|Marjorie Taylor Greene's dogwhistle about the monkeypox virus is reminiscent of the stigma created about the LGBTQ community about AIDS.|
Those of us around during the beginning of the AIDS crisis are rightfully having ugly flashbacks when it comes to the monkeypox virus. The combination of basic homophobia, lies told about gays and children, and the inability to properly educate folks about a virus is repeating itself.
That includes the part about those who are gleefully doing the noxious combining.
On July 22, 2022, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was interviewed on Washington Post Live to discuss the current state of COVID and other public health issues. During the broadcast, she noted that two children had contracted monkeypox – both of whom could be “traced back to individuals who come from the men-who-have-sex-with-men community.”On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency. Later that day at 6:22 pm, Marjorie Taylor Greene shared Walensky's segment about monkeypox in children on several of her social media pages with the caption, “If Monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease, why are kids getting it?”By the evening of July 25, 2022 – only about 48 hours after the initial posts – Greene saw significant engagement counts on her social media accounts, including Instagram, Twitter, both of her Telegram accounts and Truth Social. Greene’s post was certainly not the first time the narrative around monkeypox had been twisted to suggest nefarious intent or raising disingenuous questions about the disease’s origin and spread.Such claims are circulating on mainstream platforms and outlets like Twitter (one user tweeted on July 21, 2022: “If kids catch monkeypox, it is indeed a very serious issue, because it implies probably someone sexually abused that child”) as well as platforms that have historically provided cover for extremists, including Telegram and 4chan, where a post from July 22, 2022, drew an explicit connection between monkeypox and “children being molested by homosexuals.” Greene’s post, however, gave the conspiratorial and bigoted theories additional oxygen – and reach.