The United States has a long and storied history of invoking the purity and safety of (cis, white) women and children in defense of terrible things. The racial/sexual purity of white women was used to justify the murder of Black men and boys including, 14-year old Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered for saying “Bye baby” to a white woman while leaving a Mississippi store.
Similarly, the safety of children has consistently and successfully been used to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people. So much so that The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the depiction of gay men as a sexual threat to children as possibly “the single most potent weapon for stoking public fears about homosexuality.” The first organized opposition to the gay rights movement began as a political campaign against a city anti-discrimination ordinance in Miami (sound familiar, North Carolina?). The group, led by celebrity singer and former Florida Citrus spokeswoman Anita Bryant, called itself “Save Our Children.” (more…)