A rally organized to out activism that encourages children to question their gender identity and sexual orientation has inspired fury.
Now, threats of a rage-filled counter-protest have rally organizers requesting law enforcement officers to attend their planned gathering on Dec. 3 at a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Local chapters of Moms for Liberty, Fathers for Freedom, and Gays Against Groomers wanted to come together to peacefully speak against "radicalized sexual curriculum, gender ideology, child grooming, parental alienation, and 'gender-affirming care,'" said Eulalia Jimenez, president of the Moms for Liberty Miami chapter.
The term "stochastic terrorism" refers to public demonization through so-called "hate speech," which some say can be used to incite violence against a person or group.
A flier for the Antifa response urges, "Assert your right to exist! Counter protest against far-right bigotry and stand with the LGBTQ+ community. Bring masks, signs, and rage. Stand against those who aim to erase your existence."
Jimenez isn't surprised. Antifa members often disrupt Moms for Liberty gatherings and shout down parents speaking at local school board meetings, she said.
The Protect the Children rally was planned at the beach because it's a place where people congregate, a "good spot to spread awareness, empower others, and create unity," Jimenez said.
She hopes the event will be about peace, unity, "empowering others and informing parents and citizens," she said. "We feel children should have the right to be children."
The rally isn't meant to be against other groups.
Hijacking LGBTAntifa's rhetoric harms the gay community, said Anthony Raimondi, a board member of Gays Against Groomers (GAG).
"As an organization, we want to protect the LGBT community in the sense that the community has been hijacked," Raimondi told The Epoch Times.
Years ago, gay people erroneously were assumed to be pedophiles, he said.
"We have come so far" in dispelling that assumption, he said. But in the current culture, as many gay people and others oppose efforts to block the sexualization of children, "it's almost like we've been set back," Raimondi said.
On social media, GAG founder Jaimee Michell has described her group as "a coalition of gays against the sexualization, indoctrination, and medicalization of children."
Michell also has posted on Twitter, "There is no such thing as a trans kid."
Jimenez understands the frustration. She's not just the local leader of the conservative group Moms for Liberty. She's also the mother of a gay daughter. So she values groups like Gays Against Groomers, she says, because they've "stood up and said, 'No! You're not going to use us.'"
Jimenez respects that they assert, "We choose [whom] to love, but we don't push anything on the kids."
She also has compassion for those participating in Antifa activities. Many, she said, are kids who are just being used.
"Many of them don't even understand what is really going on," Jimenez said. "They're just so desperate for love and attention, and they're going about it the wrong way.
"Others," she continued, "are just plain—in my opinion—evil and they do not care who they hurt and what they have to do to get what they want."
Antifa has the right to assemble, says Florida Fathers for Freedom organizer Elon Gerberg. He's not worried about the group's so-called "counter-protest," calling it nothing more than a "distraction."
The Protect the Children rally is "about coming together to bring attention to this attack on our children," Gerberg told The Epoch Times. "In my opinion, they are our most precious commodities and our future leaders. If we can't stand up for them, who can you stand up for?"
Before it was signed into law, the five-page legislation was debated around the country and was reviled by its opponents, who misleadingly referred to the measure as the "Don't Say Gay Bill."
Despite what opponents said, the bill doesn't prohibit teachers or students from discussing a child's questions about sexual orientation or gender identity, and it doesn't keep them from talking about LGBT loved ones in class.
The legislation does prohibit teachers from initiating conversations about gender ideology and LGBT topics with children in third grade and younger. It also does not allow schools to keep secrets from parents, such as plans to help children transition to living out an alternative gender identity.
When DeSantis signed the legislation that took effect on July 1, he said it protected children from "indoctrination."
DeSantis, the father of three young children, blasted "leftist politicians, corporate media outlets, and some of these activist groups" during a press conference to discuss the legislation.
"For example, they support sexualizing kids in kindergarten," DeSantis said. "They support injecting woke gender ideology into second-grade classrooms. They support enabling schools to 'transition students' to a 'different gender' without the knowledge of the parent, much less with the parent's consent."
At a news conference in Jacksonville on Nov. 30, the governor broached the subject again, responding to a reporter's question about the "Don't Say Gay Bill."
He railed against the media in his response, saying, "We don't play their game. We fight back against it. We told the truth to people."
The media, he said, "were trying to smear the Legislature, all this other stuff. But you know what? The people here—they saw the facts, and they responded, and they supported us."
Spiritual WarSome progressives argue that young children should be exposed to topics involving sexual orientation and gender identity early, to build tolerance and to help them discover the way to live that will make them most happy and true to who they really were meant to be.
Jimenez rejects that. Efforts to indoctrinate children into believing progressive policies as truth is part of a " spiritual war," she said. And children are being "attacked" because of their innocence, she added.
"I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face. The kids hold an enormous amount of love and light. They're very easy to sway, because they are about loving and unity."
Some groups aim to use children and "corrupt their minds" by "confusing them," she said.
"They're the future. That's why they're targeted. That's why it's so important that people come together and push back and stand firm on not allowing this.
"But it is a war right now. It is a war."