People really can be the worst. Specifically people who intentionally hurt and marginalize already hurting and marginalized groups. The internet has given these awful people (“trolls” feels like too nice a word) more ways to spread hate, ignorance, and violence. The LGBTQ+ community is being attacked with false campaigns that sadly feed into many people’s default belief: that the queer community is not only full of pedophiles but that we accept and defend them in the name of homosexuality.
NO. NO. NO. This is not how being queer works. Lest you forget, Kevin Spacey was not let off the hook just because he came out of the closet at the same time Anthony Rapp accused him of sexual assault. Many outspoken people in the LGBTQ+ community, myself included, adamantly denied his request for forgiveness because he was suddenly ready to admit he was gay. I don’t care what you call yourself, if you take advantage of or hurt a child or hurt or rape anyone, you are not a part of my community. You are a sick fuck who deserves jail time, castration, or both. You do not get an invitation to Pride.
Yet people who don’t believe in my “lifestyle” (it’s a life, people) or don’t believe in “transgenderism” (not a word) are happy to assume, claim, and try to prove that everyone in the LGBTQ+ community is a sexual deviant, a child molester, or rapist. These lies are spread like believable wives’ tales and should be laughed off, but the LGBTQ+ groups under attack have to address the lies because otherwise they add fuel to what people want to believe.
One group recently created and posted fake Pride posters in Oregon that suggested the June celebration was sponsored by NAMBLA and The Human Dignity Coalition. The picture used on the poster was of Desmond Napoles, a well-known 10-year-old drag queen. Here is the problem: NAMBLA stands for North American Man/Boy Love Association, which is a group of people who are doing their best to excuse underage sex with boys. The group uses personal stories of men trying to justify their love of boys, while boys try to validate that what happened to them as children or teenagers was not molestation. It’s gross. And sad.
The Human Dignity Coalition is a LGBTQ+ advocacy group in Bend, Oregon. Falsely linking these two as sponsors is a very clever and cruel way to equate pedophilia with homosexuality, or at least a disgusting way to make it seem like queer advocacy groups advocate for sex with minors. And the image of a boy in drag only adds to people’s belief that the queer community — gay men especially — sexualizes children.
Another attempt to link sexual misconduct with the LGBTQ+ community tried to convince people that there was a new Pride flag for a group called Minor Attracted Persons, AKA sick fucks who are pedophiles. Another one tried to mock gender fluid, nonbinary, and transgender individuals by claiming the LGBTQ+ community supports “clovergender” individuals. Clovergenders, claim the trolls, are children in adult bodies and are therefore allowed to have sexual relationships with children.
There were a few accounts on Twitter that have since been suspended that tried to promote clovergender. One tweet read: “Age is a social construct. We’re in 2017 now we should open our eyes! #agegender #agefluid #agequeer #lgbtqpia #lgbtqpiac #Awareness (@Clovergender).”
First of all: clovergender is not a thing; it does not exist. Second of all: children should not be having sex. Not with each other and not with adults.
Another attack came when a group decided to add a P to the list of letters into the LGBTQ+ acronym. The P was said to stand for Pedosexuals. This attack was launched and gained momentum through the website 4chan, a place where users can anonymously post images and comments. One user wrote this: “If they want to demand that society accept their horseshit identities, then it’s time we slip in one of our own. How do we do this? We convince them that Pedos deserve rights too. Think about it, if this were to catch any traction at all it would only further remove any legitimization they’ve gained.”
This belief that pedophilia is connected to homosexuality, the religious claims that homosexuality is a sin, and the “God hates fags” propaganda have been the root of malicious words, actions, and discrimination. These attacks are why conversion therapy exists. These attacks are why parents feel justified to disown their kids. This is why LGTBQ+ people feel so alone and helpless and why they die by suicide rather than live with fear and shame that never should have touched their souls.
These attacks are a distraction from the real work that needs to be done. The idea of advocacy is to create space that allows LGBTQ+ people to share their narrative, to show just how much queer and transgender people have in common with straight and cisgender people. Understanding leads to tolerance which leads to acceptance which leads to equality.
But when we are constantly defending ourselves against lies, some people just see backtracking and guilt. There are assumptions that if the queer community is shouting from the rooftops that we are NOT sexual deviants, then maybe we really are. Because where there is smoke, there is fire, right?
Well, there is fire alright. But it’s the burning of anger and love within our community, not guilt or shame.
The smoke is in the lies spread by the trolls who are creating stories to stop the progress of human and LGBTQ+ rights.
Recently a Fox News analyst, Star Parker, claimed that the B in LGBTQ+ stands for bestiality. Where is the nearest wall so I can repeatedly bang my head against it? FUCK YOU, STAR. She claims—can we acknowledge that it is 2018 and this was a major news network—that the LGBTQ+ community is pushing our agenda, “this idea,” on America.
Parker states, “There are some that say this ‘B’ is going to bombard us with real vileness in our society if they get what they want because it’s not about bisexuality, it’s about bestiality.” Sigh. I should not have to tell you this isn’t true. Yet, here we are. The B really does stand for bisexual, and to try to erase it or change it to something so heinous takes away a very real identity that is sometimes hidden and misunderstood. I feel like I owe my bisexual friends an apology. I see you. I see all the good love you have to give. You deserve better than this bullshit. We all deserve better than this.
We can’t ignore these lies because they add fuel to the fire of hate and ignorance if left unchallenged. Yet giving them attention they don’t deserve takes away from the real work of education and advocacy needed to reduce these types of hoaxes and ignorant beliefs. It’s wasted time that hurts our rights, our pride, and our safety, and it feels like a no-win situation.
Do me a favor, folks. Don’t believe these stories. Challenge them. Join me in being a social justice warrior and some do some fighting back for the LGBTQ+ community.
We need more active help from allies in a fight against very active and organized haters.