Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) told the House Oversight and Reform Committee Wednesday that the terms “groomer” and “pedophile” are harmful to individuals because of “their gender identity (and) their sexual orientation.”
Her shocking statement, which quickly went viral, was made at an anti-LGBT violence hearing. Porter told the committee that the term “pedophile” brands people as criminals merely because of their orientation.
She further declared that the phrase “groomer” is a “lie” meant to label the LGBT community as a “threat.” The representative said her concerns were not just over online speech, but “what happens online translates into real harm in people’s lives.”
Porter was joined by Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Kelley Robinson. The witness answered a question of whether Twitter allowed people to be called “groomers” by saying it doesn’t — but the ban is not enforced.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) says that the terms "groomer and pedophile allege that a person is criminal somehow merely because of their sexual orientation and gender identity" and laments that Twitter allowed groomer "to reach 72 million users." pic.twitter.com/hi6tuAPm4F
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 14, 2022
Robinson added her voice to the chorus by saying that terms such as “groomers and pedophiles” target people who are “mothers and fathers…it is dangerous.”
She told the congressional committee that such words are intended to “dehumanize” the individual and community.
The panel heard from survivors of the Club Q mass shooting as well as LGBT activists. One, Olivia Hunt, testified that “there is a straight line” from laws targeting trans people “to (this) increasingly hostile…rhetoric.”
One person present at the Colorado Springs attack, James Slaugh, blamed the “root” of the incident on “hate rhetoric from politicians, religious leaders, and media outlets.” He declared that “hate starts with speech.”
Another witness said that parents have no right to know if their children as young as 12 are going through a gender transition. She said her non-profit uses that age for consent to transition kids.
That a witness would express such a policy to a congressional hearing says much about how far the nation has fallen.
Recently, Twitter CEO Elon Musk declared he was making changes to the social media platform to better protect children from online predators. For that, he is now demonized as a far-right extremist.
The day has come when it is considered “dangerous” to label a person who preys on children as a “pedophile.” And this speech did not originate on a social media platform but rather in the halls of Congress by a duly sworn elected official.