UPDATE: [by Ed. Michael Bryan] Apparently, #JustMeanWadsack is following our coverage of her disgraceful behavior carefully. She denies having anything to do with harassment at Tucson’s beloved Bookman’s (she was probably auto-corrected to ‘bookmarks’) nor the church behind it. While I’m sure she is careful enough not to use her official email to foment her rabidly bigotted base, we might see about that…:
Send us ALL your emails for the last 3 months you’ve been in office, from BOTH your official account and any personal accounts, and we’ll consider whether to believe your denials!
I’m beginning to think that the QAnon Witch is really upset that drag queens are horning in on her look. Just an observation.
Arizona state senators agreed to have the state Department of Education come up with a list of books that cannot be used in public schools earlier this week. Arizona Senate votes to have state create list of banned books:
Monday’s 16-12 party-line vote came after Sen. Justine Wadsack, R-Tucson, the sponsor of SB 1700, said school libraries in Arizona have copies of “Beyond Magenta,’’ a book about transgender and nonbinary teens. What concerns her, she said, is there is “very explicit imagery of 6-year-old children giving oral sex.’’
Multiple reviews of the book do mention a description of a boy describing his own experiences at that age, with no references to actual images. And Wadsack acknowledged she has not actually seen the book.
Classic religious zealotry: let’s ban something I have never seen or read, but I heard about it on the “internets”!
“But I have seen others,’’ [Have you now? I want to see your reading list] she told Capitol Media Services. And she provided fairly explicit drawings of nudity and sex organs she said parents have forwarded to her as found in books in general circulation at schools.
Are you certain? Maybe these parents are into pornographic images and are projecting their own discomfort with their own sexual obsessions onto their children and schools. I mean, who goes around looking for this in books unless they are really into it?
Monday’s vote came over the objections of several Democrats.
Sen. Christine Marsh, D-Phoenix, a former teacher, said existing law already gives parents access to the titles of books that are being used in classes and in libraries. And she said some may be inappropriate for some children.
“However, there’s no room for banning books in the classroom simply because it upsets one group of people at the expense of so many others,’’ Marsh said.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent deciding a certain book is not right for her child. There is a colossal problem with a parent deciding that, therefore, no child should be able to read that book,”
story by @glorihuh https://t.co/niluhDaMPX
— Arizona Mirror (@ArizonaMirror) March 21, 2023
She said SB 1700 is set up so that any parent can ask the Department of Education to place a book on the “banned’’ list if he or she finds the books to be “lewd or sexual in nature, to promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or to groom children into normalizing pedophilia.’’
The law of unintended consequences at work: this is how to fight back against religious extremists, using their own fascist bill against them.
“Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide,” one Utah parent wrote to her school district concerning the inappropriate topics broached by the Bible. https://t.co/JX0wN66kWZ
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) March 23, 2023
There do not appear to be specific rules for that agency to determine what crosses the line. Instead, the legislation says the department will review each submission along with the parent’s basis for concluding it fits into one of those categories.
I know this is just an excuse to ban books about LGBTQ experiences but voting on a bill that would ban books that “promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns” is some next level ignorance from the AZ GOP, every book had pronouns you fucking goofies https://t.co/VPY6Dcbd5i
— AZ Right Wing Watch (@az_rww) March 21, 2023
“And if the department agrees with the parent’s findings, the department shall add the book to the list,’’ it says.
And it’s not just books. That list also can include anything made available to students in electronic or print format.
Marsh said creating such a list is just asking for trouble.
“Those will be the books the kids want to read,’’ she said.
True dat! Years ago I picked up the list of “most banned books” and made it a point to read every book on the list. This is how to resist fascist book banners. There are a number of banned book reading clubs, you should join one or get some friends together and form one of your own. The Ultimate List of Popular Banned Books You Should Read in 2023.
Sen. Anna Hernandez, D-Phoenix, said her concern extends to what the legislation decides is unacceptable. She cited the verbiage making off limits anything “to promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns.’’
“Gender fluidity is not a thing promoted,’’ Hernandez said.
“There are no brochures trying to sell it,’’ she continued. “Gender fluidity is a naturally occurring phenomenon some people experience.’’
In essence, Hernandez said, gender fluidity is simply “part of the human condition.’’
“You might as well include books that promote left-handedness or curly hair,’’ she said.
“They don’t come as consequences of promotion,’’ Hernandez said. “Gender fluidity will happen whether there are books mentioning it or not.’’
And she said that just because some lawmakers don’t understand it or have experienced it does not mean it should be legislated.
The QAnon Witch Wadsack criticized the Democratic foes of her bill.
[A]nd Wadsack said there’s no gray area here. [There never is for religious zealots.]
“You open the book and you look at the pictures and you can see very clearly when you have 6-year-old children giving oral sex that the book is explicit,’’ she said, a picture that, again, Wadsack acknowledged she has never seen.
Monday’s vote sends the measure to the House.
What has gotten less attention from the local media is the QAnon Witch’s support of the Christian Nationalist evangelical church, The Bridge Christian church in Tucson, organizing harassment of Tucson’s iconic bookstore, Bookman’s, for hosting drag queen story hour.
While this Bookman's location isn't in LD-17 neither is LD-17's Senator, @Wadsack4Arizona. The entire slate, @RJ4arizona, @CoryMcGarr, and Sen. Wadsack are cultivating anti-lgbtq animus.
They need to be on the record as to this threat to a Tucson area business. /end
— kenny jacobs 🌻 (@kennyjacobs) March 16, 2023
Fucking losers just realized Bookmans has been hosting drag reading events for years. Show up in support of Bookmans (which is dope btw) and the local drag community if you can. This hate has no place here.
— AZ Right Wing Watch (@az_rww) March 18, 2023
book ban bills and fascists shutting down reading hours. big week for literacy in arizona.
— AZ Right Wing Watch (@az_rww) March 21, 2023
Blake Morlock at the Tucson Sentinel writes, Wadsack’s bill that would imprison Az drag performers is worth fighting out loud (excerpt):
[S]tate Sen. Justine Wadsack (R-Tucson) says Li’l Miss Hot Mess belongs in prison.
Yup the drag performer whose day job is teaching public humanities at the University of Arizona (not in drag, mind you) should be doing up to a 10-year hitch in the joint for “sexualizing children.” Iron bars. Lights out. Orange scrubs. Eating only with her race, while trying not to get stabbed to death.
Senate Bill 1198, which passed the Arizona Senate on a 16-14 party-line vote, was meant to criminalize drag queen story hours.
See, the Republicans and the Proud Boys have put a bullseye on these story hours because it’s not OK to hate gays for getting married anymore. A vast majority of Americans firmly support a right to marriage. The rightwing had gone after gay marriage because it wasn’t OK to publicly hate African Americans anymore. The whole chanting about the Jews while carrying torches in the streets only went over well with a small segment of the population.
So the GOP has manufactured a ridiculous “trans panic.” Because there aren’t enough actual transgender people in the world to even pretend to point to them as the root cause of a potential downfall of all of Western Civilization™ (and many of the trans folks you know are passing so well that you don’t even know that they’re trans), the rightwingers are working to lump the purposefully flamboyant into their conspiracist fantasies about “grooming” children by pedophiles.
Someone needs to ask on a debate stage: Why is it such a vital part of right-wing politics to identify and criminalize human beings for being different? Don’t they have a strategy other than pointing fingers and blaming the “others” for everything?
Maybe Sen. Wadsack isn’t up on current events. In the United States of America, circa 2022, we don’t imprison people for being different and treating individuality as “child appropriate.”
It’s why we don’t imprison pro-lifers or politicians who believe the rich are overtaxed.
Wadsack says the bill is meant to prevent “the sexualization of children.”
For starters it’s sick, twisted and wrong to accuse entire groups of people of being guilty of pedophilia. That’s just evil. I don’t accuse Wadsack of being a Satanist because she wears those Morticia Adams bangs.
What is it about drag queens that in anyway suggests pedophilia? What? Are they going through seminary?
To say it’s “grooming” or sexualizing children is to believe that merely witnessing a drag queen read a story will turn kids gay, or make them more likely to be victims of abuse. Then again, the modern Right is freaked out about the frogs turning gay, so take it for what its worth.
Kids aren’t quite that impressionable, and sexual identities don’t stem from seeing art and culture. I can vouch that my favorite show as a kid was “M*A*S*H.” Corporal Max Klinger’s cross-dressing joke did not a thing to my sexual identity. My daughters’ generation didn’t turn LGBTQ because they saw “Mulan.” My grandparents weren’t suddenly “fabulous” because they saw the Honeybun scene in “South Pacific.”
Crime statistics make it pretty clear who’s sexually abusing children, and it ain’t drag queens, or any LGBTQ folks.
What’s disturbing here is the cadre of political people who are eager to use the specter of child sexual abuse to frame people who they’ve already worked to marginalize. The people actually sexualizing children are those who can’t stop thinking and talking about kids and sex.
Gov. Katie Hobbs has said she will veto bills if they aren’t bipartisan. So this one could get stopped at that particular drawn line. That’s hiding behind the issue. Even if it is bipartisan, it’s a horrible idea that violates Freedom 101.
SB 1698 is written to make performing in drag in front of minors a class 4 felony. Performing to anyone under 15 would subject a drag performer to prosecution of a dangerous crime against children. The sentence runs up to 10 years and forces them to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
You won’t find the word “drag” in the language of her proposed law, but Wadsack’s clear what she intends with it.
Wadsack’s bill is championed by her fellow members of the so-called “Freedom [sic] Caucus.” That a group calling itself the Freedom [sic] Caucus is anywhere near this legislation proves they are about as pro-freedom as vegans are pro-steak.
Freedom is the ability to live your life on your terms even if a majority disagrees with your decisions or how you identify. Wadsack clearly defines her freedom as the rest of us living under her thumb and doing what she says.
* * *
The other monstrous thing about this bill is its clear effort to conflate the people performing at story hours with “transgender” folks, ‘cuz I guess that’s bad. Drag queens come in all shapes, sizes and personal identities. Cisgender straight (yes, I typed it and still like football) dudes can perform drag. Very few trans people are jumping up on stage and performing as if they’re a different gender than the one they present as in their everyday lives.
But who cares if they happen to be transgender? We’ve got to get over this idea that somehow there are some people who aren’t popular enough to have their rights protected.
By the way, those who do identify as transgender are already taking enough grief from society that it threatens their very existence.
Two studies done in the last five years showed 40 percent of transgender teens have attempted suicide. Holy mother of God.
That would seem to be the public health emergency. Let’s stop that first and deal with the rest later. And if it helps those kids to see that people who don’t identify as “straight” are accepted in the community, then I say Hallelujah, praise the Lord. Let them let their queer flags fly.
This supposed “grooming”? The UA professor and member of our community who has done dozen of drag shows says that’s not the case at all.
“To suggest that goes against all evidence,” Li’ll Miss Hot Mess says (and we at TucsonSentinel.com are in agreement. Best. Drag Name. Ever). “What we’re able to do is show kids that who they are is OK.”
* * *
OK, so Wadsack is extreme and her bill is an abomination. The rest of us are accomplices if we buy into their us-versus-them garbage. Remember, you are very likely “them.”
The entirety of the right-wing culture war can be distilled to one sentence: “It’s our country, not theirs.” They mean it’s not yours unless you voted for Kari Lake in both the primary and the general election.
* * *
Know what is an archetypical form of heroism? Standing up for the people meant to feel isolated and alone and telling their tormentor “Ya ain’t touching them. They’re with us.”
Democrats need to get off their asses. Don’t just pivot to kitchen table issues. This is serious and dangerous because, again, it’s about threatening people with prison.
They should try the “married, straight, Christian, suburban mom” speech Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMurrow gave to help rally normal people to victory after victory in that state during the last election.
In the meantime, Wadsack may want to remember she won her election by just 3,000 votes. She’s acting like a safe-district nutbar while representing a 51-49 district in a 16-14 Senate. Wadsack could cost Republicans their control over that chamber.
Couldn’t happen to a meaner demagogue.
Sane people aren’t going to let strange people imprison drag queens. Period.
That’s how you “message” against this bill. Tell it like it is.
Column: New Tucson-area senator @Wadsack4Arizona has burst onto the scene at the state Capitol. Her ability to thrill conservative Republicans and deride Democrats may not lead to lasting success, though. A recall is already in the works.https://t.co/VYDMNHqXg9
— Tim Steller (@senyorreporter) March 22, 2023
Democrats had better be recruiting a strong candidate to run against this QAnon Witch, and start running now. There is simply no good excuse for someone like her serving in the state legislature (of course, I could say that about half of the state legislature), especially representing the very blue City of Tucson.
UPDATE: It’s on:
The Unapologetic Recall
Recall effort for Arizona Senator Justine Wadsack
We believe Justine Wadsack does not accurately represent her constituents. We have a series of events lined up and we need as many volunteers as possible to gather signatures of LD17 residents.
Please see our events page or if you would like to volunteer email: email@example.com or follow us on Twitter.
American Library Association reports record number of demands to censor library books and materials in 2022, https://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2023/03/record-book-bans-2022
The American Library Association (ALA) today released new data documenting* 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 challenges reported in 2021.
A record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.
Of the reported book challenges, 58% targeted books and materials in school libraries, classroom libraries or school curricula; 41% of book challenges targeted materials in public libraries.
The prevalent use of lists of books compiled by organized censorship groups contributed significantly to the skyrocketing number of challenges and the frequency with which each title was challenged. Of the overall number of books challenged, 90% were part of attempts to censor multiple titles. Of the books challenged, 40% were in cases involving 100 or more books
Prior to 2021, the vast majority of challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict access to a single book.
“A book challenge is a demand to remove a book from a library’s collection so that no one else can read it. Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing these challenges come from organized censorship groups that target local library board meetings to demand removal of a long list of books they share on social media,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “Their aim is to suppress the voices of those traditionally excluded from our nation’s conversations, such as people in the LGBTQIA+ community or people of color.
“Each attempt to ban a book by one of these groups represents a direct attack on every person’s constitutionally protected right to freely choose what books to read and what ideas to explore,” said Caldwell-Stone. “The choice of what to read must be left to the reader or, in the case of children, to parents. That choice does not belong to self-appointed book police.”
ALA will unveil its highly anticipated list of the top 10 most challenged books in the U.S. on Monday, April 24 during National Library Week, along with its full State of America’s Libraries Report. The theme of National Library Week 2023, There’s More to the Story, focuses on the essential services and programming that libraries offer through and beyond books.
Who on earth voted for this lunatic? Shame, shame, shame.
“I’m beginning to think that the QAnon Witch is really upset that drag queens are horning in on her look.”
On the other hand, young Bettie Page would be upset this miserable excuse of a human being is horning in on HER look.
Good catch. You are right.
Wadsack was a Log Cabin Republican in Tucson. WTF?
She makes up stuff and when asked to put up she says, literally, “I don’t owe you any proof” like a two year old.
She hates Jews.
She pushes COVID misinformation which kills people.
She lists getting her realtor license as an achievement. Um, okay, I have a contractors license in California.
It’s not a doctorate or anything but I did study for three days.
She lied about where she lived to get elected (between that and Tom Horne I’m a might bit worried about the Dem strategy in Arizona).
She hasn’t read the books she’s banning. I think you should be required to do a book report on the book detailing exactly what the book is about and why it’s not useful.
And yes, she’s a Qrackpot, she can lie about it all she wants, but if you use the WWG1WGA you’re a Qrackpot.
She’s the Arizona version of Boko Haram and I’m not sure if I should hate her for being a stupid bigot or worry about her mental health.
And FFS, guys, Betty Page is a cultural icon and symbol of women’s empowerment to many. I already had to scold AZ for the Nancy Sinatra thing, I will pull this car over if you guys keep it up! :-)
The lovely and talented Ms. Page being upset about her image being stolen is in no way a denigration. In fact, that would show her being quite a few stratospheres above the image thief.
Will that keep you from pulling the car over??? ;O)
:Laurie Roberts at The Republic writes, “The Arizona Senate’s book banning hysteria has gotten … hysterical”, https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/laurieroberts/2023/03/21/the-arizona-legislatures-book-banning-hysteria-has-gotten-out-of-hand/70035235007/
The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that presumably would allow a parent to request that any book containing the words “he” or “she” – or “his” or “hers” – be forever banned from Arizona’s public schools.
Senate Bill 1700 is part of the Republican-run Legislature’s ongoing hysteria over the LGBTQ community and our leaders’ weird paranoia that teachers and librarians are secretly plotting to sexualize our children.
Either that, or it’s just a crass bid to pad their reelection bona fides as fully engaged, armed-and-at-the-ready culture warriors.
SB 1700 comes to us courtesy of Sen. Justine Wadsack, R-Tucson, part of a new crop of far-right legislators who have come to the Capitol to cleanse our schools of anything that might offend her.
“I’m very proud of this bill,” Wadsack said during Monday’s debate on the bill.
It’s certainly a stunner.
The bill would require the Arizona Department of Education to create and maintain a list of banned books that cannot be used in public schools. Any time any parent complained, ADOE would have to mount a full investigation.
The book then would be banned if it was found to be “to be lewd or sexual in nature, to promote gender fluidity or gender pronouns or to groom children into normalizing pedophilia.”
But, as Arizona Mirror’s Jim Small pointed out, the bill doesn’t define “gender pronouns.”
Nor does it say anything about banning books with non-gender specific pronouns such as “they” or “them,” the ones often used by those in the transgender community.
Therefore, I’m assuming the goal of Wadsack and her fellow Republicans must be to ban any book containing gender-specific pronouns like “he” or “she.”
That’s a lot of books.
Of course, that’s not really their goal but that’s what the bill they just passed says.
And it’s not the first time Wadsack has overreached to the point of falling flat on her face. Earlier this year, in her rush to regulate drag queens, she actually got the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve a bill that would have criminalized parents who allow their kids to watch movies like Mulan.
Fortunately, she amended the bill after I pointed it out.
Her bill allowing a ban on books that use “gender pronouns” passed on a 16-12 party-line vote and now goes to the House (en route to Gov. Katie Hobbs’ well-used veto stamp).
This, after Wadsack waxed on about a book chronicling the experiences of transgender teens – one that she claims contains “very explicit imagery of 6-year-old children giving oral sex.”
“You open the book and you look at the pictures and you can see very clearly when you have 6-year-old children giving oral sex that the book is explicit,” she said.
It’s worth noting that Wadsack admits that she’s never actually seen the book with this “very explicit imagery.”
But then, she doesn’t apparently need to see it in order to create a sloppy state law that would allow parents to demand banning nearly every book that’s ever been written.
Never mind that Arizona law already prevents schools from using or referring students to any material that is sexually explicit.
Or that the law already allows parents to have their children excused from any assignment they deem inappropriate.
Never mind that the law already requires school boards to hold public hearings before approving textbooks and other materials used in classrooms.
Or that school districts must, by law, post on their websites a list of all books and materials purchased for school libraries for at least 60 days after the purchase.Never mind, even, that this poorly drafted bill could be used to ban most of the books ever written, though I imagine math books would still be safe.
There are culture wars to be waged and there is Wadsack, right on the front lines with her trusty matchbook.
“This bill,” she proclaimed, “gives parents the ability to have a say in what their children read.”
Actually, this gives parents the ability to have a say in what other people’s children read.
Or, possibly bar them from reading anything.