Gays Against Groomers logo in front of black background (l) Ron DeSantis speaking in front of blurry crowd background (r)

The Old Major/Shutterstock Gays Against Groomers/Facebook (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Get f*cking rekt’: Ron DeSantis’ ‘extremely anti-gay’ Pride ad shattered his anti-trans coalition

The organization's founder is taking a lot of heat.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Jul 6, 2023   Updated on Jul 6, 2023, 10:50 am CDT

More than 22 members of an organization fighting gender-affirming care for minors and LGBTQ+ themes in school curriculum have quit in recent weeks.

The Gays Against Groomers exodus comes amid criticism of the organization’s founder, Jaimee Michell and allegations that she has ties to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Much of the public fallout began over the weekend, after presidential hopeful DeSantis released an ad on Friday attacking former President Donald Trump for his support for Pride Month and friendly relationship with Caitlyn Jenner.

The ad drew swift criticism from LGBTQ+ conservatives, including Gays Against Groomers’ board member David Leatherwood, who called the ad “a slap in the face.”

Days after the ad was released, Jenner publicly cut ties with Gays Against Groomers, alleging that Michell is on DeSantis’ payroll.

Jenner reiterated her claims that Michell works for DeSantis or a DeSantis-affiliated entity in a second tweet, writing that “it’s time for her to go.”

Another user explained that Mitchell not speaking out was proof she was in the tank for DeSantis.

“I am personally disappointed that @againstgrmrs said nothing about the DeSantis vid that so clearly demonstrated the core significance of their group: not to lump all LGB&T together ideologically. But, they were at Moms For Liberty while video published… and they stayed quiet,” one person responded to Jenner.

In response to Jenner’s public criticism and exit, Gays Against Groomers posted a thread attacking Jenner’s past support for minor-oriented LGBTQ+ organizations and puberty blockers.

“You are a fraud and the catalyst for the explosion of trans identifying youth and the erasure of women,” Michell wrote in a separate post. She also called Jenner’s attack “unprovoked” and “in a response to a tweet that mentioned neither of us.”

After Jenner’s falling out, Leatherwood soon followed suit, announcing on Wednesday that he was leaving his role.

“GAG is a great organization and I have nothing bad to say about the group or its leaders and wish them continued success,” Leatherwood said. “My decision to part ways is strictly professional, and on good terms with mutual understanding.”

However, after Jenner replied that the post was “not the draft you sent my team,” Leatherwood followed up to say his resignation was in response to DeSantis’ “extremely anti-gay” ad.

“While I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion, the homophobia coming from the DeSantis campaign is not something I want to be affiliated with in any way. Even by proxy thru GAG,” Leatherwood said.

Samantha Viscount, a former member, commended Leatherwood’s decision, adding that she left “because no upstanding leader dismisses and stomps out subordinate questions, ideas, and complaints – especially considering there were 10 of us with concerns, not just one salty one.”

Viscount noted that more than 22 members have left in the last two months and claimed that Michell “ruined the movement” by prioritizing “status and money over the mission of protecting children.”

According to Media Matters, some of the higher profile departures include its Director of Operations, Director of Chapters, and its New York Chapter leader.

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*First Published: Jul 6, 2023, 10:37 am CDT