Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Fuels Anti-LGBTQ Hate Online
By DAVID KLEPPER, Associated Press
Research that analyzed social media posts found that hateful references to gays, lesbians and other LGBTQ people increased online after Florida passed a law banning sexual orientation and sexual orientation instructions. gender identity from kindergarten to third grade.
References to pedophiles and ‘grooming’ rose more than 400% in the month since Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ measure was approved, according to a report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign. one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups, and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a nonprofit group that tracks online extremism.
The measure, passed by the Florida Legislature on March 8 and signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on March 28, states that teachers cannot discuss gender identity or sexual orientation with their young students. . Supporters said the decision to talk about sexual orientation should be left to parents, not teachers.
Critics said the law sends a hateful message about LGBTQ people.
The researchers who compiled the report found that the top 500 tweets mentioning “grooming” were viewed more than 72 million times between January and July.
Influential curators were responsible for much of the increase, the researchers found, through their own posts or by liking or forwarding other people’s posts. They include U.S. Representatives Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and DeSantis publicist Christina Pushaw, who equated criticism of the bill with pedophilia itself. .
“If you’re against the anti-grooming bill, you’re probably a groomer or at least not against grooming,” Pushaw tweeted in March.
Pushaw went on to defend her comments, saying she did not target LGBTQ people in her comments or intended to attack them. She said criticism of the Florida law is misleading and political.
The report’s authors warn that the increase in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is inciting hatred that could lead to violence. They say social media platforms need to do more to enforce their own policies on hate speech. The researchers said they flagged 100 of the most hateful tweets they saw on Twitter. Only one has been deleted.
“Hate and lies online mirror and reinforce violence and hate offline,” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate. “The normalization of anti-LGBTQ+ narratives in digital spaces puts LGBTQ+ people at risk.
Messages left with Twitter, Boebert and Greene were not immediately returned.
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