Rich Swier

A leader in the US right wing Tea Party movement has described the bullying of LGBT youth as “healthy peer pressure”.

Rich Swier, from the Tea Party Nation (TPN), which is part of the Tea Party movement, said in a message to members that the phenomenon of anti-gay bullying was a “sham” created by gay activists.

“This is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy, said Swier.

“There are many bad behaviours such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviours that cannot be condoned.

“Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behaviour that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it. In Sarasota County over 70% of all HIV/AIDS cases are due to male sex with males,” he wrote.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) slammed Swier’s comments as dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric.

“Bullying of any kind is unacceptable and can lead to very real and serious consequences,” said HRC’s Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz.

“For Rich Swier to publicly suggest that bullying is in fact normal and healthy is irresponsible. It’s alarming that any adult would classify behaviour that can cause youth very real physical and emotional harm as acceptable under any circumstances.”

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