Indiana's Mike Braun, other senators want TV warnings about LGBTQ+ characters, content

Posted at 12:16 AM, May 07, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five Republican senators want TV content warnings to include the “radical and sexual sensation” of children’s shows.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Mike Braun (R-IN) wrote a letter to the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board requesting its warning label system be updated to warn parents of “disturbing content," including LGBTQ+ characters.

From same-sex parents to transgender kids, seeing all kinds of characters on screen is critical for children, according to Jessica Dummar, the CEO of Utah Pride Center.

“Families exist, and one is not better than another," she said. “Some of those shows my children watch, and I know that they love seeing LGBTQ represented in children's shows. They're just so excited because I do have children that are in our community, and I want them to know that it's okay to love yourself, however yourself, and not any part of you is obscene."

The five Republican senators requested a meeting with the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, writing in a letter: “To the detriment of children, gender dysphoria has become sensationalized in the popular media and television with radical activists and entertainment companies. This radical and sexual sensation not only harms children, but also destabilizes and damages parental rights.”

Although the letter doesn’t cite any specific shows, it references a Disney executive saying she supports LGBTQ+ characters in stories and the company's stance against Florida’s parental rights law banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, commonly referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law.

“The idea that you connect to someone even if it's not someone within your home or not someone within your community television provides this huge space for someone to see someone like them," said Dummar.

Dummar said if these shows were to have warnings on them, parents might not let their kids watch them. They may never see themselves represented on screen, and especially in Utah, media can help people of all ages accept and understand their own identity.

“Mike Lee is one subset of Utah," she said. "There is a very large outpouring of love for our LGBTQ community here.”

FOX 13 News reached out to Mike Lee’s office to talk about the letter, but the senator declined to comment.