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Moms For 'Liberty' Blameless In Library And School Bomb Threats Made By Anti-Trans Extremists, OK?
Other anti-trans extremists, that is. No connection!
The Yolo County, California, chapter of “Moms for Liberty” — the charming pro-censorship astroturf group that seeks to save the US America by burning it to the ground — was especially busy in Davis, California, this year. The Yolo Moms held multiple meetings at the public library on the threat posed by “gender ideology,” the need to cleanse library shelves of smut that mentions the existence of LGBTQ+ people (not censorship, but simply “curating” library collections, they said), and generally protecting America from anyone who isn’t a White Christian Nationalist.
On August 20, at another Moms for Liberty event at the Mary L. Stephens branch of the library, a speaker named Sophia Lorey began a speech on the supposed threat posed to girls in school sports by trans girls and women, in which she called trans women “men” and then “biological men,” and claimed that because of these terrible people, 10-year-old girls can no longer live the dream of competing in school sports anymore.
A library employee interrupted, telling Lorey that under California’s nondiscrimination law, misgendering trans people isn’t allowed, and that if she continued, she’d have to leave. (That’s not really the law, however; it’s aimed at addressing employment and other types of discrimination, but is not a speech code, because First Amendment.)
Lorey, a member of a rightwing Christian group called California Family Council, kept saying “biological men” — to the protests of many in the audience, who weren’t all Moms for Liberty supporters — prompting the library worker to shut down the event. Video of the abrupt end of the meeting went viral on social media, spread by many of the big national names in trans-hating. And then the emailed bomb threats started coming, the first one against the library the day after the interrupted speech, and then others in August and September, against the library branch, and also several Davis schools. Gotta protect children from “gender ideology” by putting their schools and libraries into lockdown.
Police don’t have a suspect, and believe the emails were sent by someone or several someones hiding their identity and location by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and other computer gizmos, a pretty common tactic. The threats are being investigated by the Davis PD and the Yolo County Sheriff’s office; once the threats began multiplying, the FBI began working with local law enforcement, too. The Davis Police Department, in a September 25 Facebook statement, was careful to point out that while there is “currently no evidence pointing to any involvement between local members [of Moms for Liberty] and the threats, the correlation between the two cannot be ignored as part of the overall criminal investigations.”
As the SPLC points out, there’s not much doubt about how the curtailed library meeting got national attention; anti-trans hater Chaya Raichik, who runs the Libs of Tiktok Xitter account, pushed the story the day after the cancellation (links are to archived images of the tweets, no clicks for her), and then on September 19, piled on with a photo of a classroom window at a high school in Davis where the teacher had put up the California flag (with a rainbow at the bottom), along with Pride and Black Lives Matter flags and a handmade sign promoting the school’s Queer Student Union. Raichik didn’t name the school, but wrote, “I’m told this teacher is also the advisor to the ‘Queer Student Union’” and urged readers, “Homeschool your kids,” presumably so they’ll never see rainbows, Black lives, or other corrupting influences.
You will no doubt be knocked over with a feather by the news that the very next day, an email claimed bombs had been placed at several schools in Davis, as well as at the homes of two school district employees.
As ever, Raichik and other prominent transphobes who whipped up the panic didn’t call for anyone to threaten schools or libraries. That’s how stochastic terrorism works: Get the inflammatory claims out on social media, and the threats will come. Just like in that Kevin Costner baseball movie, except the ghost baseball heroes burn down the cornfield.
Why yes, there’s a bit more: Anoosh Jorjorian, director of Yolo Rainbow Families, a group that supports LGBTQ+ teens and their families, shared with SPLC public Facebook conversations in which Beth Young Bourne, the chair of Moms for Liberty of Yolo County, “claims to be in direct contact with Raichik and that she feeds her information about Davis that later surfaces on Libs of TikTok.” And according to Jorjorian, there’s a pretty sad reason for Bourne’s anti-trans activism:
Jorjorian says that Bourne’s child came out as non-binary in recent years, which [Jorjorian] knows through her own work with LGBTQ+ youth. She said Bourne struggled to accept her child’s identity and became increasingly active on Facebook, spreading anti-trans propaganda. A member of the Davis transgender community corroborated this account by text but asked to remain nameless.
SPLC also said that Bourne’s public Facebook posts confirmed that was the case, and in an October 10 statement for a local LGBTQ+ advocacy group, her kiddo, now a college student, wrote
“The young people around you are afraid. […] They are tired and sad and traumatized, and yet, their lives must keep going on. They have dreams and goals and aspirations and we as a community must create space for them to flourish in spite of bigotry and ignorance.”
If Beth Bourne had asked us, we’d have recommended family counseling instead of joining a hate group, but of course we would, because virtually all the mainstream medical and psychological professional organizations support trans youth. It’s either best practice or a cabal or something.
Bourne’s Facebook page — we won’t link — is full of anti-trans messages, attacks on Davis schools for accepting LGBTQ+ students, and complaints of victimization like this one from last week:
Society is stabbing us sane “transphobes” in the back. Our anguish is intolerable.
We, who hang onto reality, are now the persecuted. We lose our families and friends. The deluded majority have fallen into a rabbit hole of ideological fantasies. Mostly they are ignorant. It takes effort to care.
Bourne’s brand of caring has been disruptive enough that on October 4, the Davis Joint Unified School District filed for a temporary restraining order against her, which cited “workplace violence” as the cause. The Davis Enterprise says the district didn’t go into detail, but that “Davis High school employees have reported being targeted with threats and harassment after being named on Bourne's publicly accessible Facebook page.” A hearing in the case has been set for November 8.
Bourne and her allies seem unlikely to recreate Davis in their image, considering Yolo County’s heavily Democratic voting base, but she sure is good at creating havoc on social media, and she seems to have a pipeline to one of the top spreaders of trans panic in the country. If only the majority of Americans would come to their senses and despise trans people the way they should.
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