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Why the moral panic over "grooming" is so effective at manipulating the right...


Why the moral panic over "grooming" is so effective at manipulating the right-wing mind

Story by Matthew Rozsa (Salon, 30 Jan 2023)

When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis began banning books from public schools throughout his state, he justified his actions by claiming that he was protecting children from dangerous material. At the top of this supposed list of concerns, DeSantis and his Republican supporters insisted they were stopping "groomers" and other pedophiles from targeting young people. Literature promoting LGBTQ rights and other liberal ideas are, according to these conservatives, surreptitiously indoctrinating children and making it easier for adults to molest them.

This, of course, is not true. And yet that DeSantis and his peers on the right have latched on to an outlandish conspiracy theory regarding grooming — one that links pedophilia to LGBTQ rights — speaks to the political power of this narrative, which is compelling and motivating to a huge number of voters.

It is also not a new narrative. Whether they know it or not, DeSantis and his ilk are using a tactic that existed for decades, one that can easily be explained using basic psychology. And as far as psychological tactics go, the pedophilia/groomer social panic is one that has been successful at manipulating voters for decades.

It doesn't just influence the right. Here in the UK, the left were just as strident in their opposition to the Gender Reform Act, repeatedly stating that there was "a need to protect women and children".

Allie Jayne:
That all LBGTQIA+, and particularly Transgender, is based on some sort of fetish, is the basis of all religious and conservative hate against our communities. It is the main reason for the breakup of trans affected families, workplaces, communities, and society in general. I believe it is the biggest single cause of Trans deaths around the world, and yet it goes unrecognised. It is fed by misinformation by churches and conservatives, casting doubt in all who listen, even tragically, too many trans people.

That in 2023, religions and conservatives still are able to link being trans with being a sex offender and being a paedophile, highlights how poor the public education has been about transgender. And it will continue while the general public does not have a clinical definition for Transgender. While there is doubt over exactly who we are, religions and conservatives will keep providing misinformation, and our community will remain under attack.




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