Tucker Carlson’s big holiday treat for Fox Nation subscribers was a slew of fear-mongering and transphobic comments from Libs Of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik, who appeared for the first time on camera on Carlson’s Fox Nation show, and called the LGBTQ community a “cult” and pushed more bogus grooming claims about trans people.
Raichik’s comments came near the end of her hour-long interview on Carlson’s daytime program on the Fox News streaming platform. It follwed a discussion about the “intel” Raichik claimed to have gathered on the kind of gender-affirming care offered to trans kids at Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. That had happened back in August — around the same time Boston Children’s Hospital faced a deluge of threats following misleading info shared by Libs of TikTok and other right-wing outlets — with Raichik claiming her surreptitiously recorded calls with two telephone operators at Children’s National proved the facility was giving hysterectomies to trans teenagers.
Children’s National quickly and easily debunked the calls, first noting that the two people Raichik spoke with were not actually people who “deliver care to our patients.” Additionally, a hospital spokesperson said, “We do not and have never performed gender-affirming hysterectomies for anyone under the age of 18.”
Nevertheless, the calls got a ton of play in conservative media circles, and Carlson was still fawning over them during his new interview with Raichik. “I assume the person who said that is not like a serial killer, or not an evil person,” Carlson said of the phone operators Raichik recorded, “but that’s so evil. What is going on here, do you have any theories?”
In response, Raichik said, “The LGBTQ community has become this cult and it’s so captivating, and it pulls people in so strongly, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And they brainwash people to join and they convince them of all of these things, and it’s really, really hard to get out of it.”
The 2022 survey on LGBTQ youth mental health comes from The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and mental health organization.
In the three years since The Trevor Project started surveying LGBTQ youth, the percentage of respondents reporting symptoms of anxiety has increased. So has the percentage of youth who say they’ve considered suicide.
In addition to questions about mental health, the survey includes national data on the percentage of youth who report they have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender. The survey also has figures on the impact of COVID-19 on their families.
In the hour-long interview, Raichik and Carlson discussed her since-debunked claim that certain children’s hospitals were performing hysterectomies on trans teenagers.
Carlson asked Raichik if she had any “theories” about what was going on with “evil” people who offer affirming care to minors.
Raichik replied: “The LGBTQ community has become this cult and it’s so captivating, and it pulls people in so strongly, unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”
She went on to claim LGBTQ+ people “brainwash” others to “join” their movement and that it’s “really, really hard to get out of it”.
Raichik also referred to unnamed “studies” on parents who find they cannot stop their children from being trans or non-binary.
Nearly half of LGBTQ people in the Rochester area feel at risk of verbal or physical attacks, according to recently released survey data.
According to the data:
- 50% of LGBTQ people fear a verbal attack and 45% fear a physical attack
- 63% know of a specific instance of discrimination, and 50% have witnessed one themselves
- 50% believe discrimination against LGBTQ people is problem and 32% say it has worsened in the last few years; among non-LGBTQ people, 8% believe it is a problem and 16% believe it has worsened
"We know that words can turn deadly, as we saw with the horrific mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last month,” Karen Elam, the Levine Center's executive director, said in a statement. “We are continuing to find that the responses to our survey underscore the fear that members of minority groups in our community are feeling.”
- Daniel Davis Aston, 28
- Kelly Loving, 40
- Ashley Paugh, 35
- Derrick Rump, 38
- Raymond Green Vance, 22
LGBTQ spaces — such as queer bars, community centers and gay-owned businesses — have long had to prioritize safety, especially in places where they historically could not rely on police to keep them safe.
Now, an old problem has reached a new level of urgency, business owners, performers and community leaders say. After a year where anti-LGBTQ attacks have intensified across the country, many gay and trans communities are rethinking how to best protect themselves.
Several national organizations have launched new initiatives aimed at strengthening defenses; local businesses have stepped up safety trainings for staff; and individuals are seeking classes and resources for de-escalating attacks.
For LGBTQ business owners, safety is “the number one issue. Period. Hands down. By a mile,” said Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Safety efforts are complicated by the many forms these threats have taken, advocates, performers and researchers said. At school board meetings, protesters have accused teachers and officials of promoting a “gender ideology” and “grooming” children for abuse. Extremists have threatened children’s hospitals. Members of the Patriot Front, a white supremacist group, were arrested in June for plotting a riot at a Pride event. In statehouses across the country, lawmakers filed scores of bills aimed at curbing the rights of LGBTQ educators, youth and families.
In our recent analysis of the National Crime Victimization Survey, we found that the odds of being a violent hate crime victim for LGBTQ people was nine times greater than it was for cisgender and straight people from 2017 to 2019.
There were an average annual 6.6 violent hate crime victimizations per 1,000 LGBTQ people during this three year period.
In contrast, there were 0.6 violent hate crime victimizations per 1,000 cisgender and straight people.
Interestingly enough, the Indigenous LGBTQ community is pretty large and active. For generations, our communities included these individuals in our lives without issue. We’wha, the well-known “two-spirit” individual from Zuni Pueblo, is an excellent example of this. These are people in our communities since day one.
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC), StrongHearts Native Helpline (StrongHearts), and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKNWRC) explained this beautifully in their publication Reconnecting with Native Teachings and Creating Healing Spaces with and for 2S+/LGBTQ+ Victim-Survivors of Domestic Violence. “Because of colonization and the church/missions, older generations have forgotten the roles of 2-spirited relatives within our communities. So our way of supporting our LGBTQ relatives is reintroducing those teachings and roles that our grandparents may have forgotten.”
Mattee adds, “Even within tribal communities too, some are more accepting than others. How does that also look with community members? How do we address those issues? How do we reteach our people? Not hearing the word “f**got” or “queer”; or “they’re disgusting.” That’s growth. “Don’t be queer.” Stuff like that, that’s where the hate teaching that’s coming from. And it still happens to this day. Even transphobic jokes and homophobic jokes. We have always been part of this community, Not even as people like to say “two-spirit,” that idea of gender, that’s not our tradition. Physical gender wasn’t as important as the roles that a person played in the community.
The Bible is often used to condemn the LGBTQIA+ community. The specific verses used to further homophobic and transphobic agendas have come to be known as the “Clobber Verses.” However, these verses aren’t actually saying what many people think they are saying.
For example, when people condemn same-sex marriage in favor of “Biblical marriage,” they are ignoring the many and diverse examples of marriage that are found in the Bible. In actuality, the Bible endorses monogamous marriages between one male and one female in addition to polygamy, sexual slavery, incest, and forced marriage to virgins…and God even blesses all these varieties of marriage.
Another example is this: just because two genders are mentioned in the creation stories does not mean that only two genders exist. God created man and woman in Genesis 2, just like God created day and night in Genesis 1. However, the time of the day is not just two things; it’s actually a spectrum that includes things like dawn, midday, dusk and twilight. Similarly, gender is a spectrum that includes things like people who are trans and nonbinary.
Lost in translation
In modern translations of the Bible, Leviticus seems to condemn homosexual activity. However, the Hebrew words used to write scripture have much more nuanced meanings than can be conveyed in one quick, easy translation. When you look at these scriptures in their original linguistic and cultural contexts, you can see that Leviticus is specifically condemning sexual activity that involves incest.
In the same way, what we read in 1 Timothy seems to condemn homosexual activity. But when we go back to the scripture in its original Greek form, we can see that it is talking about sexual acts that are coercive in nature (specifically pederasty and rape) rather than sexual acts that occur between two consensual adults of the same gender.
In Romans, Paul is writing against unbridled passions as opposed to stable, appropriately utilized desires within committed relationships. In 1 Corinthians, he’s responding to the patriarchy and pederasty that existed in that society.
Of course, all of these examples are much more complicated than what can be explained in such a brief piece of writing, but the important thing to remember when reading the Bible is that we are reading a translation of what was originally written. Throughout time and through the process of translation, the meaning of the Bible as we know it today has lost much of what the original authors actually intended.
[. . .]
The Bible also tells us that all people are made in the image of God. This means that when you are looking at another individual, you are looking at a reflection of God…even if you are looking at an individual who is queer or trans.
You will never look upon a person who is not one of God’s beloveds. So the next time one of us feels like we have something hateful or hurtful to share with someone, I would like to encourage us to remember whose we are talking to.
LGBTQ Nation: And how about the DeVos/Prince clan itself?
IJ: When we say the DeVos family, we’re talking about the fusion of two billionaire families into one. Betsy DeVos was born Betsy Prince into the really wealthy Prince family. And then she married Richard DeVos. It’s actually a giant clan, a billionaire clan. And there is not a far-right organization, and in many cases designated hate groups, who exist without the largess of that family. Betsy DeVos, or Betsy Prince and her husband, Richard DeVos are the second generation in this billionaire kind of clan.
Richard DeVos’ father, for example, was extremely important to the founding of the Heritage Foundation. The Prince family, which is Betsy DeVos, helped to fund the headquarters of the Family Research Council, which is designated by the SPLC [Southern Poverty Law Center] as a hate group. And they’ve been involved in so many far-right organizations throughout the decades. And so what you have here in this second generation is kind of a sophistication of their operation and particularly in Betsy Prince, this kind of fusion of strategy, of money and a whole host of other things.
LGBTQ Nation: How does that manifest itself?
IJ: So this family is kind of the royal family of the Christian nationalist movement. And they set the example for how to move money throughout the right wing for all of the other really wealthy families. They participated in an annual gathering of Christian nationalist billionaires called The Gathering, in which Betsy DeVos is on tape coaching them in terms of how, as a wealthy person in this far-right movement, you move money to other things, and encouraging them to do so. There is religious extremism in their views, which is what’s driving a lot of this.
As well, all of the Trump administration’s anti-trans policies came out of the DeVos Center for Family and Religion that’s housed in the Heritage Foundation. People were moved from that center into the Trump administration where they began to disseminate these policies. I think that we have to keep in mind that Betsy DeVos is just the most visible person of this large, far-right billionaire clan that has been active for over 40 years.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the murder of Nagihan Akarsel, a Kurdish magazine editor and influential feminist advocate, who was gunned down outside her home in Iraqi Kurdistan on 4 October, becoming the fifth Kurdish person of Turkish origin or critic of the Turkish government to be attacked in this autonomous region in northern Iraq in the past year.
“We are appalled by the murder of this Kurdish feminist journalist and writer, perpetrated at a time when Kurdish women are leading a revolt for women's liberation,” RSF’s Middle East desk said. “This is the fifth attack – four of them fatal – on a resident of Turkish origin or outspoken critic of the Turkish government in Iraqi Kurdistan in less than a year. We call on the local authorities to do everything possible to shed light on this murder, bring those responsible to trial, and render justice to Nagihan Akarsel.”
A journalist and academic of Turkish origin, Akarsel was gunned down on the morning of Tuesday 4 October outside her home in Sulaymaniyah, the city in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan where she had lived for the past three years. After her body was taken to the city’s institute for forensic medicine, the Asayish – the Kurdistan Regional Government’s security forces – issued a statement in the evening reporting that her attacker had been arrested and was being investigated.
Akarsel co-edited Jineologî, a magazine dedicated to the “science of women,” which regards women’s individual liberation as a pre-condition for society’s liberation. She was also well known for her research on women, both abroad and in Kurdistan, and she had helped to found the Academy of Jineology in Iraqi Kurdistan. After studying journalism at the University of Ankara, she worked for the magazine Hevia Jin. She also did sociological research in the regions of Afrin and Sinjar (Shingal in Kurdish).
“We will forever remember Nagihan Akarsel, who has been working for decades to create the mental and intellectual power of the women’s revolution, whose slogan Jin-Jiyan-Azadî ["Women-Life-Freedom"] echoes around the world today,” the magazine Jineologî said in a statement. Referring to Mahsa Amini, the Kurdish woman who died in custody in Iran last month after being arrested by the morality police, the magazine added: “Against the same mentality of patriarchal fascism that brutally murdered Jîna Aminî, we are growing the women’s revolution in all of Kurdistan and beyond.”
Other Kurdish feminist groups, including Network Women Weaving (an international women’s solidarity network founded at the initiative of Kurdish women) and university academics have condemned Akarsel’s murder, accusing Turkey’s intelligence agencies of orchestrating it.
Akarsel is the fourth Kurdish dissident of Turkish origin to be murdered in Iraqi Kurdistan since September 2021.
The shooter of Nagihan Akarsel, a Kurdish feminist academic and founding member of the Sulaymaniyah-based Jineolojî Academy, was identified as Ankara-born İsmail Peker on 25 December, reported Mezopotamya News Agency.
Security forces in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) arrested several suspects on 7 October during the investigation into the killing of Akarsel, who was shot dead on 6 October. However, they did not make the identity of the suspected assailants public.
One week later, on 12 October, Voice of America (VOA) shared a video of a man who was said to be the Turkish assassin who killed Akarsel, then deleted the video shortly after it was uploaded.
Sources in Sulaymaniyah told Medya News of their own suspicions that the pressure came from officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Turkish embassy.
The same day, statements appeared by Ali Rıza Güney, Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq, who said that Turkish forces were behind the assassinations of activists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Member Zübeyir Aydar spoke to Stêrk TV on 25 December regarding the assassination and made public the identity of the hitman’s name as İsmail Peker, who was born in Turkey’s capital Ankara.
“This person [İsmail Peker] is already a criminal, he has already confessed himself. We have the information that he confessed,” said Aydar. “In his statement, the suspect says, ‘I came for this [to kill Akarsel], they [Turkey] gave me money’. In other words, they organised a plan and sent him there.”