Who’s Grooming?

The public expression of bigotry and hatred is evidently cyclical. The election of Donald Trump gave racists permission to voice sentiments that had previously been banished from polite company; that permission has since extended to an eruption of anti-Semitism and homophobia.

Until Elon Musk bought Twitter, much of that vitriol was confined online to the “dark web” and a sprinkling of small social media platforms serving communities of bigots. Musk has now invited them back, making it more difficult to avoid encountering the seamy underworld populated by these angry and hateful people.

There have always been fabrications shared among people needing to justify their prejudices–against Jews, there was the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and a variety of blood libels. More recently, attacks against LGBTQ people have been focused on hysteria over so-called “grooming”–accusations that echo old libels about gay pedophilia.

Suddenly, drag queen story hours have been re-imagined as preludes to child sexual abuse.

Salon recently reported on an incident that reflects this effort to paint gay people and their allies as “groomers”–and the willingness of GOP politicians to jump on that bandwagon.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, falsely accused Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., of saying that “pedophilia isn’t a crime” when Porter actually said that LGBTQ people have been wrongly branded on social media as “groomers” and “pedophiles.”

The exchange between Porter and Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, came during a Congressional hearing held to listen to survivors of the Club Q shooting and other activists, who testified that anti-LGBTQ violence was being encouraged by hateful right-wing rhetoric.

HRC had reported on  “the 500 most viewed, most influential tweets that identified LGBTQ people as so-called ‘groomers.'”

“The ‘groomer’ narrative is an age-old lie to position LGBTQ+ people as a threat to kids,” Porter said. “And what it does is deny them access to public spaces, it stokes fear, and can even stoke violence.”

Porter went on to ask why Twitter allows posts calling LGBTQ+ people “groomers,” since it presumably has a “hateful content” policy; Robinson responded that while community guidelines exist, platforms also need to hold users accountable to those guidelines. Twitter  clearly isn’t doing so.

“[T]his allegation of ‘groomer’ and of ‘pedophile,’ it is alleging that a person is criminal somehow, and engaged in criminal acts, merely because of their identity, their sexual orientation, their gender identity,” Porter said. “So this is clearly prohibited under Twitter’s content. Yet you found hundreds of these posts on the platform.”

If anything about HRC’s report could be considered “good news,” it was a finding that a very small group is driving this homophobic effort. The bad news is their attacks are reaching millions of people.

Just ten people drove 66% of impressions for the 500 most viewed hateful “grooming” tweets — including Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw, extremist members of Congress like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and pro-Trump activists like “Libs of TikTok” founder Chaya Raichik.

The report found that posts from the 10 people alone reached more than 48 million views, and the top 500 most influential “grooming” tweets altogether were seen 72 million times.

In tweets by Jackson and Libs of TikTok, the exchange between Porter and Robinson was deliberately and falsely reported as Porter saying that pedophilia “isn’t a crime.”

Jackson further amplified the falsehood and tweeted: “Katie Porter just said that pedophilia isn’t a crime, she said it’s an ‘identity.’ THIS IS THE EMBODIMENT OF EVIL! The sad thing is that this woman isn’t the only VILE person pushing for pedophilia normalization. This is what progressives believe!”

As despicable as this Rightwing effort to blame the nation’s troubles on “those people”–gays, Blacks, Jews, immigrants, progressives–these attempts at misdirection aren’t new.  Would-be authoritarians, lacking any positive agenda (the GOP hasn’t even bothered to produce a party platform lately), fall back to inculcating fear and repeating a tine-tested message: if your life isn’t going the way you want it to, it’s the fault of [fill in your targeted demographic.]

Ignore us. Look at the shiny object.

Unfortunately, there really is “grooming” going on. Those campaigning to paint “the other” as dangerous, nefarious and unAmerican are the ones grooming young people and those who don’t know any better–teaching them that differences are threatening, that they are victims, and that the problems they face are never their fault or the fault of the people who look and pray like they do.

As a witness at that hearing testified, that hateful lesson–“grooming” children to become bigots– evidently requires attacking someone in a wig reading “Red Fish, Blue Fish” to a group of children at a library.

I am so tired of these people!


  1. I too am tired of these people. Many of them have never had any real interaction with the people they spew hate about. I just wish the morons would stop repeating “what they heard”. I just wish they would have an actual interaction AND then form their opinion.

  2. Why are people subscribing to Twitter and supporting Elon Musk and his support and backing of Trump Republican “grooming” of their voters to escalate anti-Semitism an homophobia? Leave Twitter, Musk, Trump’s White Nationalist MAGA supporters to pay those membership fees to communicate among themselves. Musk will remain CEO until he finds someone who agrees with him to replace him as CEO; he has his choice among the MAGA crowd filling his airwaves with their support of the “Big Lie” and continuation of the coup to overthrow the government. Monitor them for seditious Tweets to track their activities and who is active in the militant groups but as yet unnamed. Twitter can be turned around to provide a service to protect democracy, Rule of Law and support the Constitution; “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Also; “The enemy of my enemy is my friend!”

    “I am so tired of these people!” So am I!

  3. This society not only needs better sex education in our schools, but we desperately need to educate adults who have such gross misunderstandings about homosexuality and pedophilia. It doesn’t help that religious zealots fan those flames of misinformation in order to stir their followers to stronger ties to their dogma.

  4. The thing is, if I were anywhere near as interested in knowing about and controlling the genitalia and gender and sexual identity and interests and practices of other people, especially kids, as the right-wing folks are, *that* would be incredibly creepy. I mean, *who* exactly is that obsessed about having sex with kids or about kids having sex someday or whatever?

  5. 44 year career in early childhood education and youth development throughout the homeland and overseas in Africa and The Middle East … from the streets to the safe environs of enclosed facilities designed for safe fun and vigilante eyes. Getting tired is not an option. Grooming awareness requires training in the subtle to perverse profiles of proven child lures that work on the vulnerable. The most difficult to discern is the ‘pied piper’ … too good to be true loved by children and parents alike. Never arranged investigation of a ‘pied piper’ who turned out to be homosexual. They were skilled charismatic pedophiles who knew when to show- up the day before sports season began and a spot shortage of volunteer coaches with no time to do a proper background check. The administration and supervisors must be willing to discuss with care givers all about the profiles of all known child lures. Notice I did not say we focused on profiles of predators.

  6. ignore us,look at the shiny object. that should be the rightwings credo. no platform,just focus on hate. if ronny,(runny nose)jackson wants to focus on the talk, hell, let him speak. seems hes a perfect spokes person for that party. whos focusing on the bricks and morter in your town? maybe some tally and names of who support in live and in technicolor the church and pastor who spew this mainstream gosip. audit them,see where their money is going,and make that list public. if church wants to control the naritive,then its time to open the books,not the rightwing bible..

    story,christian nationalists wanting to put god in the U.S. goverment
    BBC news online,by Barbra Peltt Usher,, no app needed.

  7. Just ten people drove 66% of impressions for the 500 most viewed hateful “grooming” tweets …
    The report found that posts from the 10 people alone reached more than 48 million views, and the top 500 most influential “grooming” tweets altogether were seen 72 million times.

    When will we ever see XXM “views” for voting rights, justice , equality of opportunity, etc. ?? Too boring to be “news”? Or are us “loving” folks too busy? Does it matter? IGIO

  8. Many people on the right actually have interacted with “those people”. They didn’t realize it, because ,except for race, there aren’t really obvious differences. If I don’t tell you I’m a lesbian, you probably wouldn’t know. I don’t keep it a secret, but I don’t broadcast it either. We all have many layers, and sexuality is only one, and probably the least important in most interactions. For the record the only thing I ever groomed was my cat. He hated it, but his coat was always shiny and his nails were trimmed.

  9. Truckers working 24/7 to keep shelves stocked with very little appreciation direct from consumers. This one’s for you ‘jack’. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. THANK YOU!

  10. One consequence of too many people with access to too many resources is that there are too many overcrowded spaces in the world and people can and do travel by any means they can looking for solutions. None of this is new. What increasingly happens as a result though is that we live surrounded less by others of our culture and more by various cultures. Some of us enjoy the fact of diversity and enjoy exposure to different ways of looking at and doing things. Others though have learned to be suspicious of differences. That’s a troublesome consequence of the fact of overpopulation.

    If we did what we have to do, which is to elevate the lifestyle of the very poor in the world as well as to simultaneously stop our actions that add to the migration problems like dumping fossil fuel waste products of combustion into the air, we could slowly migrate to a much more comfortable world for everyone. That though requires less comfort of us right now and that is an impossible demand for us to satisfy.

    We have met the enemy and he is us. Perhaps humans are not a sustainable alpha species.

  11. “Just 10 people drove 66%…” Has anyone pursued the idea of suing those 10 into bankruptcy? Could Sandy Hook parents v Alex Jones be a precedent? Doesn’t seem like it would be too hard to show a link between their lies and the violence against the LGBTQ+ community.

  12. So why are we giving so much oxygen to these social media platforms? There is no real need to be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram , etc.
    I get my “news” from blogs like this one and Heather Cox Richardson’s and from MSNBC. And if you are of opinion that I don’t give an “ear” to other opinions, you’re right. I too am so tired of these people who do NOTHING but spew hate.
    If there is a “conservative” news venue that doesn’t have mean things to say about groups of people, but rather talks about policy, I’d give that a try. But lately “conservative” has come to mean “bigoted” and hateful. I just finished reading David Corn’s book “American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy.” It explains a lot.
    I am waiting for the GOP to come out of their trance and start talking policy again. Until it does, I am taking care of myself and not getting high blood pressure by perusing “social media’ platforms.
    Sheila, I’m glad that you are keeping up with how bad the hate mongers are out there, but you’re preaching to the choir here.
    A Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all. 🙂

  13. I think Kathy M is a sister from another Mother in this life.
    Well said.
    Happy holidays to one and all. Cheers.

  14. Kathy, I think the gop is never coming out of its trance. They are at the end of an evolutionary path. It may be that a small population of them can split away, and evolve into a new party, but I am doubtful. Here in Canada, that might be possible, as we have multiple parties already. But the U.S. two-party system has created a deadlock that won’t be easily changed. (Personally, i think this issue is almost as bad a fundamental problem as the filibuster and gerrymandering.) No one can afford to split off a party because it would split the electorate that generally believes in their ideas. I guess this amounts to: the gop is never going to be a real political party again.

    The recently-created Forward party seems to be trying to avoid this issue by appealing to people on both sides of the aisle. But, this means they are so divergent on the various issues that they can’t articulate a position on almost anything. Basically, they seem pretty ridiculous to me, sort of absurdly silly and meaningless. Although maybe it’s an art project gone wrong, and I’m just not getting it. 🙂

  15. John H–
    “The recently-created Forward party seems to be trying to avoid this issue by appealing to people on both sides of the aisle. But, this means they are so divergent on the various issues that they can’t articulate a position on almost anything.”

    “Unity” can’t be the platform of a serious party. Far better to form your new party on human nature, and how to use it positively for all. Hysterical Dems and troglodyte GOPs won’t do it.
    Try removing all the bad platform ideas on both sides and work rationally from there. always remembering human vices and the road to hell…

  16. The GOP really started on it’s downward slide under Reagan, or possibility Nixon. Doesn’t really matter much who gets the “credit”. In any case it is quickly going full on fascist and is desperately working to become the only legal political party so it can become they only one in a fake democracy. Any and all tactics will & are being used in this effort including bigotry toward Jews, African-Americans, LGBTQ etc just like the KKK.

  17. People who are concerned about Drag Queen Story Hour in some manifestations are of two types. 1) Republicans trying to score political points and 2) people who are concerned NOT that transwomen will pervert children but that perverts/pedophiles will pretend to be transwomen to gain access to and trust of children (& their parents) by activities such as Drag Queen Story Hour. If background checks for DQSH are mandatory, as they should be for anyone volunteering to be around children, it’s a nice community service.

    Coming soon: Drag Queens Serve Breakfast at Homeless Shelters?

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