A group of Republican senators want a new TV rating created so parents can block their children from watching shows with LGBTQ characters.
The five senators from North Dakota, Kansas, Utah, Indiana and Montana sent a letter Wednesday to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board asking for the new rating.
“In recent years, concerning topics of a sexual nature have become aggressively politicized and promoted in children’s programming, including irreversible and harmful experimental treatments for mental disorders like gender dysphoria,” the letter reads.
The two-page letter signed by Sens. Roger Marshall, Mike Lee, Mike Braun, Kevin Cramer and Steve Daines “strongly urged” the TV group’s chairman, Charles Rivkin, to update its guidelines to ensure parents are aware of the “disturbing” content.
The call for action comes just weeks after video posted to Twitter showed a Disney executive vowing increased inclusivity with more minorities and members of the LGBTQ community as regular characters in its content by the end of 2022 – with 50% or more coming from “underrepresented” groups.
The promise was part of Disney’s “Reimagine Tomorrow” campaign, according to the video posted on Twitter in late March. Karey Burke, president of Disney’s General Entertainment Content, said she supported featuring “many, many” LGBTQIA characters in its content moving forward.
Wednesday’s letter cited Burke’s video, calling her a “prominent executive” who made Disney’s intentions clear.
“To the detriment of children, gender dysphoria has become sensationalized in the popular media and television with radical activists and entertainment companies,” the letter stated. “This radical and sexual sensation not only harms children, but also destabilizes and damages parental rights.”
The letter also cited Disney’s ongoing opposition to a recently enacted state law – dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” measure – that bans sexual and gender identity education for students prior to fourth grade.
“Sexual orientation and gender identity instruction often entails a discussion concerning an individual’s pattern of emotional, romantic and sexual attraction,” the five GOP senators wrote. “Parents all over the country have rightfully expressed outrage over its inclusion in the classroom.”
The senators are seeking a reply to their request by May 18.
“In light of parents raising legitimate concerns on sexual orientation and gender identity content on their children’s TV shows, we expect the Board to fulfill its responsibility in updating the TV Parental Guidelines to reflect these concerns,” the letter continued.
A message seeking comment from the Washington-based TV watchdog was not immediately returned Thursday, but it’s reviewing the letter, the Kansas City Star reported.
Marshall’s office pointed to four shows when asked by the newspaper for specific examples of concern — including Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House” and “Danger Force,” as well as Netflix’s “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.”
Marshall’s office also cited a casting call from Pixar seeking a voice actor for a transgender character and public service announcements by Disney featuring a family with a transgender child, the newspaper reported.
The director of Equality Kansas, meanwhile, blasted the letter as an example of politicians trying to connect with voters in their home states at the expense of the LGBTQ community.
“We’ve seen enough of Kansas politicians beating up on trans kids and the LGBT community,” Tom Witt told the Kansas City Star. “We certainly don’t need Washington, D.C., senators joining in to use these kids as political punching bags.”