The press secretary for the governor of Florida has been called out by an LGBTQ lawmaker for her hateful comments surrounding the LGBTQ community.
Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, posted a thread questioning the use of the acronym “LGBTQ” on June 1, as many around the world were celebrating the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month, which was officially recognized by many officials, including President Joe Biden.
In the thread, Pushaw posted erroneous definitions of what the letters in the acronym mean, in an attempt to exploit an existing – but small and rarely acknowledged – rift between some members of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities and transgender and queer or questioning individuals.
“LGB = people who are attracted to the same sex. T = gender identity. Q = literally anything… seems like mostly straight liberal women with masters degrees in zombie studies, in relationships with men, who want to score woke intersectionality points,” she tweeted.
Some gay men and lesbians – including political conservatives, radical feminists, and self-described liberals who oppose “political correctness” or “wokeness” – have shown they are susceptible to anti-LGBTQ messaging when it is cloaked in terms of distinguishing people of varying sexual orientations with so-called “gender ideology.”
Attacks on so-called “gender ideology” are based on several anti-LGBTQ tropes, including the idea that progress for trans individuals harms the larger society, and that people are susceptible being “recruited” into identifying as trans or queer simply by being in proximity to trans individuals. Some Republicans have eagerly embraced this framing in an effort to sow division among the broader LGBTQ community.
Pushaw followed up her incorrect definitions by questioning the sexuality of an out bisexual man. She posted an image of the September 2017 cover of The Advocate, which shows bisexual actor Nico Tortorella and his current spouse, Bethany Meyer, with the headline “Yes, this is a queer family.”
“It’s a man and a woman in a heterosexual relationship,” Pushaw said. “And the idea of same-sex attraction (what LGB people have historically fought to legitimize in the eyes of society) does not make sense in the woke ideology that denies the material reality of binary sex.”
Pushaw’s comments mark yet another attempt by her to provoke or anger people from the political Left and “virtue signal” to social conservatives. In her role as DeSantis’ press secretary, and outside of work, as a private citizen, she often uses her social media accounts to opine on social issues and lampoon social liberals.
In April, DeSantis signed the so-called “Parental Rights in Education” bill, dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, into law. The bill eliminates discussions of sexuality or gender expression in early education classrooms, and allows parents to sue teachers for failing to inform parents about any developments with their children, especially any information related to a student’s sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity. Pushaw would later spark outrage after she defended the bill and called those who oppose it “groomers.”
As expected, Pushaw’s Pride Month tweet achieved its aim, quickly sparking angry responses from liberals on social media. Florida State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) reposted screenshots of Pushaw’s statements and accused her of mocking the LGBTQ community.
“Here’s #Desantis’ official #Pride proclamation— sending his insufferable troll of a spokesperson out to mock and disparage LGBTQ people while spewing bile all over Twitter,” Smith tweeted.
Both Pushaw’s and Smith’s tweets prompted responses from the netizens.
The comments left under Pushaw’s posts had a mix of opinions. Some who agreed with her, including one commenter, who wrote: “They’re so messed up they’ve come back full circle to monogamous, heterosexual relationships like they’re something weird and new,” followed by a laughing emoji.
“The LGBs invited the Ts into their camp because the Ts had no place else to go,” tweeted another user, echoing past comments made by Pushaw herself. “But then the Ts invited their weird QIA+ friends over and they started to get a little too comfortable and think they own the place now.”
“Because ALL of them are mental illnesses. And by allowing the first group we paved the way for the others, tweeted a third. “Anyone who can’t see the slippery slope was real by now is lying to themselves. I know ya’ll wanna be nice and respectable, but its obvious now.”
Other people left comments attempting to teach her what the acronym is supposed to mean. Another person left a diagram explaining the difference between sexuality, gender, and identity – although it felt like it fell on deaf ears.
“They’re groups of people who banded together to deal with discrimination from shitbags like you and your party,” tweeted one liberal commenter. “Any other disingenuous questions you’d like to pretend to ask?”
Smith’s tweet also garnered responses, mostly from supporters and like-minded, pro-LGBTQ individuals.
“Chi…she is PRESSED!! If you don’t like us or want to be us…why are LGBTQ people consistently in her mouth and on her tweets,” questioned Michelle Rayner-Goolsby, an out LGBTQ lawmaker running for Congress.
“Notice how she sticks with saying ‘LGB’ are okay- as that’s also the mindset of the Log Cabin Republicans. Same concept divided the Mattachine Society between those that wanted visibility (i.e. obvious) and those that wanted to not stand out (i.e. blend in). History repeats,” tweeted one user.
“Their strategy mirrors that of the right wing nationally. Try to isolate trans & non-binary people to divide and conquer our community,” tweeted Pulse massacre survivor and LGBTQ activist Brandon Wolf.
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