Anti-LGBTQ hate is flourishing on Spanish-language radio and online spaces
Toxic rhetoric claiming that Democrats and the LGBTQ community aim to “indoctrinate,” “mutilate,” and “abuse” children is spreading in Spanish-language media
Much like their English-language counterparts, right-wing voices in Spanish-language media are fixated on attacking the LGBTQ community, seizing any opportunity to spread hateful rhetoric against them.
Right-wing commentators on Spanish-language radio and in online spaces have demonized Pride events and gay representation and claimed that being transgender is a “mental illness” pushed by “perverted” Democrats. Also, like recent anti-LGBTQ attacks from English right-wing media, many Spanish-language attacks on the LGBTQ community have revolved around children, with some commentators suggesting that parents who support their LGBTQ children should be charged with “child abuse.”
GLAAD’s 2022 Social Media Safety Index found that major social media platforms in the U.S. — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok — have failed to provide a welcoming or safe experience for LGBTQ users, including by not curbing rampant Spanish-language misinformation and right-wing extremism thriving on the platforms. This inaction has created an ideal environment for conservative anti-LGBTQ attacks to proliferate across the internet.
Additionally, the Spanish-language right-wing radio figures Media Matters tracks are also broadcasting anti-LGBTQ talking points to their audiences. The rhetoric often mirrors English-language attacks about “groomers” and the idea that the LGBTQ community is pushing “gender ideology” on children.
Here are examples of how right-wing narratives demonizing the LGBTQ community get highlighted in right-wing Spanish-language radio and online spaces.
Claiming LGBTQ people are indoctrinating children
Conservatives on Spanish-language radio and in Spanish online spaces are pushing tired and false narratives claiming that LGBTQ people aim to indoctrinate, groom, and sexualize children. The increasing popularity of this smear with conservatives also coincides with calls and actions from the right to separate trans and LGBTQ children from parents who support them.
- Sublevados, a conservative media outlet with over 27,000 Twitter followers, framed Pride as a danger to children and called LGBTQ people “sickos.” “It is clearer and clearer: Kids are the ultimate target for progressives. This is why we cannot yield even a millimeter and we have to be relentless against those sickos.” [Twitter, 07/10/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “Cada vez más claro: el objetivo último del progresismo son los niños. Por eso es que no podemos ceder ni un milímetro y tenemos que ser implacables con estos enfermos.”
- Salvadoran gospel artist Pablo Rosales, who regularly shares homophobic content with his 900,000 followers across Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, posted a video claiming there are “11 steps they use to drag kids from their homes and over to Pride.” [Facebook, 6/13/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “GUIA PASO A PASO de Cómo RECLUTAN a los niños para es MARCHA - ‘En el video que estamos apunto de ver, hay al menos 11 pasos, para arrastrar a los niños desde su casa hacia el orgullo.’”
- Marcel Garcia, a conservative Spanish YouTuber with more than 100,000 subscribers, claimed that “ped0philia and LGBT have a lot in common.” Users across multiple platforms often use coded language and intentional misspellings to avoid moderation, and Garcia did the same by altering the word “pedophilia.” He said, “Is there or has there been a relationship between pedophile activism and LGBT activism? Definitely. At its founding, pedophiles were part of the gay movement and even marched alongside each other to reclaim their rights during the sexual revolution.” [Facebook, 6/28/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “Ped0filia y LGTB: Mucho en común – ‘¿Existe o ha existido relación entre el activismo ped0fil0 y el activismo LGTB? Sin duda. En sus orígenes los ped0fil0s formaban parte del colectivo gay e incluso marcharon juntos reclamando sus libertades durante la revolución s3xual.’”
- On his show Entre Líneas, host Freddy Silva claimed that the LGBTQ community is “indoctrinating little kids.” “There are more and more corrupt legislators at the national level who are looking for ways to bring these policies to our youngest children," Silva said. Silva’s show is part of the increasingly toxic conservative Spanish-language SiriusXM channel Americano Radio. [Americano Radio, Entre Lineas, 6/6/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “No estamos en contra de las personas que forman de la comunidad LGBTQ+. Conozco a muchas personas … [que] tampoco están de acuerdo con la ideología que se está llevando a cabo en donde están adoctrinando a los más pequeños, y que cada vez existen más legisladores corruptos a nivel nacional, que están buscando la forma de cómo llevar estas políticas a los mas pequenos.”
- On her show Perspectiva USA, host Dania Alexandrino claimed Democrats are pushing a “Machivellian” agenda to turn children LGBTQ: “The purpose is what I mentioned just moments ago: social reengineering. A Machiavellian mentality to normalize children, from a very early age, identifying with the opposite sex or being attracted to boys or girls of their own gender. … At this rate, 20 years from now, everyone will be gay. … All the kids will be gay. … If you don't think this is a ploy by the Democrats and the globalist left, … you are part of the problem. ” [Americano Media, Perspectiva USA, 6/3/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “El propósito es lo que yo he mencionado en otros momentos - una reingeniería social. Una mentalidad maquiavelica de normalizar que niños desde bien temprana edad, digan que se identifican con el sexo opuesto, o que les gustan los ninos o las ninas de su mismo genero … al ritmo que vamos, de aqui a 20 años, todos vamos a ser gay. Todos los niños ahora van a ser gay. … Si usted no cree que esto es una de las tácticas del partido demócrata y de la izquierda — globalista, … usted es parte del problema.”
- On her show Cada Tarde, conservative South Florida radio host Carines Moncada lied that children are being “indoctrinated” to undergo gender-confirmation surgeries and suggested that is a cause for high rates of suicide attempts in the LGBTQ community. Moncada said, “Now, it turns out that because I asked if a woman is the only one who can give birth, who can breastfeed and have children, that’s the reason transgenders commit suicide in this country. Why are we not thinking about the number of children who are being raised — they are mentally manipulated — who are being indoctrinated to remove their intimate parts, to mutilate their breasts and stunt their development. … And then, when they feel they made a mistake, that they are lost, that this is not what they really wanted, but rather that they were manipulated by this diabolical agenda, then it’s my fault that one of these people commits suicide?” [Actualidad Radio, Cada Tarde, 7/12/22, translated from Spanish].
- Original Spanish: “Ahora resulta, que por que yo cuestiono, de que si una mujer es la única que puede dar a luz, y que puede amamantar, y puede tener hijos, entonces esta es la causa del sucidio en este país de los transgéneros? Por que no se ponen a pensar la cantidad de niños que los están llevando, los están manipulando mentalmente, los están adoctrinando, a que si quiten sus partes intimas, a que mutilen sus senos, o el crecimiento de los senos. … Y después cuando se sienten que cometieron un error, que están perdidos, que eso no es realmente lo que querían, sino que se dieron cuenta que fueron realmente manipulados por esta agenda diabólica, entonces la culpa es mía de que una persona esta se suicide?”
Claiming drag shows are dangerous for children
Drag shows and other Pride Month events have been increasingly targeted by conservative media figures and politicians, who have been calling for harassment and violence against the LGBTQ community by couching it as a safety concern for children. This has led to escalated security concerns for LGBTQ activists and community members. Conservative Spanish-language commentators and outlets have echoed the extremist calls for children to be taken away from families who support LGBTQ rights.
- Anthony Cabassa, a correspondent for conservative bilingual outlet El American, published an article promoting conservative anti-LGBTQ legislation, parroting claims that drag shows are “sexualizing young children.” In the article, he repeatedly quoted state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-TX), who claimed that these events are “horrifying and show a disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualizing young children.” [El American, 6/6/22]
- Tierra Pura, a far-right news site, published an article on Telegram claiming that Pizza Hut is indoctrinating children with a book about drag. It claimed, “Pizza Hut joins the indoctrination agenda by introducing a book on ‘Drag Kids’ aimed at kindergarteners.” [Telegram, 6/5/22]
- On Entre Líneas, host Freddy Silva claimed that “dragging kids to Pride constitutes child abuse” that requires police action. Silva said: “Here we have a grave concern because it has even been reported that this could be child abuse and that the police should act in a way to protect these children.” [Americano Media, Entre Líneas, 6/6/22]
- Original Spanish: “Aqui existe una grave preoccupacion, por que incluso se a logrado o se a llegado a denunciar que esto podría tratarse de abuso infantil, y que la policia deberia de actuar de alguna manera para protejer a estos niños.”
Conservatives frequently gin up anti-LGBTQ attacks on positive representations of the LGBTQ community. For example, leading up to the release of the Disney film Lightyear, The Daily Wire and Ben Shapiro criticized it for pushing a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda.” On social media, conservative Spanish-language commentators have echoed these attacks, including celebrating low box-office revenue for supposedly “woke” films, attributing their lack of success to the inclusion of LGBTQ representation.
- El Bunker Antifemnista, an anti-feminism Facebook group with over 141,000 followers, shared a post suggesting that the Minions film performed highly at the box office because it did not intend “to indoctrinate with gender ideology.” The page claimed, “Without forced inclusion (without aiming to indoctrinate with gender ideology), Minions The Rise Of Gru has exceeded 200 million dollars in worldwide box office sales, YOU READ THAT RIGHT, MORE THAN 200 MILLION. In less than 3 days, The Minions overtook Lightyear at the global box office sales, which has been going on for more than 3 weeks. The people, THE PUBLIC, THOSE WHO PAY, we know what we want.” [Facebook, 7/4/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “Minions The Rise Of Gru, sin inclusión forzada (sin pretender adoctrinar con ideología de género), ha superado los 200 millones de dólares en la taquilla mundial, LO QUE LEE, SUPERÓ LOS 200 MILLONES. En menos de 3 días, Los Minions superaron en taquilla mundial a Lightyear que lleva más de 3 semanas. La gente, EL PÚBLICO, LOS QUE PAGAMOS, sabemos lo que queremos.”
- The New Dawn, a YouTube channel, posted a video titled, “I want to unsubscribe from [my Disney] service because this [Pride] flag appears in what my 4-year-old children watch.” The channel promotes numerous conspiracy theories to more than 146,000 subscribers. [YouTube, 7/11/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “Quiero dar de baja el servicio por que aparece esa bandera que ven mis hijos de 4 años.”
- Far-right Telegram channel Hijo de las Estrellas shared an article from The Gateway Pundit, translating the article’s headline which claims Thor: Love and Thunder is part of a series of “woke” Disney films failing at the box office. The channel, which peddles conspiracy theories to its over 11,000 subscribers, wrote: “AVOID AT ALL COSTS: ‘Thor Love and Thunder’ - Unless you like Woke movies where even rock people are gay and have babies and the queen is a ‘king.’” [Telegram, 7/11/22, translated from Spanish]
- Abogados antifeministas, a right-wing Facebook group with over 75,000 followers, posted a screenshot of a tweet celebrating the loss of rights for women and trans athletes and low box office profits for Lightyear: “The best Pride month, right? Roe v. Wade revoked, Lightyear a total failure, trans athletes banned from competing in women’s sports.” [Facebook, 6/26/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: El mejor Pride Month no? Revocación del Roe vs Wade. Lightyear un fracaso total. Deportistas trans vetados de competencias femeninas.
Demonizing trans athletes
Attacks on transgender athletes are extremely prevelant in English-language right-wing outlets and consequently have become amplified by Spanish-speaking media figures. Transphobic claims gained particular traction in Spanish after FINA, the international swimming federation, and British Cycling, the U.K.’s cycling regulating body, restricted trans athletes from competing at elite women’s competitions earlier this year.
- Popular Spanish-language right-wing publication La Derecha Diario responded to the ban on trans swimmers by saying, “Sanity prevail[ed] over gender madness.” The account, which has over 165,000 followers on Twitter, also misgendered trans women, calling them “transgender men,” tweeting, “Sanity prevail[s] over gender madness: International swimming organization FINA bans transgender men from competing in women's leagues.” [Twitter, 6/20/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “La cordura prevaleció sobre la locura de género: La organización internacional de natación FINA prohíbe a los hombres transgénero competir en ligas femeninas.”
- Popular conservative Spanish YouTuber Marcel Garcia said trans athletes are not “real women.” Garcia, who has over 17,000 Facebook subscribers, claimed, “The United Kingdom bans trans cyclists from competing against real women.” [Facebook, 6/6/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “Reino Unido prohíbe a las ciclistas trans competir contra mujeres reales.”
- Telegram channel Despertador de La Matrix shared attacks against trans Australian surfer Sasha Jane Lowerson. The account, which has over 80,000 subscribers, said: “Why can't I feel like I'm a 7-year-old and compete against them, for example in basketball??” [Telegram, 5/23/22, translated from Spanish]
- Right-wing conspiracy theory account Doctor Manhattan reborn claimed “justice” had been served in women’s sports. The account, which has more than 41,000 Twitter subscribers, wrote, “After swimming comes rugby. Little by little, justice is being served in women's sports. Track and field should be next.” [Twitter, 6/23/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “Tras la natación llega el rugby. Poco a poco se hace justicia en el deporte femenino. Lo siguiente debería ser el atletismo.”
Denying the existence of trans people
Much like their English-language counterparts, Spanish-speaking conservative figures and right-wing media outlets have focused on spreading baseless and inflammatory content that demonizes nonbinary and trans people or claims they don’t exist.
- Rebelión NOM, a Spanish-language right-wing Telegram channel with over 6,000 subscribers, claimed, “There is not a great variety of genders. There are two genders and then a great variety of mental disorders.” The account wrote: “That's the damn truth.” [Telegram, 6/25/22, translated from Spanish]
- Mexican actor and conservative influencer Eduardo Verástegui claimed, “Gender ideology is absurd, [and] invented by those who promote abortion and same-sex unions.” Verástegui, who has over 229,000 followers on Twitter, wrote: “Abortion is a crime. And marriage is between a man and a woman. Gender ideology is absurd, invented by those who also promote abortion and same-sex unions.” [Twitter, 6/26/22, translated from Spanish]
- Original Spanish: “El aborto es un crimen. Y el matrimonio es entre hombre y mujer. La ideología de género es absurda, inventada por gente que promueve tanto el aborto como las uniones entre personas del mismo sexo. Al grano y sin rodeos. ¡Viva México! Dios bendiga a México y al mundo entero.”