U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far-right Georgia Republican associated with QAnon conspiracy theories, has tweeted that “teaching racism and promoting sex, homosexuality, & normalizing transgender to children is mental/emotional child abuse.”
It isn’t quite clear how schools are “teaching racism” or “promoting sex,” although some are engaging in much-needed efforts to combat racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Greene made the comment while retweeting a video of an obviously traumatized young girl addressing the school board in an Indianapolis suburb.
“I have been in counseling as long as I can remember because I was adopted from foster care at age 4,” the girl says in the video, with her mother at her side. “The things I have learned along the way are being challenged now when my science or math teacher is trying to teach me how to be emotionally. And why are they teaching me about sexuality and how to identify?”
The student says discussions about sexuality should be private, either in the home or one-on-one between a student and a counselor. The girl, who is white, also addresses the idea of white privilege, questioning how she can be privileged given that she was born into an abusive home.
Greene takes the student’s speech as an indictment of critical race theory, currently being much debated, with conservatives advancing legislation to ban the teaching of the theory in public schools. There are various definitions of the term, but “the core idea is that racism is a social construct, and that it is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies,” according to a recent Education Week article. And it’s not clear how much K-12 educators are drawing on it, as “much scholarship on CRT is written in academic language or published in journals not easily accessible to K-12 teachers,” the article notes.
Greene also uses the opportunity to condemn LGBTQ-inclusive sexuality education and LGBTQ-inclusive curricula in general. This isn’t surprising, based on her record of homophobia and transphobia. She has denounced display of the Pride flag at U.S. embassies; claimed the Equality Act, an LGBTQ+ rights measure currently pending in Congress, would protect pedophiles, destroy women’s rights, and undermine “God’s creation”; and hung an anti-trans poster on her office door to troll Democratic colleague Marie Newman, who has a trans daughter.
Responses to Greene’s retweet of the video include several saying critical race theory isn’t being taught in K-12 schools, with others pointing out that every school teaches sex ed and one saying, “It’s sad that children in parts of today’s society have been brainwashed into fearing the truth about history and the LGBTQ community.” Some commenters expressed sympathy for the Indiana girl, who is apparently transferring to another school, but theorized that her mother wrote the speech for her.