The fight against Moms for Liberty is crucial to LGBTQ rights

Protesters stand in front of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.
Protesters at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. (Photo by Jason Villemez)

Moms for Liberty is coming to town. We at PGN, under the byline of Gary Day, have been reporting this for months. Why?

Moms for Liberty is a hate group that is trying to erase our entire community from schools and libraries. They are behind book banning and “Don’t Say Gay” laws in schools. Their actions affect all of us, especially those of you raising families in the suburbs. They don’t want your children exposed to people like you, parents like you. What does that say about your future rights? What does that mean for the growth of your children? Most importantly, what does Moms for Liberty’s discrimination mean for your child’s very safety if tolerance is not taught at their school or even accepted? 

Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center put Moms for Liberty on their list of hate groups. While PGN has been consistently reporting on them, the SPLC announcement alerted a lot more people who didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.

Now Moms for Liberty with their annual convention is heading to Philadelphia during Pride month. Think that’s a coincidence? They picked a time not only when LGBTQ people are out in force, but more importantly, the animus against them is at its peak. People angry against LGBTQ people are their prime targets for recruitment.

Moms for Liberty isn’t just planning to come into town quietly, either. They’ve made plans to demonstrate at the Free Library’s Pride celebrations, most of which are for young people to express who they are. Thank you, Free Library, for standing tall and not canceling any of your events.

There are two institutions who are receiving backlash for hosting Moms for Liberty while they’re in town, the Museum of the American Revolution, which is renting them space for a reception, and the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown hotel, which is hosting the entire program including, at present, Florida Gov. Ron Desantis and Donald Trump as speakers.

We should be angry at Moms for Liberty and those who enable them. Thus far, ACT UP and a core of dedicated activists have been outside both institutions demonstrating. 

As someone with a long history of disrupting institutions in order to create change, while I don’t have time to do a full history lesson here, I can humbly offer a few suggestions on how strategy might look. That depends on what you want to accomplish. 

Of the two venues, it was staff of the museum who alerted PGN of their anger. To the staff: thank you for reaching out! You are truly brave. You caused a dialogue at the Museum that will hopefully lead to better things. The museum has a long way to go, but rest assured that dialogue will cause change. 

That leaves the Marriott. They are hosting the entire convention. The management has been quiet about the whole thing. If I were still in my zap days, that would be the place I’d be looking to do it and the place where demonstrations would have the most impact. It’s the place where the most Moms for Liberty members will be gathering. More importantly, it’s the place where the national cameras and reporters will be. Getting on camera and getting media attention is important. The activism against Moms for Liberty needs to be about educating the world about what this organization is. That includes other cities they may try to have a convention in. That includes other people they may entreat to join their cause of erasing us from society. 

To the activists rallying against Moms for Liberty: If you believe in your cause as I did, think about how you will make your presence known and what may happen. Learn the mediascape and use it to your advantage. How do you do that? By knowing where the media will be. And they will definitely be at the hotel, since all the main events are happening there, and they will definitely be in the space where Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis will be speaking.

A mass protest must be reported by the media and should be considered, but it’s not always feasible. And remember: do not cause harm to anybody. Remain nonviolent. Groups like Moms for Liberty and groups like the Proud Boys want you to get angry to the point of violence. It plays right into their marketing. Do not give them what they want. Moms for Liberty would use images of violent protest and say “This is what we are saving our kids from.” They will take any excuse to villainize us. 

If you do participate in a mass protest, be prepared to be arrested and have a lawyer ready. The police will be prepared to keep control. That is their job.

Another important thing to do is rally as much support as possible. During the justified uproar regarding Ron Desantis appearing at The Union League, several community organizations joined forces so we were united with other impacted communities in our anger. The same thing needs to be done against Moms for Liberty. Their policies attack not just the LGBTQ community, but many other marginalized communities, too. All of those groups need to be brought in.

In the end, protesting groups like Moms for Liberty is about our visibility and what change comes out of it. Protests should showcase to the nation who Moms for Liberty are and how their hateful policies lead to violence against our community and harm to our children. It is this kind of hate that led to Pulse and Club Q shootings. 

As the saying goes “They will not have the pleasure of our silence again.” 

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