Bigot Coalition Targeting Equality Act With Tactics They've Been Using Since At Least 1977
Yesterday, the House passed the Equality Act, which would guarantee to LGBTQ+ citizens the civil rights protections that most people assume they already have. It would make it so they cannot be fired from their job or discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. It now moves to the Senate, where either 60 senators have to get on board or they have to get rid of the damn filibuster, already.
Naturally, the response to this from the Right has been measured and reasonable. By which we mean "completely off the goddamned rails."
Because conservatives have started to understand that gay people aren't going anywhere, and that they have lost that particular front of the culture war for good, their focus has been primarily on nonsense like "religious freedom" and their apparent belief that if they don't get to discriminate against transgender people, everyone is going to want to be trans whether they actually are or not. They are also very focused on athletics. For some reason — perhaps because they watched Ladybugs one too many times — the Right likes to pretend that if they allow women who were assigned male at birth to play women's sports, all the men will decide to become transgender to play women's sports, and women assigned female at birth will never be able to compete in sports again.
For their part, the Log Cabin Republicans have a wonderfully interesting theory that if bigots aren't allowed to discriminate against transgender people, then gay, lesbian and bisexual people will no longer exist.
Gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of society would effectively become an 'extinct species' under this bill. That's because it would enshrine the gender identity agenda that is counter to gay rights.
For decades, we gays preached to the world that we were 'born this way,' and that being gay, lesbian, or bisexual 'is not a choice.'
We did not challenge nature or the science of our biology, nor millennia of human history's distinctions and separations of the two sexes.
Now, that's turned on its head. For the gender-identity and trans-obsessed crowd, how you were born can now be 'changed,' and everything regarding sex and gender is simply a 'choice.'
If being gay means being a man who has same-sex attraction to another man, the Equality Act would make this definition completely defunct. What is now a 'man'? Whoever claims to be.
Do they think the existence of trans people is brand new? Or that it is a choice? Because it's not. It's not like people wake up one morning and go "You know, I think I'd like to try out a new gender!" because they're whimsical. The choice isn't in being a man or a woman or non-binary, the choice is in expressing that publicly when you've assigned something else at birth.
Other groups have decided to go with the "Save the Children" route, and even created a special new coalition of the bigoted to cry out about how not being able to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people will harm "the children." Anti-LGBTQ groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Policy Alliance, and the Heritage Foundation have combined forces into a new supergroup called "Promise to America's Children." Notably, this promise is not that those children have healthcare, shelter, food or clean water, but that they will be protected from finding out LGBTQ+ people exist. There is even a special pledge for lawmakers to sign!
We, the undersigned, are concerned that American children are increasingly targeted for adults' sexual messages, images, and themes, and this is happening at younger ages. They are exposed to explicit, sexual content not just by cultural forces, including social media and entertainment, but also by government-sponsored initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels. International and domestic activists infuse public school curriculum with graphic information about sex, abortion, and politicized ideas about sexual orientation and gender identity ideology.
They should be thrilled to know, then, that nowhere in the Equality Act is it suggested that elementary school children be required to watch a certain number of hours of hardcore pornography a semester or to personally witness a live abortion.
In 2019, the House of Representatives also passed the Equality Act that could pave the way for similar curriculum in every state and overriding efforts by concerned parents and community members at the local level. In addition, the Equality Act and similar policies will penalize Americans (including parents) who disagree with the new ideologies. This will endanger children's health, privacy and safety, and relationships with those who have the primary responsibility to love, provide for, educate and raise them.
Love the way they've turned "wanting to discriminate against people" into harmlessly "disagreeing." It seems unlikely that if these people felt they were victims of discrimination, that they would respect the discriminators' beliefs as a mere "disagreement." (Oh wait, it's more than "unlikely." It was literally House Republicans' stated reason for opposing the Equality Act, that allowing LGBTQ+ people to live free from discrimination is a literal assault on their "religious freedom.")
The "Won't someone please think of the children?" tack is nothing new, as an NBC News article on the formation of the coalition notes:
Bethany Moreton, a history professor at Dartmouth College, said the guise of protecting children when promoting conservative ideology is not uncommon. She cited Anita Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign in the late 1970s that worked to overturn gay nondiscrimination ordinances in Miami by referencing how such measures would harm local children. Over the past 20 years, the religious right has repeatedly lost political battles when it comes to LGBTQ issues, so this new pledge is continuing in the "Save Our Children" vein in an effort to appeal to a broad base, according to Moreton.
"Their sort of arsenal of acceptable arguments have shrunk, and one of them is doubling down on child vulnerability," Moreton said.
And that is the story of how no one drank orange juice for an entire year (Bryant was the spokesperson for Florida orange juice). One of the main ways people fought for the "right" to discriminate against gay people was by suggesting that they were all child molesters out to recruit your children. And now they're doing that to trans people (while also still doing it to gay people).
The number of kids who identify as LGBT, especially trans and bisexual, has absolutely skyrocketed. If you think th… https://t.co/e2ifIYmpYN— Matt Walsh (@Matt Walsh)1614190362.0
"It is one thing to stop discrimination of a class of people, but it's another thing to completely violate and destroy the rights of girls and women in order to achieve this." Greene said.
In her argument that equality for a group of people would take away equality for others, Greene also claimed that this legislation would make sports unfair.
"Biological women cannot compete against biological men. Biological little girls, cannot compete against biological little boys and they shouldn't have to," she said.
There actually is not much difference in the athletic ability of prepubescent children. If she cared to notice, practically all children's sports teams are co-ed, or at least they were when I was a kid. I was actually one of the best hitters on my Little League team and probably would have been fine at the rest of it if I cared/did not keep trying to bring a book with me into right field.
GOP Senator Rand Paul was happy to attempt to use the same tactic in Dr. Rachel Levine's confirmation hearing to be an assistant health secretary in the Biden administration, because Dr. Levine is a transgender woman. Paul said he does not approve of "talking to a 3-year-old about changing their sex," which is great because gender affirmation surgeries are not really an option for toddlers. Levine handled it and his other absurd questions gracefully, but she shouldn't have had to.
These people want to take humanity's best instincts — like wanting to protect children, fair-mindedness, support for people to practice their religions — and use them to achieve their own shitty agenda. In this respect, they are no different from the Satanic Panic people or Q supporters. Of course, they don't mention that their agenda would, in fact, hurt LGBTQ+ children and the cisgender heterosexual children who will someday grow out of their parents' bigotry and have to deal with the shame of having ever felt that way.
But, unfortunately, it works. And it's the reason why, unfortunately, the Equality Bill probably will not get the ten Republican votes it needs to pass in the Senate. (If only there was a way to get rid of that 60-vote threshold! HMMMMMMMM.)
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse