is precedent in the Seventh Circuit Court in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District that ruled a transgender boy could continue to use the boys bathroom school. More recently, however, a slate of mostly Republican-appointed judges in the Eleventh Circuit ruled that transgender students do not enjoy bathroom protections under Title IX.

The Supreme Court seems poised to address bathroom bans, though the timing remains uncertain. Meanwhile, trans students in Idaho are shielded from this recent state law until a comprehensive appeal is deliberated.

Given the frequent near-implementations of the law and the vacillations at the district court level, students await a decisive verdict affirming that their rights are indeed worth protecting. For the moment, however, they can use the bathroom with a semblance of legal peace.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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100,000 trans youth live in states that banned critical civil rights

Approximately 300,000 youth ages 13 to 17 in the U.S. identify as trans- New report estimates the impact of five types of legislation



Texas trans youth protesting anti-trans laws aimed at youth. (Photo courtesy of Landon Richie)

LOS ANGELES – According to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, about 105,200 transgender youth aged 13 to 17 live in 22 states where gender-affirming medical care is banned.

Nineteen of these bans—all except three—were enacted in 2023. An estimated 92,700 transgender youth reside in these states. About 26,000 transgender youth in five states with bans are currently able to access care due to court orders that prohibit enforcement of the laws.

Most gender-affirming care bans block access to a range of treatments, including puberty blockers, hormones, and surgical care, which are considered best-practice medical care for transgender youth by major medical associations in the U.S.

Approximately 300,000 youth ages 13 to 17 in the U.S. identify as transgender. Researchers estimate the number of transgender teenagers affected by five types of laws and policies from the 2023 legislative session—gender-affirming care bans, bans on sports participation, bathroom bans, gender-affirming care “shield” laws, and conversion therapy bans.

Results show that an estimated 96,800 transgender teenagers live in states that restricted their access to health care, sports, or school bathrooms in 2023. However, tens of thousands of transgender youth aged 13 to 17 in other states gained protections this year through laws that ensure access to gender-affirming care and prohibit conversion therapy.

“A record number of laws impacting transgender youth were introduced in state legislatures in 2023,” said lead author Christy Mallory, Legal Director at the Williams Institute. “While most of them did not pass, the ones that did significantly shifted the legal landscape for transgender youth.”


Restrictive Legislation
Bans on sports participation

  • 101,500 transgender youth—about one-third of transgender youth in the U.S.— live in 23 states that restrict access to school sports for transgender students.
    • Five of these laws were passed in 2023. An estimated 14,200 transgender youth live in these states.
    • 11,100 transgender youth live in four states with sports participation bans that cannot be enforced due to court orders.

School bathroom bans

  • 32,700 transgender youth live in states that ban transgender students from using school bathrooms and other facilities that align with their gender identity.
    • 23,600 transgender youth live in states that passed bathroom bans in 2023.

Protective Legislation
Gender-affirming care “shield” laws

  • 146,700 transgender youth—about half of transgender youth in the U.S.—live in states with gender-affirming care “shield” laws that support access to care by protecting doctors and parents who prescribe or seek access to medical care for youth.
    • 88,000 transgender youth live in states that passed these laws in 2023.

Conversion therapy bans

  • 198,000 transgender youth—about two-thirds of transgender youth in the U.S.—live in states that ban conversion therapy, a practice intended to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, for minors.
    • 21,800 transgender youth live in states that passed bans in 2023.

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News Analysis

No, trans hormone therapy does not increase heart disease by 95%

A study found estrogen has no link-.Incorrect headlines &social media posts claim that a “new study” shows a 95% increase in heart disease



EIM/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – On Saturday, a flurry of inaccurate headlines and social media posts proliferated across the internet, alleging that “trans women taking hormones” have a 95% increased risk of heart disease (CVD).

The implication was clear: gender-affirming care could be dangerous, even life-threatening, for those depending on it. This study, however, is not new. First published in 2022, it is misleadingly being portrayed as recent by certain anti-trans disinformation accounts and right-wing media platforms. Contrary to the claims in these headlines, the study does not substantiate any of these negative assertions. Rather, it explicitly determines that estrogen therapy for transgender women does not correlate with a rise in cardiovascular disorders.

The study also notes that the slight association with testosterone can potentially be attributed to factors the study didn’t account for, such as cigarette smoking, high BMIs, and particular lifestyle factors.

The study examined patients recorded in Danish health registries, comparing transgender men and women to cisgender counterparts, while nonbinary individuals were not included. Data collected encompassed hormone therapy usage, income, and various health outcomes like diabetes and heart disease.

The research did identify an elevated risk of heart disease among transgender individuals. However, this risk was not connected to HRT for transgender women and was only marginally linked to HRT for transgender men. The study also intentionally adopted a broad definition of heart disease, encompassing hypertension and elevated blood lipids, which make up the vast majority of CVD diagnoses.

Interestingly, the study found a non-significant decrease in risk among transgender women taking hormone therapy when compared to cisgender women.

Statement showing that feminizing HRT is not linked to any CVD.

Though transgender women saw no increased risk of cardiovascular disease from their usage of hormone therapy, transgender men on testosterone did see a small increase; however, the study points out that only 30% of the raise in cardiovascular risk might be attributed to the usage of testosterone itself. Even still, it would be inaccurate to conclude (as the study itself cautious many times) that gender affirming care increases heart disease for trans men, due to another major limitation of the study: it did not control for lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking in excess, body mass index, stress, and more.

Non-use of BMI, minority stress, diet, smoking, and exercise in the study.

Lifestyle factors are enormously important when studying the transgender population. In fact, given that trans women saw a 93% increase in heart disease and none of that increase could be explained by estrogen usage, it is likely that lifestyle factors lead to significantly increased heart disease outcomes and are entirely explanatory for the rise. These factors can include fear of doctors visits, lower rates of exercise, minority stress, elevated levels of depression and anxiety, and higher BMIs. They also may include the biggest heart disease risk of all: smoking.

Numerous studies indicate that transgender individuals, much like their LGBTQ+ counterparts, have a higher propensity to smoke compared to the broader population. One particular study highlighted that both transgender men and women smoke more frequently than cisgender individuals, with transgender men smoking at double the rate of transgender women.

Considering potential unique correlations between smoking and testosterone therapy in transgender men, combined with their elevated smoking rates, the slight risk increase attributed to testosterone in the study may not be directly due to the hormone, a point which the study itself concedes. This viewpoint is further supported by another comprehensive study released this year, which determined that testosterone therapy in trans men showed no uptick in CVD risk, casting even more doubt on the headlines.

Despite the unequivocal conclusion that gender-affirming care is not statistically linked to a higher risk of CVD for transgender women and might not be the cause for the elevated risk in transgender men, certain right-wing media outlets and anti-trans groups disseminated misleading headlines that garnered millions of views.

The Telegraph ran an article with the headline “Transgender Women Taking Hormones Up To 95% More Likely To Suffer Heart Disease.” The New York Post echoed a similar sentiment. Organizations peddling pseudoscience, like Genspect – which advocates for “alternative treatments” for gender dysphoria – falsely claimed that “using cross sex hormones significantly increased risks of deadly conditions like heart attacks and strokes,” an assertion the study didn’t back.

A post containing this disinformation from the right-wing Twitter account amassed 1.2 million views.

Disinformation surrounding transgender care is rampant and frequently infiltrates legislative hearings. Many of these hearings propagate unfounded assertions like “80% of transgender people desist” or that transgender individuals face “19x higher suicide rates after transition,” even though experts have consistently refuted these claims. It’s inevitable that this headline will resurface in upcoming legislative discussions. Ensuring robust journalism that actively counters such disinformation is crucial to preventing its further spread.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Right-wing media smear California Senator Laphonza Butler

Right-wing media was quick with attacks and smears, especially focusing on her identity, the fact that she is a Black, LGBTQ woman



Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By Zachary Pleat & Jasmine Geonzon | WASHINGTON – Soon after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would appoint Democratic activist Laphonza Butler to replace the late, longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein, conservative media immediately moved to discredit Butler and attack her qualifications.

Right-wing media outlets and anti-abortion groups have falsely claimed she’s ineligible to serve in the U.S. Senate, suggested that she is an abortion extremist due to her previous role as president of EMILY’s List, and used Butler’s identity as a Black lesbian woman to undermine her appointment.

Butler has a long history of public service and political work in California, and she is qualified to serve as U.S. senator

  • On October 1, Newsom announced he would appoint Butler to the Senate to complete the remainder of Feinstein’s term following her death. The term ends in January 2025, and Butler is able to run for the seat again in 2024 if she so chooses. [The New York Times, 10/1/23]
  • Butler was officially sworn in to the U.S. Senate by Vice President Kamala Harris on October 3. Butler is now the third Black woman to serve in the history of the Senate. [The Associated Press, 10/3/23]
  • Butler recently served as the president of EMILY’s List, a political action committee that supports Democratic women in favor of abortion rights, but she previously worked in California politics for years. Though Butler moved to Maryland to lead EMILY’s List, she has long ties to California as a homeowner in the state and is soon expected to re-register to vote in the state before her swearing-in. [CNN, 10/2/23; The Associated Press, 10/2/23]
  • In the past, Butler has worked in California labor organizing and political consulting. Butler previously served as the president of SEIU Local 2015, the largest union in California, and she was an adviser to Harris’ 2020 presidential run. [Los Angeles Times, 10/1/23]
  • According to legal experts, Butler qualifies to represent California in the Senate as long as she resumes her residency there before assuming office. UCLA law professor Rick Hasen elaborated further on Butler’s eligibility based on previous legal precedent, writing, “9th Circuit case law says one must only be a resident upon assuming office, whether appointed or elected.” [Business Insider, 10/2/23; Twitter/X, 10/2/23]

Many right-wing media attacked Butler for being a Maryland resident when she was nominated, often without mentioning her extensive history in California

  • RedState: Newsom was “birthing an immediate scandal” by appointing “a Maryland resident to the seat.” RedState compared the situation to “the constant jabs that Mehmet Oz got from the press for previously living in New Jersey” during his failed 2020 run for Senate in Pennsylvania. [RedState, 10/2/23]
  • The Gateway Pundit: “Newsom to Appoint Abortion Activist Laphonza Butler to Fill Feinstein’s Senate Seat – Who Lives In Maryland and Registered to Vote There Last Year.” The article added, “Laphonza Butler lives in Maryland and registered to vote there LAST YEAR!” [The Gateway Pundit, 10/1/23]
  • Newsmax host Eric Bolling listed some of Butler’s history of public service in California, then asked: “Why not a Californian … to represent their own state?” Bolling noted that after Butler began working as a union organizer, “she moved to California, where she was instrumental in raising minimum wages and hiking taxes on wealthy Californians. She also served as a University of California regent for three years until she moved to Maryland.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance10/2/23]
  • The Gateway Pundit posted a second article attacking Butler for living in Maryland while ignoring her history in California. [The Gateway Pundit, 10/2/23]
  • The Daily Wire: “Journalists online noted that Butler listed her state of residence on her X account as Maryland.” The article added, “EMILY’s List was already cleaning up their website to hide where Butler allegedly lives. The organization removed the following line from their website: ‘She lives in Maryland with her partner Neneki Lee and their daughter Nylah.’” [The Daily Wire, 10/1/23]
  • The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro: “Congrats to the state of Maryland on finally obtaining three Senators.” [Twitter/X, 10/2/23]
  • HotAir: “Meet California’s new senator: Laphonza Butler of … Maryland?” HotAir portrayed Butler as an out-of-state carpetbagger without a single mention of her extensive history in California, concluding: “We will apparently have our interests handled by, checks notes again for accuracy, Maryland’s Laphonza Butler. I’m sure she’ll represent California just fine, though…from 2,645 miles away.” [HotAir, 10/2/23]
  • In a Townhall article titled “Here’s What’s Odd About Newsom’s Pick to Fill Feinstein’s Vacancy,” the only “odd” thing mentioned was that “some are pointing out that Ms. Butler might be a Maryland resident.” [Townhall, 10/2/23]
  • National Review emphasized that Butler “is a Maryland resident” without mentioning her history in California. National Review focused on the upcoming primary election for that Senate seat while continuing to portray Butler as having no association with California: “By naming an out-of-state resident, Newsom may have helped himself avoid the wrath of the Democrats who have already launched campaigns in the 2024 Senate primary. If they can’t defeat a Maryland resident in a California primary, they’ll really only have themselves to blame.” [National Review, 10/2/23]
  • LifeNews: “Congratulations to Maryland on getting a third Senator, Laphonza Butler.” [Twitter/X, 10/2/23]

Right-wing media and anti-abortion organizations portrayed Butler as an extremist for leading EMILY’s List

Many of these right-wing media comments falsely portrayed Democrats as supporting “on demand” abortion “up until the moment of birth.” But multiple fact checks by news organizations have explained that Democrats generally support abortion until fetal viability, with exceptions for the health of the person carrying the fetus and other extremely rare exceptions.

  • Fox host Lisa Kennedy Montgomery: Butler is a “carpetbagging baby killer.” [Fox News, Outnumbered10/2/23]
  • TheBlaze: “Butler has made clear she seeks a uniformly Democratic state that guarantees women the legal ability to exterminate their offspring.” TheBlaze described EMILY’s List as “a leftist outfit that raises money to support prospective female lawmakers who will support the abortion agenda once in office.” The article also criticized Butler for speaking out against anti-abortion legislation nationwide. [TheBlaze, 10/2/23]
  • Hugh Hewitt: “She is the president of EMILY’s List so she’s an abortion rights absolutist, left-wing, way out there, on demand, right up to the point of birth and maybe beyond.” Hewitt also said, “She’s a Black lesbian woman, which checks a couple of boxes for Gavin Newsom with the party’s activist base,” and twice mentioned that she currently lives in Maryland. [Salem, The Hugh Hewitt Show10/2/23]
  • Ben Shapiro complained that Butler is “a lesbian Black woman who leads an organization devoted to abortion.” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show10/2/23]
  • Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America: Newsom appointed “the biggest pro-abortion extremist he could find.” The anti-abortion organization concluded its press release objecting to Butler’s appointment by writing: “The last thing Washington needs is another rubber stamp for the brutal abortion industry.” [Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, 10/2/23]
  • LifeSiteNews criticized Butler as an “abortion activist” and claimed that EMILY’s List “is actually a pro-abortion group that opposes any limits on the killing of preborn children up until the moment of birth.” [LifeSiteNews, 10/2/23]
  • LifeNews: “Democrats are the party of abortions up to birth. Joe Biden, Gavin Newsom, Laphonza Butler.” [Twitter/X, 10/2/23]
  • Fox News contributor Guy Benson: “‘Butler currently lives in Maryland’ — but she’s fanatically devoted to activism on behalf of unlimited abortion, so that’s what matters most.” [Twitter/X, 10/2/23]
  • National Right to Life attacked Newsom for appointing a “pro-abortion activist” to the Senate. The anti-abortion organization called the action “just another example in a long line of actions that Newsom has taken to push unlimited abortions.” [National Right to Life Committee, 10/2/23]
  • Fox guest Chris Bedford: “Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been dead for 24 hours and they appoint a Black lesbian who has devoted her life to killing babies in the womb.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle10/2/23]

Right-wing media also used Butler’s race and sexuality to attack her appointment to the Senate

  • RedState: Butler’s “only qualifications appear to be working on Kamala Harris’ failed 2020 presidential campaign while being a ‘black lesbian.’” The author continued, “I’m just really glad we select the most powerful people in the country based on race and who they sleep with.” [RedState, 10/2/23]
  • TheBlaze: “Extra to being an exponent of the abortion regime, Butler, a lesbian, is also an outspoken LGBT activist.” [TheBlaze, 10/2/23]
  • Steven Crowder: “Laphonza Butler in Swahili means nothing. … Laphonza means nothing. It’s something that African Americans, Black Americans make up.” [YouTube, Louder with Crowder10/2/23]
  • Newsmax host Rob Schmitt: “Laphonza Butler is a Black lesbian and is also a rabid, full-term abortion advocate. Now, whether or not she’s qualified for this, that doesn’t really matter.” Schmitt also said that Newsom’s “pandering” about appointing a Black woman to a vacant Senate seat “is just incredibly disappointing and incredibly insulting,” adding that the governor “certainly checked the box, not to mention a few others, when he appointed Laphonza Butler.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight10/2/23]
  • Fox contributor Tammy Bruce: Butler’s appointment is “an insult to Black women who have served.” Bruce said: “This is a message to the far left, to Kamala perhaps. … It’s the height of identity politics, right? It’s like these boxes get checked. It’s an insult to Black women who have served, who continue to make a difference in this country, who’ve paid their dues. It is about the ultimate in politics, but this is all politics for us.” [Fox News, Outnumbered10/2/23]

Charlie Kirk calls Senate appointee Laphonza Butler “the high priestess of the oppression Olympics”10/02/23 4:37 PM EDT

Ben Shapiro complains that Laphonza Butler is “a lesbian Black woman who leads an organization devoted to abortion”10/02/23 12:39 PM EDT

Conservatives respond with racist smears and vitriol following Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s affirmative action dissent


The preceding article & research study was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

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Attacks on LGBTQ+ rights associated with democratic backsliding

The first study to analyze the relationship between LGBT of LGBTI people and their rights across 175 countries



UC Berkeley students protest in the Spring of 2020. (Photo by Geoff Livingston)

LOS ANGELES – A new report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that countries that are highly accepting of LGBTI people tend to have high levels of liberal democracy, such as free and fair elections and the protection of civil liberties. More accepting countries also tend to have higher GDP per capita and a greater share of their population in urban environments.
Using data from the LGBTI Global Acceptance Index and the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute, researchers examined the relationship between democratic backsliding and acceptance of LGBTI people. The report highlights four countries—Indonesia, Brazil, Poland, and Ghana—to describe the complex dynamics between anti-LGBTI rhetoric and policies and the rise of authoritarianism.
Results show that attacks on LGBTI people and their rights are strongly associated with democratic backslide. A decline in LGBTI acceptance may, under some conditions, be a bellwether of democratic decline.
“Anti-LGBTI rhetoric and policies can signal a more fundamental erosion in democratic norms and institutions,” said study author Ari Shaw, Senior Fellow and Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute. “Efforts to marginalize LGBTI people are, on their face, evidence that democracy and respect for minority rights are under threat.”
Restrictions on freedoms of association and expression, in particular, may negatively affect LGBTI acceptance given that they are fundamental to the ability of activists to organize and advocate for greater inclusion and to oppose further rollback of rights.
“The links between democracy indicators and LGBTI acceptance are clear but complex,” said study author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute. “Future research should examine how state-sanctioned attacks on LGBTI people influence democratic backsliding and how democratic backsliding diminishes acceptance of LGBTI people and their rights.”

Editor’s note:

Democratic backsliding is “a process of regime change towards autocracy that makes the exercise of political power more arbitrary and repressive and that restricts the space for public contestation and political participation in the process of government selection”.

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