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Equal citizenship is a game of inches

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Christina Pushaw, who gets paid a lot of money to act as Ron DeSantis’s id on Twitter, came out and said what most Florida Republicans are thinking:

LGBTQ+ advocates called for the resignation of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary after she called legislation under consideration that would limit and sometimes ban  discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in school, an “anti-grooming bill.”

“The bill that liberals inaccurately call ‘Don’t Say Gay’ would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill,” Press Secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted on Sunday. “If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.”

This is a wild mischaracterization of the bill, which would prohibit educators in Florida from discussing issues of sexual orientation and gender identity through third grade and require discussion of those topics with students at any level to be “age-appropriate.”

Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, the only out gay man serving right now in the Florida House responded with anger at insinuation from the Governor’s Office that acknowledgement of gay and transgender people should be considered grooming. He called for Pushaw’s resignation over the tweet.

“DeSantis’ spokesperson openly accused opponents of #DontSayGay of being ‘groomers’— aka PEDOPHILES,” Smith tweeted. “Bigoted attacks like this against LGBTQ people are the worst of the worst. They’re disgusting and dangerous and have NO PLACE in the Guv’s office. ChristinaPushaw must resign.”

There’s a lot of good stuff about this in Reaganland, but the hateful lie that gay people generally tend to be pedophiles and sexual abusers has long been a central organizing principle for reactionary homophobia, and this remains true today even if they’ve learned to hide it a little better, sometimes.

“What if Democrats had gotten 1% more of the statewide vote in Florida in 2018” is a counterfactual I will never stop thinking about. So much turns on so little.

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