The introduction of a trans teen on this week’s episode of Glee has the Fox News gang in a tizzy again, concerned that LGBT identities are “wild” and not part of “nice family” programming because they might encourage young viewers to experiment with these “alternative lifestyles.” In a discussion Bill O’Reilly hosted, Gretchen Carlson complained she might have to explain diversity to her 8-year-old:
CARLSON: Here we go again, pandering to .3% of the American population that considers themselves transgender. Now I get to explain this to my 8-year-old, if i want her to see a nice family show with some nice music.
O’Reilly then added that by including unique characters and controversies in the show, it encourages teens to “experiment” with “alternative lifestyles”:
O’REILLY: If children hear it, unsupervised children who don’t have parents watching, they might go out and experiment with this stuff… When I was a teenager and I saw James Dean smoking, it made me want to smoke…
CARLSON: I don’t think that watching Glee is going to suddenly make kids transgender, but experimentation… I wholeheartedly believe in today’s society that kids are experimenting with homosexuality. [...]
O’REILLY: A lot of these dopey kids are confused about who they are. They’re confused.
To her credit, Jeanine Pirro defended LGBT teens, saying “you can’t parent sexuality.” Watch it:
By trying to “protect” young people from understanding gender and sexual orientation, the Fox News crew is ensuring that those topics remain taboo and that people who identify as LGBT continue to be stigmatized. As Pirro pointed out, students who identify with Glee characters are empowered by that visibility, a positive message Carlson shouldn’t have to explain to her daughter.