By Emily Mangiaracina
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is promoting an “LGBTQ+” chat service for ages 13-19 to discuss topics such as sex and gender transitions that is designed to be quickly hidden from parents.
Q Chat Space, shared on the CDC’s LGBT Youth Resources page, is advertised as a forum where teens can join “live-chat, professionally facilitated, online support groups” that the site’s Instagram page shows include “gender affirmation surgeries,” “sex and relationships,” “drag culture,” and “anti-trans legislation.”
The chat is backed by Planned Parenthood, the website’s “About” page reveals.
Despite the mature chat themes — or rather, because of their maturity and sensitivity among teens — the site appears designed for quick concealment from parents. It features an ever-present green ribbon bordering the bottom of the Q Chat webpage that reads, “Click/tap here for a quick escape,” and directs to a Google search engine.
The site also shares an option for “discreet” text message reminders, Breitbart noted. The site explains, “Discreet text reminders are private, they do not include ‘Q Chat Space’ or the name of the chat.” They only say, for example, “Reminder: You have an online discussion in about 1 hour.”
One study of the program, published by the National Library of Medicine, even praised the forum for its facilitation of secrecy.
The authors note that “often, youth who are not out to their parents may hesitate to engage with in-person and Internet-based LGBTQ resources for fear that their parents will find out … ”
“The platform’s chat-based nature likely helps youth avoid concerns about family members accidentally overhearing their conversations in the same way they might if they were talking to friends.”
One chat theme, “Finding Chosen Family,” underscores the forum’s emphasis on enabling separateness from parents. The idea of “choosing” a family other than one’s blood-relatives when one doesn’t feel accepted by them is a common theme among “queer” folks. WIRED featured five such “LGBTQ” people in a 2019 piece on how they “found their chosen family.”
Breitbart shared a revealing meme from the Q Chat Instagram page that highlights the potentially massive impact of such a forum. It portrays “learning about queerness” as a Trojan Horse for “realizing I’m queer.”
The Q Chat’s controversial topics are not limited to LGBTQ discussions. The site has also promoted astrology and according to Breitbart, had a “Queering Tarot” discussion, referring to the Tarot Cards “commonly used in occult practices.”
Breitbart reported in May that the Q Chat was promoted by the Arizona Department of Education.