From “grooming” to “child abduction”: Right’s accusations against LGBTQ advocates get even worse

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10/06/2022

Last spring, as the right began using the word “grooming” as a slur against LGBTQ people and their allies, journalist Melissa Gira Grant noted at the New Republic that the word provided a way to “say both the quiet and the loud part.” Contorting a term long used to describe real instances of child sex abuse into a weapon to be deployed against LGBTQ people and commonplace policies — for example, that their existence can and should be acknowledged in schools — was the “loud” part. It was a shocking but pithy means of demonization; as Gira Grant wrote, the “right is using the reality of child abuse to raise unfounded fears and panic about criminal and predatory behavior hiding in plain sight.” The quiet part was the secondary implication: If one’s “enemies” really are “an ill-defined yet pervasive threat to children, what wouldn’t be justified in stopping them?”

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