In an interview with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said that if young people can be openly trans, children will soon be able to give “consent for sexual activity.” Ingraham has previously fearmongered that trans rights will lead to “lowering the age of consent.”
Ingraham’s claim that affirming trans identities will sexualize children is similar to a false right-wing and evangelical narrative that exposing children to LGBTQ people will sexualize them, and she has previously repeated this on her programs.
During an episode of her podcast earlier this year, Ingraham said that teaching about gender identity “is about lowering the age of consent” and that LGBTQ advocates are trying “to get little children sexualized.” During that same episode, her guest compared Drag Queen Story Hour, a program in which drag queens read books to children at public libraries, to NAMBLA, a pro-pedophile group. Comparing LGBTQ people to pedophiles is a longstanding and destructive right-wing tactic. Additionally, during an episode of her Fox show The Ingraham Angle, her guest called drag queens “adult illicit entertainment” and compared Drag Queen Story Hour to “pole dancer story hour” and “porn actor story hour.”
Ingraham made the latest anti-trans comments during a Fox segment about a Texas custody case involving a trans child that right-wing and evangelical media have weaponized and misrepresented. The two parents in the case disagree whether their trans child should receive gender affirming care even though medical professionals agree that the child’s identity should be affirmed. During the segment, she also called trans-affirming care “child abuse.”
Ingraham has a history of hosting anti-LGBTQ guests on her TV and radio programs, and she and her guests regularly push anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and misinformation without any pushback. Her language about “child abuse” also mirrors right-wing narratives about affirming children, including rhetoric coming out of panels from the anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation.