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May 21, 2024 10:07 AM UTC

Proponents of Anti-Trans Ballot Initiatives Falsely Claim ‘Furries’ Run Rampant in CO Public Schools, Biting and Scratching Other Students

  • 8 Comments
  • by: James O'Rourke

(Catshit crazy? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rumors of furry-identified students using litterboxes in public schools have been thoroughly debunked. But that has not stopped anti-LGBTQ activists in Colorado from repeating the claims in an attempt to stir up outrage.

“A lot of children now are identifying as a cat or dog or an animal,” said Rich Guggenheim, a member of the anti-LGBTQ coalition Protect Kids Colorado, in a May 8 interview on KLZ Radio’s Kim Monson Show. “And this is part of the furry movement. And so kids are going to school. And in some schools across the country, we’re hearing stories where kids are using litterboxes and doing their bathroom duties like they would if they’re a cat or a dog.”

Protect Kids Colorado is a group that formed earlier this year to push ballot initiatives that would take away rights from trans youths across Colorado.

Guggenheim, who also runs the Colorado chapter of the extremist anti-trans group Gays Against Groomers, effectively rehashed stale right-wing talking points from 2022. That year, Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl argued, without evidence, that “woke ideology” had allowed furries to disrupt schools across Colorado.

While some classrooms may stock small amounts of cat litter, it’s only intended for emergency use in case students or staff are trapped in a classroom due to a lockdown.

Throughout 2022, Ganahl and other prominent conservatives, including U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and podcaster Joe Rogan, promoted the litterbox hoax even as the schools in question denied it. It has served to advance the broader conservative culture war against LGBTQ inclusion in schools, with proponents generally positioning furries as the next stop on the slippery slope of tolerance for diverse identities.

When members of Protect Kids Colorado talk about furries, they explicitly mean it as an attack on the LGBTQ community. Speaking on the coalition’s Initiative #142, which would force schools to out trans-identified students to their families regardless of potential harm, Guggenheim touted that it would also impact the aforementioned “trans-species” students.

“[Initiative #142] is to require schools to notify parents if their child, has any kind of issues with gender incongruence,” Guggenheim said on air. “And that is, to say, basically, if a child comes out at school and says that they identify as non-binary or transgender or even trans-species, since that is now a thing. So any of those kinds of things would require the school to notify the parent.”

Guggenheim advanced the hoax to even more outrageous heights, claiming animal-identified students are biting and scratching their peers, with school officials passively accepting the violence for the sake of inclusivity.

“We’re hearing stories about other students in schools being attacked and bitten and scratched by these dogs – human children acting like dogs and cats. And the teachers aren’t doing anything about it. The school boards aren’t doing anything about it,” Guggenheim said. “Because, again, this goes back to what they believe is being inclusive.”

The Colorado Times Recorder reached out to Guggenheim via email in search of evidence for his claims. Guggenheim did not respond; this story will be updated with any response received.

Guggenheim is not the only member of the coalition to advance false claims that furries are a widespread issue in Colorado schools. Anti-trans activist Erin Lee warned furries were “very closely tied” to trans identity in an interview last year with the Daily Citizen, a media outlet run by the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family.

Lee

“The furry movement is real. People identifying as animals is very closely tied to the trans movement,” Lee said. She went on to characterize the bestselling children’s novel series “Warrior Cats,” which features clans of feral cats as the main characters, as well as general interest in anthropomorphic or furry art, as potential gateways into alleged transgender indoctrination.

“This ideology has absolutely infiltrated all schools,” Lee told the Daily Citizen.

According to Protect Kids Colorado’s website, the group has circulated petitions at multiple recent events, including a May 16 town hall meeting hosted by state Rep. Scott Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs). Bottoms promoted the litterbox hoax on the campaign trail in 2022.

Events from Protect Kids Colorado’s website. Screenshot taken May 15, 2024.

With the deadline to secure access to the November ballot coming up in August, Protect Kids Colorado’s volunteer petition effort will need to work hard to secure the necessary signatures for Initiative #142, as well as Initiative #160, intended to force trans students to play sports according to their sex assigned at birth.

In his interview, Guggenheim encouraged listeners to “Sign up to become a petition carrier. We have 90 days to collect 200,000 signatures. So really, as you said, all hands on deck.”

Comments

8 thoughts on “Proponents of Anti-Trans Ballot Initiatives Falsely Claim ‘Furries’ Run Rampant in CO Public Schools, Biting and Scratching Other Students

  1. Did they bother to check how stupid the whole furries canard made Heidi look ? Get some new material, or lies, or anything really.

  2. The furry allegations are all over Mesa County, one of reddest and most MAGA in the entire state. I was getting a pedicure last week and the talk was all about kids who think they're cats. The talkers all mentioned different schools, but all the schools they mentioned were in low-income, high-minority parts of town.

    None of them mentioned trans students. I suppose it's just a matter of time.

     

    1. I can say definitively, because I have a 4th grader in Mesa County, that there are “furries” in class. But it’s just kids pretending at things for fun, like they always have. It has been a bit disruptive at times so sometimes the teachers have banned costume ears and tails, but it’s entirely harmless.

      Honestly I think the interest is driven by how much they hear parents going on about it. And a little bit by the Warriorcats book series.

      1. It would be more shocking if you could not find any "furries" in school. Children of a certain age are developmentally predisposed to troll authority. In my child's high school, 6 years ago, hats were banned. One student wore a colander on their head for 3 years, insisting that he was a Pastafarian, and the headwear was religiously mandated by his religion, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I thought it was funny and I respected his commitment. At a few larger functions, I overheard several parents expressing their disapproval.  I had to wonder if any of them were ever teenagers. 

  3. I laughed when I first heard Heidi railing about the litter boxes. How thick could she be? I automatically assumed they had them for lockdowns. It made me sad that schools have to think that way these days. Then I got mad at people like her for deliberately misdirecting people about the reason for them, knowing that she’s one of the gunzos who make them necessary.

     

  4. All the activists scattered around the state, all the media covering the claims of "furries," all the concerned parents (and their kids with cell phones at school), and presumably a large number of conservative Republicans who are teachers and administrators of schools — and I have yet to see a picture or anyone's specific public testimony of a "furry."

    There is better evidence for UFOs and the Loch Ness monster.

  5. I am a petition coordinator.  This is a bi-partisan effort.  I have the petitions in front of me as I type.  Neither mentions furries at all. I suppose furries is a sensational topic that can be a distraction, but I've never heard this crowd mention furries at all.  I am center-right but voted for Biden in 2020.  There's plenty of Democrats circulating the petition too, as well as conservatives.  It's just common sense that female sports should not include male born people and that schools should not keep mental health information regarding gender from parents.  It's about protecting women's rights and safeguarding children – bi-partisan concerns.  If you are wondering about liberals supporting this effort, a good resource is the book The Reckoning by lefty Kara Dansky. 

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