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‘We Treat Moms For Liberty Like The KKK’: How Anti-LGBTQ Groups Are Targetting School Boards in Florida

It is time these Moms stop.

Shutterstock / On The Run Photo

Moms For Liberty is a local Orange County, Florida group that is being compared to the KKK by young students in the area, committed to stopping them.

It all began when, at a school board meeting, the book Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe was officially banned from school districts. Gender Queer is a popular book that has recently been adopted by many parents of non-binary or queer children to learn best and approach their identity healthily.

However, this stunt to ban the book from school districts is front lined by Moms for Liberty – a far-right group enacting ‘extremist parental rights.’

The Good Guys

In retaliation, one mother of a nonbinary 12-year-old and another mother of two biracial children in the county joined forces to create the Florida Freedom to Read Project. Their goal is to stop the banning of books by Moms for Liberty, that have already banned over 1,000 pro- LGBTQ+ literature books from state schools.

The founders of the Florida Freedom to Read Project have since been harassed constantly by the Moms for Liberty.

Jen Cousins suffered a 10-month-long online harassment campaign by the Moms. This led to photos of Cousins being posted online without her permission, calling her a groomer and a pedophile for supporting the young LGBTQ+ community in her neighborhood – of which her child is a member.

I don’t know how they got access to my pictures, but they did. They psted them everywhere, constantly calling me a groomer and a paedophile. It jusst spiraled, it got pretty nasty.

Cousins, to VICE News

This is not the only instance. Heads of Schools have also received death-threat emails. A Chino Valley School Board member, Christina Gagnier, became another target of the attacks.

She shares,

I would get pretty vitriolic emails saying, ‘I hope you die’. I shared that I have an automimmune disorder during one of our board meetings, so people started saying, ‘I hope you die from your disease. I hope you get more sick.’

Gagnier, VICE News

Gagnier also reports she was followed home after school board meetings and claims someone even attempted to break into her and her husband’s home.

Gagnier eventually lost her re-election bid to be on the Chino Valley School District school board to a Moms for Liberty candidate in 2022.

The Moms for Liberty insist that their work is proud to work, and they are protecting the innocence of children by ensuring that they “let kids be kids”.

How did Moms For Liberty Form?

Moms for Liberty was initially founded in 2020 in Florida by Tina Descovich. Since the group was created, it now has over 115,000 members in multiple outreach groups around the United States of America. Some of Moms for Liberty’s biggest commitments is their banning of all books in state libraries that are pro-LGBTQ+. The campaign is called “Don’t Say Gay” – a bit of an ironic title there – and the bill has officially been signed in Florida to ban all books that mention the word ‘gay.’

They have also been very determined to get candidates that share their views on school boards and then fire superintendents or others that do not share their extremist view on banning all pro-LGBTQ+ content.

Now, with Moms infiltrating school boards and patterns of online harassment, many individuals have come together to put an end to the Moms.

Enough Is Enough

Local groups have gathered together to put an end to the extremist and far-right pro-Christian rhetoric in public schools.

Cousins, the founder of Florida Freedom to Read Project, shares that:

“I do think that they’re starting to feel the heat.”

Other groups joining the movement include Chattanooga-based Moms for Social Justice. This community formed after the election of Donal Trump as president and now currently holds over 3,000 active community members, all working to ensure that schools appropriately teach about racial, sexual, gender, and queer justice.

“Treat Moms for Liberty like the KKK”

Another group, Defense of Democracy, founded by Karen Svoboda and Leigh-Abby, also led a group of 2,000 people to counter the forces of Moms for Liberty.

Svoboda and Leigh-Abby share that they have received threats and online attacks and have been called groomers and pedophiles. Svodoba received an anonymous phone call claiming the caller would put her in a wood chipper.

We treat Moms for Liberty like the KKK. If you knew that a KKK meeting was happening in a church down the street from your house, everyone would be alarmed.

Svoboda, VICE News

Svoboda shares,

Success on the horizon

A success they have garnered so far is having three Pennsylvania lawmakers sign a letter criticizing the Mariott Hotel for hosting the second annual convention for Moms for Liberty!

There are a series of small successes that these caring parents are putting in to ensure that identity education, mental health education, and qualities of diversity are maintained within schools. However, they are all groups formed from volunteers.

Svoboda shares,

We have no budget, I can’t stress that enough. We have nothing. And we have been able to create this. We are grassroots.

Svoboda, VICE News

The amount of counter-action against the far-right and extremist groups has inspired people across the United States of America. It is important always to remember there are more good people than bad people in the world, and action to defeat the bad must be taken in solidarity.

In other news, read here on Virginia teachers being fired for using the wrong pronouns for their students.

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