State Watch

California state senator says anti-LGBT rhetoric responsible for bomb threat

Scott Wiener
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, speaks in support of proposed amendment to the state constitution that would protect the right to an abortion and contraceptives during a hearing on the measure in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, June 14, 2022. The bill was approved by two legislative committees. It must get a two-thirds vote in the state Assembly and Senate before June 30 to qualify for the November ballot. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

California state Sen. Scott Wiener (D) is blaming inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech spread by right-wing officials and media personalities for violence against the LGBTQ community that included a Tuesday bomb threat to his home.

A person using the name Zamina Tataro in an email sent early Tuesday to The San Francisco Standard said bombs had been placed inside Wiener’s San Francisco home and threatened to open fire on the state senator’s Capitol office.

“Scott Wiener will die today,” the email’s subject line read, according to The San Francisco Standard.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department told The Hill that officers were dispatched to Wiener’s residence just after 6 a.m. on Tuesday to investigate the threat. A search failed to yield evidence of an explosive device and the incident was determined to be meritless, the spokesperson said.

The emailed threat called Wiener a “pedophile” and a “groomer” and said that “we will f—— kill you,” Wiener, who is openly gay, said Tuesday in a statement.

High-profile GOP officials, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), have falsely accused Wiener and other LGBTQ leaders of “grooming” children for sexual exploitation by encouraging talk of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and backing policies that shield access to gender-affirming health care for transgender minors.

Wiener specifically called out both Greene and conservative podcast host Charlie Kirk in a statement.

In September, a bill introduced by Wiener to block states from criminally prosecuting the families of transgender youth that travel to California to obtain puberty blockers or hormones for their children was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). It will take effect Jan. 1.

Kirk late last month told his nearly 2 million Twitter followers that Wiener’s bill will protect parents who “kidnap their children and take them to California to receive mutilating surgeries,” echoing a right-wing claim that gender-affirming health care amounts to “mutilation.”

Gender-affirming surgery is not recommended for youth under 18, according to guidelines set by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the Endocrine Society.

“If there’s some horrifying idea related to modern gender and sex ideology, Wiener has probably written and passed a bill about it in California,” Kirk added.

Less than 24 hours later, Wiener said he received a threatening phone call that repeated claims made by Kirk.

On Tuesday, Wiener said homophobic and transphobic rhetoric has escalated on social media and right-wing media outlets, resulting in real-world violence against LGBTQ people. Also on Tuesday, Anderson Lee Aldrich, the suspect in a deadly shooting at Club Q — an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs — was formally charged with 305 counts, including hate crimes and murder.

Aldrich prior to the shooting had posted on extremist websites that target and threaten violence against LGBTQ people and racial minority groups.

“I will always fight for the LGBTQ community — and for the community as a whole — and will never let these threats stop that work,” Wiener said Tuesday.

Wiener was the subject of another bomb threat in June that prompted police officers with bomb-sniffing dogs to search his home for potential explosives. The threat claimed Wiener “will die today” and was reportedly full of sexual obscenities, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I receive lots of death threats & have for years,” Wiener tweeted following the incident. “They’re mostly about our civil rights work for LGBTQ people & people with HIV.”

Similar threats have been made against LGBTQ legislators, health care providers and children’s hospitals that provide gender-affirming medical care for transgender young people. 

Major medical organizations in October said attacks against children’s hospitals and pediatric transgender clinics are “rooted in an intentional campaign of disinformation” and called on the Justice Department to investigate recent threats of violence.

Tags California Charlie Kirk LGBTQ discrimination Scott Weiner Scott Wiener

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