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It was back in March when Washington Post opinion columnist Paul Waldman gave his colleagues a heads up that the word “groomer” was working its way into the mainstream. “The idea of accusing anyone who supports treating gay people as full members of society of being pedophiles is SPREADING FAST on the right,” he tweeted. What seems to have tipped Waldman off was a piece in the American Conservative titled, “Disney Goes Groomer.” How dare people call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill the “Anti-Groomer Bill.”

There was actually a bit of debate within the conservative community on whether or not using the term “groomer” was productive or not. One thing is for sure: the word certainly hit a nerve.

It’s mid-May, and NPR has finally caught up, reporting that accusations of grooming “are the latest political attack” that has “gained new traction.” We had to check the date on the story to make sure this wasn’t a repost from April, but no, it’s new. And NPR is here to tell us that it’s a homophobic scare tactic used by the far-right.

Melissa Block reports:

Mallory McMorrow was stunned when she saw it.

With horror, the Michigan state senator, a Democrat, read an email accusing her of “grooming” children. The email was sent by a fellow senator, Republican Lana Theis, who was soliciting funds from her supporters for her reelection campaign.

In that email, Theis wrote that children are “under assault in our schools” by what she called “progressive mobs trying to steal our children’s innocence.”

And then it got personal.

“She accused me by name of grooming and wanting to sexualize kindergartners,” McMorrow tells NPR. “I mean, my heart absolutely sank.”

So being opposed to a ban on kindergarten teachers leading class discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity” is not wanting to sexualize kindergarteners? We’re confused.

It’s not marked as such.

This editor keeps this definition bookmarked for occasions just like this; it’s not homophobic:

So, NPR … at what age do you think children should be introduced to sexuality by their teachers? It’s not mentioned.

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