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White House staffer says her gay teen son was ‘ashamed’ she worked for bigot-in-chief Donald Trump

Josh Milton March 10, 2022
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Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as ex-president Donald Trump speaks to the media

Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham listens as ex-president Donald Trump speaks to the media. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Former White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said her 14-year-old gay son is ashamed of her because she once worked for former Republican president Donald Trump.

Appearing as a guest co-host on The View Tuesday (8 March), Grisham discussed the passing of the deeply dehumanising and damaging Parental Rights in Education bill by the GOP-dominated Florida legislature.

The legislation, dubbed by critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, has fielded intense and international opposition from president Joe Biden, lawmakers, students, religious leaders and activists for banning the discussion of LGBT+ identities in schools.

Moderator Whoopi Goldberg was among the bill’s sharpest critics, with the panel suggesting that Trump’s turbulent and bolshy administration paved the way for such hate-filled laws.

After all, Trump pushed for the courts to legalise discrimination against LGBT+ people, banned trans people from serving in the military, denied trans people access to emergency shelters and healthcare, supported banning trans athletes from school sports, and much, much more.

Co-host Sunny Hostin said that Trump “started to say the quiet part out loud”, giving way to a post-Trump era where hundreds of anti-LGBT+ bills have been proposed by state legislatures.

For Stephanie Grisham, best known for being a press secretary who never held a single televised briefing with reports, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is “personal” to her. She even thanked panellists for bringing up her “former boss”, who she has publicly scorned since leaving the White House.

“I have a 14-year-old son who is gay, recently came out as gay,” Stephanie Grisham explained, “I have his permission to talk about this, by the way.

“He didn’t want to tell his friends where I worked. He was ashamed of where I worked, rightfully so.”

The 45-year-old author added that the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill will make young LGBT+ people “feel different” by silencing classrooms, giving them one less safe space to be in.

And the panel agreed. “So is this bill shaming kids from being who they are and punishing teachers who actually want to help them?” Goldberg said. “I mean, I’m not sure what the point of this is.”

Panellist Sara Haines said the law will force educators to “betray” countless LGBT+ young people, prevented from exploring and expressing their identities at school. Among them would be her gay brother, who “started to feel different at about five or six”.

“If he asked a question, he could have been in a situation where he turned to a teacher that had to betray him,” Haines said. “I think this is going in the wrong direction.”

The “cruel” bill, Hostin added, has a simple purpose: “It’s to shame family. It’s to shame children.”

The proposal would ban “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”.

It also encourages school staff to out queer students to their parents or guardians, insisting that caregivers must be informed of any information about a “student’s mental, emotional or physical well-being”, including their sexuality or gender identity.

And after a marathon six-hour debate, the legislature passed the chilling bill on Tuesday in a 22 to 17 vote. Two Republican state senators joined Democrats in voting against the bill.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who has risen up the Republican ranks and is slated to be a potential presidential candidate, is expected to sign the bill into law even as advocates beg him not to.

In a statement last month, Biden said: “I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community – especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill – to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are.

“I have your back, and my administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

More: Donald Trump, White House

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