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Moral Panic/Divisive Topics

Statement Author:
Ginney Norton

The GLO Center stands in solidarity and support of students, educators, and community members across the country who voice their opposition to new state laws regarding divisive topics and restricting bodily autonomy. This proposed legislation will negatively impact marginalized groups, specifically harming individuals and communities based on gender, sexuality, and race.

After unprecedented global protests for racial justice that followed the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, extremist groups have instigated and intensified well-funded, coordinated disinformation campaigns against critical race theory, intersectionality, and other forms of racial and gender justice discourse. Starting with the Equity Gag Order banning federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from conducting trainings and programs that address systemic racism and sexism, this campaign has now morphed into a full scale strategy against racial and gender justice itself in state legislation and local politics (Truth Be Told Campaign, 2022).

Across the country, moral panic over what and how we learn about history has led to teachers being fired, courses canceled, books banned, and further decimation of public school funding. According to Freedom for All America, in the 2022 school year there are currently 170 anti-LGBTQ+ sets of legislation, with at least 69 of them centered on school policies (NCSS, 2022). The state of Missouri has entertained more than 25 pieces of legislation of this kind in the 2022 legislative session. These pieces of legislation target gender, sexuality, and race simultaneously and have a far reaching impact on students and educators across the country. If enacted, it will take generations to recover from the loss of knowledge and advocacy.

Additionally, moral panic surrounding bodily autonomy is being challenged. In Missouri, several trigger laws are in place that will be enacted if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Anti-abortion policies are three times as likely to impact black child-bearers as white child-bearers. Trigger laws in place will also greatly affect LGBTQ+ folks in rationalizing and revoking bodily autonomy
through banning trans athletes and revoking gender affirming healthcare. Additional resources that support bodily autonomy such as IVF and Plan B will be targeted.

Community stakeholders should not be silent on these issues, nor should they fear building inclusive environments that serve everyone. We stand with students, families, and our fellow educators who have the right to live authentically. As such, the GLO Center supports the following recommendations (NCTE, 2022) on how to pursue anti racist and anti-homophobic discourses include:

  • Identify and challenge individual and/or systemic acts of racism and other forms of discrimination and bigotry;
  • Express declarations of solidarity with people of diverse human, cultural, and racial backgrounds to eradicate all forms of racism, bias, and prejudice;
  • Promote not only cultural diversity, but also explicitly advocate for antiracism and anti-homophobia by participating in ongoing awareness and reconciliatory action to productively counter racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry.
  • Advocate for legislative reform that will lead to policies that provide sanctions against discrimination in education based on race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, class, mental and physical abilities, nationality, and migrant, immigrant, and refugee status.

Upcoming Events

June Banned Book Club Meeting

What: Join GLO in our first monthly book club, where we will be reading a series of books that have been or could be banned, followed by a discussion on the books, novels, and writings. June Book: TBD
When: Sunday, June 11, 1pm – 2:30pm
Where: The GLO Center

PRIDE 2023 – We Are Family

What: PRIDE 2023 – We Are Family in Downtown, Springfield! 
When: Saturday, June 10 – Parade 11am-noon, performances/vendors noon-6pm
Where: Downtown, Springfield


What: After Pride! Featuring Crystal Methyd! $25 online pre-sale, $30 at the door, $60 VIP meet and greet with Crsystal + VIP Entrance
When: Saturday, June 10 – Doors open at 6pm. Music from 6-9pm. Drag at 9pm. Dance party after! 
Where: Odyssey Lounge at The Outland Complex