DeSantis Spokesperson Characterizes Those Opposing 'Don't Say Gay' Bill as 'Grooming' Children

Tuesday March 8, 2022

With Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill close to passing the state Senate, Governor Ron DeSantis spokesperson made "a shocking claim about the bill's critics, mostly Democrats," reports the Independent.

Spokesperson Christina Pushaw tweeted last Friday: "The bill that liberals inaccurately call 'Don't Say Gay' would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill," she tweeted.

In a second message, she added: "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."

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network defines "grooming" as "manipulative behaviors" that a sexual "abuser uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to the abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught."

"Her use of the phrase 'silence is complicity' appears to be ironic. Pushaw has trolled Democrats with the similar phrase 'silence is violence' on numerous occasions," reports The Week.

"Equality Florida, a political advocacy group that promotes protections for the LGBTQ+ community, publicly condemned Christina Pushaw's comments and called on DeSantis to denounce her," reports Tampa Bay television Channel 10 WTSP.

In their statement, Equality Florida wrote: "Governor DeSantis' spokesperson said the quiet part out loud: that this bill is grounded in a belief that LGBTQ people, simply by existing, are a threat to children and must be erased. He chose Pushaw to speak his mind to the public. He owns this unbridled hatred. This same bigoted insinuation has long been used to stigmatize our families, justify denying us the ability to adopt children, and is being used to justify the tracking of transgender children by government agents in Texas and threats to imprison their parents. Make no mistake — this is a tacit announcement from the Governor that he supports the true intent of the Don't Say Gay bill: The erasure of LGBTQ people."

Florida State Rep. Carlos G. Smith, who is gay, said Pushaw had "openly accused opponents" of the bill of being "PEDOPHILES." He described her comments as "disgusting" and "[b]igoted" and called for Pushaw's resignation.

Others responded on Twitter:

Dustin Hewett wrote: "You can't groom sexuality. If so, we'd all be gay and fabulous"

On a more serious note, DeSantis supporter Brian W. Toth condemned the bill: "Christina — as someone who voted for and supports Gov. DeSantis, I don't support these bills. They have hurt gay people, needlessly give something to his critics to cite, and make it harder to defend him on the many things he does well. I'd encourage the governor not to support it."

Meantime, Twitter user Peter tweeted: "It's aquatinting gay people with child molesters that leads to violence against the community and suicide within. This tweet is dangerous."