The majority of US voters oppose using the slur “groomer” to describe LGBT-inclusive teachers and parents, a new poll has revealed.
While the dangerous and ignorant conflation of homosexuality and LGBT+ identities with paedophilia goes back decades, there has been a recent surge in Republicans and religious conservatives using “grooming” language to describe LGBT-inclusive education, or just queer folk in general.
The Data for Progress poll noted: “Some groups have been describing teachers and parents who oppose banning discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in schools as ‘groomers’ – a term used to describe someone who gets close to and builds trust with a child or young person with the intent of sexually abusing them.”
Respondents were asked whether they agreed that “teachers and parents that support discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in school” were “groomers”, and a majority of 55 per cent said they did not.
However, there was a stark political divide.
While just 15 per cent of likely Democrat voters supported anti-LGBT+ “groomer” language, this figure jumped to 45 per cent for likely Republican voters.
The poll also revealed some serious cognitive dissonance among likely Republican voters.
Asked whether the US government should “have a say in personal matters like a person’s sexual preference or gender identity”, the overwhelming opinion across the political spectrum was that it should not (88 per cent of Democrats and 86 per cent of Republicans).
However, when asked about the hundreds of bills across the country which aim to limit the discussion of LGBT+ topics in classrooms, as well as “limit transgender people’s ability to play sports, use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, and receive gender-affirming health care”, 63 per cent of Republicans said they supported such legislation, compared with just 15 per cent of Democrats.
The same trend appeared in a question about gender-affirming healthcare for transgender children, with 59 per cent of Republicans saying the government should deny them this care, compared to 15 per cent of Democrats.