Won’t somebody please think of the queerest children?

It’s a phrase that was made popular by The Simpsons. When the town of Springfield had a debate over whether or not to allow prohibition, it was Helen Lovejoy who said, “won’t somebody please think of the children?”

It’s also a phrase or at least sentiment, that too often is utilized in the midst of anti-queer moral panics. “Won’t someone think of the children” is the rallying cry that gets used to justify book bans and drives protests against drag queen story hours.

People claim that they want to protect children when they justify keeping trans youth away from gender affirming medical care like puberty blockers or hormone therapy. But actual research has shown that access to gender affirming care is the best means to guarantee the health and safety of transgender youth.

I have even seen people go so far as to claim to be against sex education in general due to the misguided belief that sex education harms kids, when in fact the evidence points to age appropriate sex education being one of the better means of preventing child sexual abuse.

Not to mention that groups that promote homophobia and transphobia often wind up being the ones most likely to have serious sexual abuse scandals.

The Boy Scouts of America for example was notorious for expelling LGBTQ members for decades. It also experienced a serious sexual abuse scandal that nearly bankrupted the organization over accusations that the BSA had helped cover up thousands of sexual abuse cases across the country.

While the Boy Scouts of America eliminated it’s ban on LGBTQ youth members in 2013 and in 2015, overturned it’s ban on LGBTQ leaders, it spent the decades prior expelling any members it found to be queer.

The root of the Boy Scouts anti-LGBTQ policies lay in a simple decision made by a Mankato police officer back in 1978, when Lowell Creel expelled two members of the Blue Earth County Police Explorer Post for being gay. The incident led to the Boy Scouts of America to issue a statement addressing the matter and explicitly stating that they endorsed Creel’s actions.

According to the Mankato Free Press, quoting Russ Bifkin who was at the time, the BSA director of public relations, the BSA said, “we support the action taken by the post adviser (Creel) as a prerogative of the organization to accept or reject members.”

To get back to the original point, pushing homophobia and transphobia does not protect youth. In fact, doing so often places youth and children in greater danger.

LGBTQ youth are at elevated risk of suicide, being targeted by bullies, and homelessness, relative to their cisgender heterosexual peers. Policies based on homophobia and transphobia only exacerbate the problems faced by LGBTQ youth, while failing to protect cisgender heterosexual youth.

LGBTQ youth are also at risk of being abused by their own family members or being subjected to conversion therapy if they wind up being outed against their will. This means that LGBTQ youth are more likely to run away, leading to LGBTQ youth being more likely to be homeless.

Once living on the street homeless queer youth are more likely to be sexually exploited or trafficked, serious issues that are ironically and incorrectly blamed on the LGBTQ community.

If one really wants to “think of the children” then one must think of all of the children, queer and straight alike.

Flickr photo

Write to Jeremy Redlien at

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