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alt-lite bad science disinformation homophobia lying liars monkeypox

Marjorie Taylor Greene spreads the lie that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease, insinuating that gay “groomers” are giving it to kids

Blankets: possible monkeypox spreaders

Christian nationalist congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is spreading an insidious lie about monkeypox. On Saturday, she Tweeted this:

The clear implication: that gay “groomers” are giving the disease to children via sexual abuse.

Others on the right have started asking the same (misguided) question and reaching the same (wrong) conclusion.

The problem here, besides the obvious homophobia, is that the central premise of this question is false: Monkeypox is NOT a sexually transmitted disease.

Monkeypox is spread in several ways, as the CDC notes. One of them is direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected area. It can also can spread though “respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.”

It can also — shades of smallpox — be spread by “touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.”

In other words: It can spread through sex, which generally involves a lot of skin-to-skin contact. But contact DOES NOT have to be sexual to spread the disease. You can get it by hugging. And you can also get it from a blanket.

Right now, in the US, the disease has apparently spread the most in communities of men who have sex with men. We don’t know how prevalent the virus is among straight people because we’ve pretty much only been testing gay men. But it’s abundantly clear that it’s not a “gay disease,” or one always associated with sex.

Of course the people who like to accuse their political enemies of being “groomers” aren’t interested in the subtleties or, really, in the truth at all. And if tweets like Marjorie Taylor Greene’s are any indication, the already poisonous rhetoric is likely to get worse, especially after schools open and children start giving the disease to one another. It’s going to get really ugly, as some on Twitter are warning.

The only way to control monkeypox? By acknowledging it as the disease it is, and taking the proper precautions against it. Turning it into an excuse for anti-gay hate won’t save lives; it will only make life worse for gay men (and LGBTQ+ people more generally). With a lot of right-wingers, unfortunately, that’s the goal, not just a side effect. We need to call out their bullshit as the clear and present danger it is.

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masque d'étoiles
masque d'étoiles
25 days ago

It’s almost like these right-wing haters have never had a common cold in their lives, much less flu or chicken pox. They really haven’t wrapped their brains around how easily viral or bacterial infections can spread via ordinary social contact. It’s amazing how isolated they have managed to keep themselves.

Or maybe (just maybe!) they’re being disingenuous, because for them an easily transmissible disease is just another transparent excuse to demonize teh gays – not an opportunity to exercise personal responsibility over their own hygiene habits when around others.

Snowberry
Snowberry
25 days ago

Whenever something genuinely bad happens, their first thought is usually “how can we use this to bash people we don’t approve of?” Accuracy isn’t remotely necessary. Harming poor conservatives is an acceptable outcome, because they can just blame it on someone else.

It’s common these days to say that “cruelty is the point”. I no longer believe that. Cruelty is a tool. So are hatred, fear, victim reversal, contrived moral outrage, and illusory superiority. Power is the point.

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
25 days ago

Marjorie Taylor Greene lied? Must be a day ending in day.

Lizzie
Lizzie
25 days ago

Jorts (and Jean) @ jorts the cat have a good illustrative ‘cat pox’ example to explain transmission etc.

Full Metal Ox
25 days ago

I notice that guests at Rabbit Island Japan wear gloves to pet the rabbits, although I don’t know how recent the precaution is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWVVoo5tVDo

.45
.45
25 days ago

Ok, as a straight cis white guy I am about to put my foot in it here.

Even if one has managed to avoid all the news about Monkeypox and who appears to be the main spreaders right now, there is still a plague of Covid going around and I am the kind of person who is rather judgemental of those who are so much as going on vacation right now.

So… reading news articles about how polls are finding the average person rolling in with Monkeypox is a gay guy who has had multiple sexual partners in a month, candid stories from dudes who went to a Pride event and banged several random people there… I am just a bit lost here. Seems like regardless of who you are or what you want to do with whom, now is a really bad time for that sort of thing. Am I missing something here to suggest maybe it is a good time to pretend you’re a heterosexual who is lucky to get a date a month much less sleep with multiple people?

*Signed, Dude who literally threw most of his dating aspirations (and most other social activities) in the trash for the last two years over Covid*

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
25 days ago

@ .45

There’s this idea that pandemics end medically or socially.

That is to say either the disease is actually eradicated or, more often, people just stop caring. I think this is the latter.

But there’s some interesting articles about the phenomenon here.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/health/coronavirus-plague-pandemic-history.html

https://www.ft.com/content/4eabdc7a-f8e1-48d5-9592-05441493f652

https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068094

Robert Haynie
Robert Haynie
25 days ago

On behalf of the State of Georgia and all its residents, (being myself a citizen of said state) I humbly apologize for the existence of Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Full Metal Ox
25 days ago

@Robert Haynie:

I understand, believe me. I live in a state governed by people whose idea of Pwotecting the Childwen! is forcing them to give birth at grade-school age.

Elaine the witch
Elaine the witch
25 days ago

So let me get this straight. Little girl gets raped by her father and gets pregnant. That’s just god’s plan. We have to force her to pretty much die while giving birth. But little boy gets monkeypox from giving a hug to his adopted father or something. It’s time to burn the gays. Yeah okay

Sergio Giacchetti
Sergio Giacchetti
25 days ago

Well, if can be trasnmitted by sex, it means it IS a sexually transmitted disease. We can denunce the horrifying intellectual dishonesty, but we can’t fool ourselves

epitome of incomprehensibility

Uh, hello homophobes…even if monkeypox has mostly affected gay men so far, gay men can be related to kids – they could be their siblings, parents, siblings of parents, friends of parents, grandparents, etc.

It’s the old “everything queer people do is sexual” BS added to the pedophile accusations.

@ .45 – not to pick on you, I just wanted to answer this:

Am I missing something here to suggest maybe it is a good time to pretend you’re a heterosexual who is lucky to get a date a month much less sleep with multiple people?

Probably not, in the sense that

a) no one should have to pretend they’re straight if they’re not (sexual orientation doesn’t indicate number of sex partners (says the bi introvert, anyway))

b) it’ll help people track the disease if someone’s open about where they’ve been and what they’ve done

…on the other hand, touching multiple people in the first place, without seemingly taking precautions, doesn’t seem the safest bet right now. But IMO education is better than shaming.

About travel, it’s complicated. Personally, I wasn’t sure traveling from Canada to the UK last month was 100% ethical. I had COVID early May and since tested negative, so there wasn’t much likelihood of spreading that, but I didn’t feel completely comfortable using air travel in a climate crisis (if we only had more dirigeables! plus they look cool). I was a bit selfish: I did it anyway because I wanted to have a vacation and visit my partner. It’s not as if I’m going on planes all the time, but still.

Cyborgette
Cyborgette
25 days ago

@Elaine

They think pederasty isn’t actually pederasty if it’s hetero. I’m not even kidding – there are numerous Twitter screenshots of the same creeps lauding relationships between adult men and teenage girls (or adult women and teenage boys), and then calling people groomers for being openly gay.

@.45

I see people saying the same thing on Lex (a dating and general classifieds app for people who aren’t cis dudes). People keep planning big indoor events, looking for hookups, etc. even though we’re still in one pandemic and probably soon to be in another one. The resident disabled folks (including me) have been kvetching about this since pretty early in the COVID pandemic, to little avail.

Honestly though? Straight people are doing this shit too, and in larger numbers (just as a function of demographic size). The US mainstream right now is even worse about ignoring pandemic spread than we are; I at least see people on Lex demanding that their hookups be vaccinated and show a recent clean COVID test etc. So while I don’t think your concern is misplaced, I think your priorities might need some looking at.

Also? An outdoor Pride parade and a hookup with one person is a lot safer than an indoor tech bro convention. Just sayin’.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
25 days ago

Speaking as somebody who’s worked in healthcare for the last 30 years or so, my professional response is, “Goddammit, the last thing we need is more medical misinformation spreading around.”

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
25 days ago

@ sergio

Existence is a sexually transmitted disease. 🙂

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
24 days ago

Of course the people who like to accuse their political enemies of being “groomers” aren’t interested in the subtleties or, really, in the truth at all. And if tweets like Marjorie Taylor Greene’s are any indication, the already poisonous rhetoric is likely to get worse, especially after schools open and children start giving the disease to one another. It’s going to get really ugly, as some on Twitter are warning.

What I’m wondering is when are most non-Nazis going to wake up to the fact that we are in a war and they are the enemy, and start acting accordingly? How many more Pulse nightclubs, mosque shootings, synagogue shootings, shootings at grocery stores in Hispanic (El Paso) and Black (Buffalo) neighborhoods, with far right manifestoes; how many more Kyle Rittenhouses; how many more coup attempts; how many more overt declarations of war from the other side, even, will it take before we start thinking “this is a war”? They aren’t even being particularly coy about their plans and intentions, ferChrissake! This is a violent domestic insurgency bent on the overthrow of the current legal and constitutional order and the imposition of minority rule. Civil War II has already begun and the sooner enough people on our side realize it the sooner the enemy might start losing. Drag our feet too long, and they will win. It’s a mistake that’s been made before when such an insurgency has done the “frog in boiling water” thing of fairly gradual escalation. Think Weimar Republic 1923-1933. The non-Nazis then were so keen to avoid an overt, declared-by-both-sides civil war that they ended up losing it without firing a shot in self-defense. America today is, thus far, making the exact same mistakes. If 2021’s failed coup is the Beer Hall Putsch of this time around, we’ve already squandered the first year-and-a-half of the final ten years between that and Enabling Law II, aka “they win without us having fired a single shot”.

At a bare minimum there needs to be a large scale crackdown on far-right speech starting immediately. First Amendment, Schmirst Amendment. You won’t have one for very much longer if they win. Use the exceptions. Incitement to imminent lawless action, say. Stretch it a bit if you have to: someone could read one of these MTG tweets and be inspired to immediately pick up a gun and go hunting gay people, leftists, or whoever.

And the general rank-and-file need to shut this shit down. Boycott every business that endorses or donates to any Nazi (and if a Republican politician is not on the record as recognizing the legitimacy of Biden’s election, then they’re a Nazi; same if a judge has joined a majority opinion against abortion, contraception, or marriage equality). This includes any business caught advertising on Fox, OANN, NewsMax, Breitbart, or any other current or future far right propaganda outlet. Carry out a week-long general strike in any city where there is a summary execution of a person of color, where there is a mass shooting by the far right, or where a Rittenhouse-type vigilante becomes active. Business proprietors with a conscience should refuse to serve any Nazi, which would include any of the above politicians as well as anyone wearing Trump or QAnon gear, any known far-right pundit or “entertainer” (e.g. Fucker Carlson), and anyone known to be a Rittenhouse type. And march on Washington and grind it to a halt until Roe is reinstated, Trump is indicted, the filibuster is abolished, and Clarence Thomas’s corrupt dealings are being seriously investigated, with impeachment on the table. Remember that Nazi trucker thing in Canada last year? Steal a page from their playbook and do that to DC. Load for max weight. Park in inconvenient places for towing (odd angles, etc.). Turn the entire city into a parking lot until the government caves to popular demand.

Last edited 24 days ago by Surplus to Requirements
LouCPurr
LouCPurr
24 days ago

Well, if can be trasnmitted by sex, it means it IS a sexually transmitted disease. 

Then anything contagious is a sexually transmitted disease. Headlice, the flu, chicken pox…

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