CHRIS HAYES (HOST): It's the middle of Pride Month and there is a very scary, anti-gay, anti-trans obsession on the right across the country right now. It's an obsession that certain violent fringes of the conservative movement are taking their cues from. On Saturday in California, a group of Proud Boys interrupted the San Lorenzo Public Library's Drag Queen Story Hour, an event for children and families, shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs. One wore a shirt that reads 'Kill your local pedophile' with a picture of an AK-47. On the same day, a group of 31 people affiliated with the white nationalist group Patriot Front were arrested near a Pride parade event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. They had masks, riot shields, and at least one smoke grenade. Police say they were planning to start a riot at that Pride event. Parker Malloy's been covering this rise of anti-gay, anti-trans attacks in her newsletter titled The Present Age; also former editor-at-large for Media Matters for America, and she joins me now. Parker, it's good to have you on. I know that you do a lot of monitoring of right-wing media and have for a while, and it just really is striking to me, and if you want to sort of tell us what you see of how intensely focus has come to been brought to bear even in just the last month on particularly drag queens, trans folks, gay folks.
PARKER MOLLOY (JOURNALIST, THE PRESENT AGE): Yeah, thanks for having me, Chris. And yeah, so just in the past month there has been a severe escalation of what's happening. I mean, if you think back just a few months ago we were having all of these conversations about trans girls in sports. Everyone was just very, very concerned about fairness in women's sports -- that was the big the big talking point -- and then it kind of shifted, shifted over to this, you know, focus on what gets taught in schools, the 'Don't Say Gay' stuff, and that was that itself was an outgrowth of the Critical Race Theory moral panic, and now it's just gotten to this point where you have an increasing number of people on the right coming out and just outright saying that LGBTQ people are a threat to be around children. And that's, it's an old talking point that's just being brought up again for the first time, and I think that it's just getting more and more overt. I mean, you have multiple lawmakers now talking about making it illegal to bring your child to drag events, which is just so bizarre, and this would ordinarily seem like such a fringe idea, but this is being talked about by the likes of Ron DeSantis, who may very well run for president in a few years. That is scary, that this is an idea that has become so mainstream on the right, and it's it's it's a scary time.
HAYES: Yeah, I mean the idea that introducing your child to any example of, like, deviation from gender norms is child abuse, like, per se, right? That that itself, and again, that's a, that's an extreme disgusting and frankly kind of violent idea because it embeds a notion of child abuse, and this is DeSantis: "when asked by reporters whether he would support proposed legislation," this is proposed legislation, "[by] a Florida state representative that would punish parents who take their children to drag performances, the governor said he has asked his staff to look into the idea. 'We have Child Protective Statutes on the books. We have laws against child endangerment'." That's the rhetoric being used by the governor of Florida.
MOLLOY: Yeah, and well, this rhetoric is dangerous,you know. When you present the existence of LGBTQ people as a threat to children, as a threat to the country itself -- that's how it's being framed a lot -- that's putting lives in danger right there. I mean, right wing-media largely dictates these sorts of conversations, and that's what I think a lot of people who aren't as tuned into the Fox News, the Breitbarts, the Daily Wires, all of those right-wing sites, maybe miss, is that while normal news outlets will cover these stories as they as new developments come up, on the right, it will be day in and day out of them showing stories of talking about, "oh, these deviants are trying to groom your children into being LGBTQ" and they dictate these these conversations entirely. When I sat down to write my Monday newsletter, you know, the one thing that kept going through my mind that was we need allies. That's that's part of the issue is that we need people willing to stand up to help us right now, and I ordinarily only write occasionally about this topic on my, on my newsletter. I like to focus more on media generally.
MOLLOY: But I think that, as long as this is a focus on the right, I need to put more of my own attention in there because I feel like a lot of this is flying under the radar. You have these groups coming out to these events ready to fight, basically, because they're told that drag shows equal sex shows, which those are, those are obviously two very different things, and obviously a drag show in the middle of a park is very different than a drag show in a club at night, but they want you to believe these are the same.
HAYES: Yeah, and I agree. Like the obsessive focus right now on the right is really unnerving and it's dangerous. And Parker Malloy, whose newsletter I read, thanks so much for coming on. Appreciate it.
MOLLOY: Thanks, Chris.