The Twitter account “Libs of TikTok'' called for all openly LGBTQ+ teachers to be fired. The account, which has nearly 600,000 followers, has been steadily growing on Twitter since November 2020, publishing multiple viral tweets a day that often single out TikTok users who claim to be teachers and fuel the feedback loop of the right-wing moral panic about LBGTQ equality in schools.
The video included in the tweet features a man who says he told his fifth-grade students that he is gay after they asked, then answered questions they had about what that means. As of writing, the video has over 500,000 views and has earned nearly 3,000 retweets and 10,000 likes.
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh – an anti-LGBTQ+, pro-arranged marriage pundit – also amplified the video, writing, “Stop talking to kids about your sexuality you damned creepy weirdos.” Walsh is the author of a hateful children’s book that compared gender identities of trans youth to a boy pretending to be a walrus. He is also a frequent guest on Fox News, appearing on the network's weeknight prime-time shows at least 10 times in 2022 alone, per our internal database.
Fox News has been a big amplifier of this account, essentially turning Libs of Tiktok in a Twitter-based wire service for its prime-time program to source anti-transgender and homophobic content related to teachers and youth.
The Libs of TikTok Twitter account is a critical piece of infrastructure in the right-wing media machine fueling both this moral panic and harmful legislation like Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ extreme “Don’t Say Gay” law. The account frequently posts tweets that single out individual TikTok users discussing LGBTQ+ identity and equality issues, garnering thousands of retweets in the process. The content shared by the account often features videos with low view counts from obscure creators who would not otherwise be subjected to intense, hostile national scrutiny.
The right-wing hate campaign is having a massive impact that extends far beyond Florida. Copycat bills are now moving forward in multiple states across the country, according to a report from the Advocate, a publication that covers LGBTQ+ issues. This list was published before the Ohio state House introduced HB 616, which would censor any curriculum that educates students about LGBTQ+ identities.