Russia Bans Expressions of LGBTQ Identity. The American Right is Watching and Learning.
LGBTQ rights are under attack from increasingly authoritarian regimes worldwide -- and American conservatives are admiring and emulating them.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin signed a law this week banning any expression of LGBTQ identity, criminalizing “propaganda” for “non-traditional sexual relations,” as well as propaganda promoting pedophilia — tying, intentionally, homosexuality to child sexual abuse.
The Russian law expands upon a previous anti-LGBTQ law banning similar “propaganda” for people under 18. Hungary has a similar law criminalizing the dissemination of information or content to minors that so much as recognizes the existence of LGBTQ people.
At the same time, the US Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on a case that could determine whether broad discrimination against LGBTQ people, racial and religious minorities, and women is legal as long as there’s a free speech pretext for it. Earlier this year, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law barring educators from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity at all in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms, and mandating that any discussion of these topics be “age-appropriate” for students from fourth through 12th grade. Nearly 30 similar bills in at least 15 states have been proposed. From EdWeek, here’s a smattering of what’s been proposed:
“A Tennessee bill would prohibit schools from adopting or using textbooks or materials ‘that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles.”
“A Louisiana bill would prevent any teacher or school employee from covering the topics of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 8th grade, and it would prevent them from discussing their own orientation or gender identity as well.”
“A South Carolina bill would prohibit state entities, including schools, from subjecting minors to ‘instruction, presentations, discussions, counseling, or materials in any medium’ that involves topics including ‘sexual lifestyles, acts, or practices” or ‘gender identity or lifestyles.”
“Two proposals in Oklahoma would submit library books to scrutiny over sexual themes; one of them specifically would prohibit public schools or libraries from holding or promoting “books that make as their primary subject the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issues or recreational sexualization.” It would also prevent teachers from administering a survey about gender or sexuality.”
And Congressional Republicans have also gotten in on the act, introducing a nation-wide version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would bar federal funds from being used “to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, and for other purposes.” According to the bill, “sexually-oriented material” includes “any depiction, description, or simulation of sexual activity, any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of human genitals, or any topic involving gender identity, gender dysphoria, transgenderism, sexual orientation, or related subjects.”
You see the connections here, yeah?