LGBTQ Pride Month | Media Matters for America

LGBTQ Pride Month

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  • Family Research Council celebrates Pride Month by spreading vile misinformation and hate about the LGBTQ community

    FRC’s Peter Sprigg suggested that mental illness among some LGBTQ people is evidence that they are not “natural,” said HIV is "a direct result" of gay sex, and promoted the debunked practice of conversion therapy

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX PATERSON


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Extreme anti-LBGTQ group Family Research Council regularly traffics in extreme language, but it recently published a post by Peter Sprigg about LGBTQ Pride Month, which was particularly vile even by its own standards. In the blog, Sprigg said gay men should not be proud because HIV is "a direct result of that sexual behavior" and that mental illness in the LGBTQ community is evidence its members are not "natural."

    Sprigg, a senior fellow at FRC, has called for homosexuality to be criminalized and has said, “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe that homosexuality is destructive to society.” Sprigg has pushed his anti-LGBTQ views internationally at the global summit of World Congress of Families (WCF), where he “argued that transgender identity is unscientific,” according to Right Wing Watch. The WCF is an international coalition of anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ groups led by former National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, and it promotes extreme right-wing policies around the world under the guise of protecting the “natural family.”

    Domestically, Sprigg has given public comment at a committee meeting urging the Food and Drug Administration’s to uphold its policy banning men who have sex with men from donating blood, advocated to the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee against nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, and testified before state legislatures in Vermont, Hawaii, and New Hampshire against protections for LBGTQ youth from conversion therapy. Moreover, Sprigg’s boss, FRC President Tony Perkins, was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to be a commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

    Sprigg also writes articles spreading anti-LGBTQ misinformation across several right-wing platforms, including The Daily Signal, Washington Examiner, and The Christian Post. Right-wing and evangelical media, in turn, quote Sprigg as an expert on conversion therapy and the health needs of transgender people even though he is not a medical professional.

    In an article posted on June 11, Sprigg railed against the LGBTQ community under the deceitfully reasoned headline “Should Christians Recognize ‘LGBT Pride?’” Anti-LGBTQ organizations often try to pit religious rights against LGBTQ equality in a fallacious “God vs. Gay” dichotomy, though the majority of religious groups think homosexuality “should be accepted,” according to Pew Research. Here are some of the worst anti-LGBTQ comments that Sprigg pushed in the FRC blog post:

    • "The high rates of mental illness that accompany such feelings is strong evidence against the idea that homosexual and transgender feelings are ‘natural.’”

    • "Men who have sex with men, in particular, have high rates of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases as a direct result of that sexual behavior—so is it something to be ‘proud’ of?”

    • "To accept ‘LGBT Pride’ is to accept the assertion that these feelings are a normal and natural variant of human sexuality.”

    • "Some individuals who identify as transgender ask surgeons to mutilate or remove otherwise healthy body parts—often with serious long-term consequences—in order to make their bodies resemble more closely their desired sex. Is this something to be proud of?”

    • "To endorse ‘LGBT Pride’ is to endorse all three—to affirm that LGBT feelings are normal and natural (which is untrue), that LGBT behaviors are harmless or even admirable (also untrue), and that their LGBT ‘identity’ is innate (untrue as well).”

    • "Homosexual activists and their allies in the states have even been invading the privacy of the relationship between mental health providers and their clients, by passing laws to prohibit sexual orientation change efforts, or SOCE (which critics refer to as ‘conversion therapy’) with minors.”

    • "The former tennis star and self-identified lesbian Martina Navratilova said, ‘Catholic clergy has been a lot more dangerous to kids than LGBT’ (apparently without irony, since there is reason to believe that most of the Catholic priests who have molested children are themselves homosexual).”

  • Laura Ingraham hosts extreme anti-LGBTQ guest who promotes book The Health Hazards of Homosexuality

    MassResistance's Arthur Schaper also compared "Drag Queen Story Hour" to "porn actor story hour"

    Blog ››› ››› KAYLA GOGARTY

    Fox News host Laura Ingraham hosted a panel on her show featuring Arthur Schaper of extreme anti-LGBTQ group MassResistance in which he promoted his group’s book The Health Hazards of Homosexuality. Schaper also called drag queens “adult illicit entertainment” and compared events where drag queens read to children to “pole dancer story hour” and “porn actor story hour.”

    MassResistance’s leadership has compared LGBTQ people fighting for their rights to the Nazi propaganda machine, has said pro-LGBTQ policies are similar to Jim Crow laws, and has called homosexuality “repulsive.” The group’s book The Health Hazards of Homosexuality -- which has been “promoted and sold” at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit -- claims homosexuality is “a mental health disorder,” is “really about sodomy,” and is “rooted in perverted practices which defy nature and bring ill health.” The group made news in 2017 when it kicked off its "Countering the LGBT Agenda" conference with an interpretive rainbow flag dance.

    The Fox segment comes only a day after Ingraham dedicated an entire podcast episode to extreme anti-trans rhetoric. In it, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue said “Drag Queen Story Hour” is an attempt to sexualize children, and Ingraham claimed that teaching kids about gender identity “is about lowering the age of consent.” Ingraham has a history of hosting anti-LGBTQ guests and allowing them to push anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and misinformation.

    During the June 13 episode, Schaper called being LGBTQ “deviance” and “perverse and destructive lifestyles,” and flashed his group’s book at the end of the segment. From The Ingraham Angle:

    ARTHUR SCHAPER (MASSRESISTANCE): My name is Arthur Schaper. I’m the organization director for MassResistance. We are the international pro-family group that makes the difference. We have had parents contacting us all over the country about these perverse programs. I mean the bottom line is this: You have adult homosexual men, adult entertainers, going into a public library reading to children. I mean, that alone should not only be setting off alarms, but people should be, you know, demanding this to be canceled even before it starts. OK, we're talking -- we’re not talking about diversity here. We’re talking about deviance. We’re talking about perverse and destructive lifestyles being animated or advertised to children as if it's normal. I mean, you can just look at the website itself --

    LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Wait, wait. Hold on, Arthur. Are you saying that gay people can't read to kids ever? I mean, we're talking about a very specific issue with drag queens --

    SCHAPER: OK. We’re talking about --

    INGRAHAM: Right, that's what we're talking about here. So, try to keep it focused on that issue.

    SCHAPER:  We're talking about drag entertainment here, drag entertainment. This is adult illicit entertainment to put it mildly. And we’re having these entertainers reading to children? Why don’t we -- why stop there? Why not have pole dancer story hour? How about having porn actor story hour? And this is just nonsensical. This is what you want children being -- experiencing?

  • LGBTQ media highlight repercussions of Trump’s budget proposals

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX MORASH


    Dayanita Ramesh / Media Matters

    News outlets, experts, and health care advocates blasted President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposal that would rip health care away from millions while eliminating key HIV prevention and research programs. If enacted, these cuts would have a disproportionately devastating impact on members of the LGBTQ community, who rely more heavily on Medicaid than the general public does and face higher rates of HIV infection.

    Outcries continue to grow in response to Trump’s federal budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. The proposal faced immediate criticism for its unrealistic revenue projections and was branded by critics as a “repugnant grab bag” of cuts to vital anti-poverty and public health programs to pay for part of a massive tax cut for top earners. The latest criticism of Trump’s budget comes from public health experts and LGBTQ media, which are pointing out that its cuts to Medicaid, coupled with harsh reductions in funding of HIV treatment, prevention, and research add up to a reprehensible swipe at the LGBTQ community.

    Cuts to Medicaid would disproportionately affect the LGBTQ community, which faces higher levels of poverty than the public at large. On May 28, NBC Out reported that Trump’s budget would hit the LGBTQ community in several ways. Stephen Forssell, director of George Washington University’s graduate program in LGBTQ health policy, explained that Medicaid is “hugely important” for LGBTQ Americans, who are more likely than others to rely on the program:

    Medicaid is "hugely important" for the LGBTQ community," (sic) Gruberg told NBC Out, noting that 18 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have Medicaid compared to 8 percent of non-LGBTQ people.

    Gruberg also noted that Medicaid is the "largest source of coverage for people with HIV in the U.S.," adding that "a $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid over 10 years will be detrimental to the ability of people living with HIV to get the health care they need to survive."

    HIV funding is of great concern for the LGBTQ community and faces steep cuts in the White House’s budget. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) outlined that the fiscal year 2018 budget would include a $59 million reduction to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, including eliminating all its funding for LGBTQ and minority education and HIV prevention. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS program funds health care services for individuals living with HIV as well as public service education programs about the virus. The program is named after an HIV activist who fought for the program’s enactment before tragically passing away just months before it was authorized after battling the virus.

    On May 31, the Washington Blade highlighted the funding cuts to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program and an additional $186 million in proposed cuts to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) work on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Doug Wirth, CEO of the nonprofit Amida Care, called Trump’s budget proposal a “cruel and callous attack” on those living with HIV. Advocacy groups argued that the funding cuts would lead to “more suffering” for those living with HIV, and the AIDS Institute criticized the White House’s “severe cuts” while noting that the 19 percent cut to the CDC’s HIV prevention program would set back efforts to eliminate the virus.

    According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, gay and bisexual men represent 2 percent of the American population but make up 56 percent of all Americans living with HIV and 55 percent of all HIV-related deaths in the U.S. The CDC reported that while HIV diagnoses have declined overall in recent years, diagnoses have increased among gay and bisexual men. The CDC found that much of the increase was among men of color and even projected that one out of every two black gay and bisexual men would become infected with the virus during their lives. Currently, gay and bisexual men make up 67 percent of all new HIV infections:

    Trump’s cuts to HIV programs are eerily reminiscent of cuts Vice President Mike Pence imposed on Indiana during his tenure as governor. Pence followed through on right-wing media’s obsession with defunding Planned Parenthood and cut funding to the health care provider ostensibly to reduce abortions, but in doing so actually shut down access to the only HIV testing centers available to many Indiana residents and may have inadvertently caused an HIV epidemic in rural parts of the state. Pence has a long history of supporting right-wing media causes against the LGBTQ community and during the 2016 presidential campaign was called out by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for statements he made while serving in Congress.

    Trump campaigned as an alleged ally of the LGBTQ community, but community leaders recently slammed his “shameful” refusal to sign a proclamation declaring June LGBTQ Pride month, ending an eight-year tradition. The Trump administration also faced pushback after it announced it would not allow Americans to self-identify as LGBTQ in the 2020 national census.

  • ABC report on Ivanka Trump misstates Trump's position on LGBTQ equality

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    In an article about Ivanka Trump’s tweets wishing her followers a “joyful” Pride month, ABC News failed to fact-check President Donald Trump’s frequent claims that he’s a supporter of LGBTQ equality, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The article also uncritically parroted a Trump talking point attempting to smear then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as less of a friend to LGBTQ people.  

    On June 1 -- the start of LGBTQ Pride month -- first daughter Ivanka Trump tweeted that she was “proud to support” her “LGBTQ friends” and wished her followers a “joyful #Pride2017.” The tweets prompted heavy criticism from LGBTQ advocates on Twitter, who pointed out that her message contradicts the anti-LGBTQ actions of the Trump administration. Trump has long opposed same-sex marriage, and in early 2016 he said he would “strongly consider” appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn marriage equality. On the campaign trail, he repeatedly surrounded himself with anti-LGBTQ extremists and hate group leaders. Since being sworn into office, the Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era guidance protecting transgender students from nondiscrimination, issued an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” executive order that was initially pushed by hate groups, and sent an anti-LGBTQ hate group to represent the U.S. at the annual session of United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women.

    In a June 2 article about Ivanka’s tweets, ABC News described Trump’s attempt to position himself as a “friend” to the LGBTQ community without any mention of his administration’s anti-LGBTQ actions or assocation with anti-LGBTQ extremists. Throughout the Trump campaign, journalists -- including ABC’s Jonathan Karl -- repeatedly ran with baseless claims that Trump is an advocate for the LGBTQ community.  

    The report also uncritically parroted Trump’s attempt to smear Clinton by scandalizing donations to the Clinton Foundation from countries with anti-LGBTQ policies, saying that “they kill gays in these countries … who's better for the gay community or for women than Donald Trump.” ABC failed to point out that Trump himself has financial ties to the same countries. Trump’s talking point about the Clinton Foundation was heavily pushed by Fox News host and conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity. The article also neglected to mention that Trump has yet to issue a declaration recognizing LGBTQ Pride month.

    From the June 2 ABC News article:

    After being silent on social media for a few days, first daughter Ivanka Trump emerged on Twitter Thursday night following the conclusion of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, to wish her followers a "joyful" Pride month.

    "Logging back on after Shavuot, wishing everyone a joyful #Pride2017," she tweeted. "This month we celebrate and honor the #LGBTQ community."

    A subsequent tweet read, "I am proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy."

    [...]

    During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump positioned himself as a friend of the LGBTQ community.

    At a rally in June in Dallas, Trump said the "LGBT community is starting to like Donald Trump very, very much lately," and claimed that his then-Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, accepted donations from Middle East countries, which oppress LGBT citizens and women.

    "As far as gays are concerned they throw them off buildings," Trump said. "They kill gays in these countries. So you tell me who's better for the gay community or for women than Donald Trump."