Tuesday, October 18, 2022

From banning drag shows to copying Russia's anti-LGBTQ law: Conservatives have 'plans' for LGBTQ Americans

Two situations happened on Tuesday and they both point to the havoc conservatives want to wreak against LGBTQ Americans on both a state and federal level regardless of the results of mid-term elections.

In Idaho, legislators are talking about banning public drag shows. According to the Idaho Capital Sun:

A bill that would ban drag performances in all public venues will be introduced in the first days of the next session of the Idaho Legislature in January, Idaho Family Policy Center President Blaine Conzatti told the Idaho Capital Sun. Conzatti and other conservative activists around Idaho and across the country have protested against events in public spaces that feature drag queens, including drag queen story hour events at public libraries. In September, Idaho Republican Party Chairwoman Dorothy Moon called for people to pressure corporate sponsors of Boise Pride to pull their names from sponsorship at the event over a scheduled “Drag Kids” performance for ages 11 to 18, which was ultimately postponed over safety concerns. 

Conzatti said the draft bill is ready to be introduced as soon as the session gets underway but declined to share the text of the bill with the Sun and wouldn’t name the legislators who worked on it with him. “No child should ever be exposed to sexual exhibitions like drag shows in public places, whether that’s at a public library or a public park,” he said. 

As proof that drag shows are too adult for kids, Conzatti pointed out an incident in Coeur d’Alene in June. when during a Pride event, a drag performer exposed himself to attendees. However, the article was quick to point out the truth of the incident: 

 After complaints, the local prosecutor’s office determined the video was edited to look like the performer had exposed himself when he had not. The performer has since filed a defamation lawsuit against North Idaho blogger Summer Bushnell over the incident, according to reporting from the Coeur d’Alene Press.

So based upon false idea that drag shows in general are adult-oriented and a lie about a drag queen exposing himself,  some Idaho legislators are trying to ban public drag shows.  

I know that you're chuckling to yourself while thinking "good luck with that." But let's not be so quick to be amused by the effort that we fail to note its vile intent. It's something to keep in mind with regards to the next situation. 

What Idaho legislators want to do is nothing compared to what some Republican members of Congress have in mind. From Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson:

Is sounds like a good idea, but based upon Johnson's further comments in the thread, the bill does nothing really to protect children from sexual abuse. What it actually does is codify the false idea that anything involving LGBTQ is sexually explicit and should be banned from kids. 

Some folks have rightfully called it a national 'Don't Say Gay' bill. Others are more accurate when they call it an Americanized version of Russia's anti-gay bill. That bill, signed in 2013 by Russian president Vladmir Putin, takes the same deceptive position as Johnson's bill. It supposedly protects kids from sexually explicit conversations while implying that any mention of LGBTQ people is a sexually explicit conversation.

Critics have pointed out that the law has been an excuse for the the country to viciously crackdown on LGBTQ Russians. Even worse than that, Russia is now talking about expanding the law so that any event or act that would supposedly "promote homosexuality" to anyone whether minor or adult would be illegal.

It doesn't take a palm reader to point out that some people in America want  to mimic Russia's extreme homophobia.. Just like Putin,, Rep. Johnson and other conservatives claim that what they are doing is protecting children for sexually explicit material. But they are also pushing  the idea that any material which mentions LGBTQ people is sexuality explicit. 

As it is now, Johnson's bill can wreck the lives of LGBTQ Americans. Alejandra Caraballo, clinical instructor at the Harvard Law Cyberlaw Clinic, breaks down the damage Johnson's bill  can do in a Twitter thread. According to her, should Johnson's bill become law:

Universities, public schools, hospitals, medical clinics, etc. could all be defunded if they host any event discussing LGBTQ people and children could be present. The way they define "sexually oriented material" simply includes anything about LGBTQ people.

She also said

I can't overstate how radical the private right of action portion is. The bill is so broadly defined that a pediatric hospital could be sued for having a pride flag or a medical pamphlet about gender dysphoria. It deputizes anti-LGBTQ bigots to engage in bounty lawsuits.

Her entire thread is here and deserves a serious read:

It's relatively easy to laugh this stuff off or be nonchalant about it.  After all it is no secret that opposition to LGBTQ rights and equality is a standard conservative "value" in this country.  I have no doubt that we will start seeing versions of both bills on a state and national level whether or not the GOP is able to take control of both or even one legislative house after the midterms. But this times goes beyond "business as usual" in this ugly dance our community have had with conservatives time and time again. There is a certain desire for finality emanating from them which I find extremely unsettling.

Alejandra Caraballo tweets it much better than I can elucidate:

'Michigan bill seeks to define gender-affirming care for minors as first-degree child abuse' & other Tue midday news briefs

Michigan bill seeks to define gender-affirming care for minors as first-degree child abuse - Here we go again.