The World Forum - April 24th, 2024

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Call Them Groomers


By the left's theory of performative speech, teaching radical sexual theories to kids constitutes grooming.

ver the last five years, the left has lobbed an endless barrage of epithets at roughly half the country. They don’t only label staunch opponents of the progressive agenda “extremists,” “racists,” “fascists,” “homophobes,” and “misogynists“—they apply those same smears to anyone with even small misgivings about the cultural aims of the far left. There is rich irony, then, in progressives’ outrage over conservatives’ recent use of the term “groomers” to refer to those teaching pre-pubescent children about sex in the public schools.

Ever since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law forbidding age-inappropriate instruction on sexual subjects, leftists, LGBT activists, and their media advocates have been in a state of sustained hysteria over this common-sense legislation. The reader should understand: For the bill’s supporters in the Florida legislature, the problem wasn’t that teachers were providing kids with basic information about human reproduction. It was that teachers were openly advocating a radical sexual agenda in the classrooms—one that positions LGBT identity as an inherent moral good, encourages masturbation and porn use to maintain health and “wellness,” teaches that biological sex is meaningless, and claims that sex and gender identity are functions of individual “feelings” and sensibilities.

The leftist educators who pushthis content pretend to be giving a honest, politically neutral account of the realities of sexual identity. But countless videos depicting teachers both in and out of the classroom indicate that this is not the case. These adults are painting traditional sexual ethics as a form of intolerance and closed-mindedness, and propagating a radical vision of culture and sexual autonomy under the guise of love, intelligence, inclusion, sophistication, and health.

Enacting laws that protect parents’ rights to decide which sexual ethic their children will be taught, what information they will have access to, and when, seems like a no-brainer to most people. Thus, many were perplexed by the left’s tantrum at such a moderate policy.

Given these radicals’ tenacityin fighting for the “right” to talk to other people’s young children about sex, many on the right have taken to referring to them as “groomers.” A “groomer” is an adult who tries to prime a child to participate in sexual activity, almost always with the understanding that this grooming (and the sex that often follows) will be concealed from the child’s parents and other caregivers. Indeed, a number of teachers and schools are on the record explicitly stating they will withhold information that children share with them from parents, and that they encourage children to keep secrets from their parents.

That sounds a lot like grooming. But it isn’t only the left that is scandalized by use of the label “groomers.” The usual suspects in the “conservative” commentariat (Bill Kristol, David French, etc.) are busy chiding people on the right for their grievous hyperbole, which really doesn’t contribute to civil discourse in any meaningful way, and thus distracts “us” from the “real issues” (which presumably include tax breaks, pushing a war with Russia, and worrying about “domestic extremists”). Most of these people dismiss the accuracy of the “groomer” label on definitional grounds: “Grooming” is a way to initiate sexual contact with children, they say, and these teachers don’t have sexual contact with the kids they are grooming teaching.

Leave aside that this is provably false; followers of the news see regular stories where teachers have engaged in illegal sexual activities with their students. But even if Bill Kristol was right that there’s (usually) no sexual contact involved, does that necessarily mean no grooming occurred? The answer is no—and not just according to some puritanical, hyperbolic definition that circulates on the right-wing. The left regularly relies on theories of speech and harm that would—if consistently and objectively applied—clearly show the accuracy of the right’s charges of grooming.