Trigger warning: This post discusses childhood sexual abuse. Please read with care and caution.

I was angry when I read that Florida Gov. Desantis’ press secretary said the controversial bill nicknamed “Don’t Say Gay” by opponents in Florida would be better labeled as an “Anti-Grooming Bill.”

Before I go any further, let’s talk about what “grooming” means in this context. According to RAINN, “one tool common to those who sexually abuse kids is grooming: manipulative behaviors that the abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse and reduce the risk of getting caught.”

Damaging rhetoric

The press secretary’s statement that people against the bill are pro-grooming truly caught me off guard. Her comments are inexcusable, damaging, and dangerous. The extreme right has long accused the LGBTQ+ community of childhood sexual abuse. The Southern Poverty Law Center did a comprehensive dive into this myth and explained that these are untrue and just another way to stoke fear regarding the community. She’s repeating a rhetoric that has long been used as a weapon against LBGTQ+ people. It’s sad, disgusting and, again, damaging. It needs to stop. I hope that this country will turn things around at the ballot box.

Reach out

If you are currently being sexually abused or are a survivor of sexual abuse and need someone to talk to, RAINN has a multitude of services and resources. You’re not alone. And it was NEVER your fault.

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