Let's Decipher What Matt Walsh And Michael Knowles Really Mean When They Say Vile Things About Trans People
Here we are again. Matt Walsh from the Daily Wire is saying grotesque, sick things about how it's a "fate worse than death" to have transgender kids. And Matt Walsh is a father of six, so we should keep in mind that he's not talking about some hypothetical unimaginable future tragedy where he was allowed to be a parent. This is after several weeks ago, when Walsh was being similarly disgusting and saying he would "rather be dead" than have a transgender child.
You know, because this is all about him. If he has a trans kid that's something that's happening to him, as opposed to being a story about the life of his child.
This is also happening as Walsh's vile Daily Wire stable-mate Michael Knowles is insisting that when he says he wants to eradicate "transgenderism" he isn't issuing some kind of Hitler-esque call to eradicate transgender people. Knowles and the Daily Wire are having insane temper tantrums about this.
But we want to put a fine point on what is happening here, with Walsh's statements and with Knowles's statements, the rhetorical games they're playing, because they're actually very familiar conservative Christian rhetorical games.
First, here is your gross sick video of gross sick Matt Walsh, where he says having trans kids is a "fate worse than death." The transcript is below:
Here's the transcript. We're going to bold a lot of it because there's a lot of it that's important in understanding this.
WALSH: The thing that makes it really personal for me is the way that kids are affected by it. I have six kids and, you know, they are -- we homeschool them and we do -- my oldest kids are nine, so it's still relatively easy to shield them from a lot of this craziness. But eventually they're going to end up in the world and they're going to be subjected to this. And I hear from parents all the time, just these horror stories of, you know, I raised my kid, I did everything right. I even homeschooled. I did, whatever. And then one day my daughter at 16 comes home and declares that she's a boy. And from that moment, it's just she is devoured by this cult almost overnight and becomes unrecognizable. She wants nothing to do with us anymore. I've heard the story so many times and it's terrifying. It's horrific. You know, it's -- I think as a parent, it's like a fate worse than death in a lot of ways. You're losing your child. It's like a death of a child while they're still alive and -- so that's what makes it, I suppose, personal for me.
Know how we talk about the real meaning behind all the conservative Christian libel about "groomers"? Know how we talk about how fundamentalist Christians are the most predatory groomers of them all, and not just because of how many pastors and youth group leaders are arrested for abusing kids?
Conservative Christians have been lying to themselves since time immemorial about a lot of things. When the focus was primarily on gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, they lied and convinced themselves that sexuality was a choice. They brainwashed themselves into believing that if they raised their kids in a certain way, if they homeschooled them, if they didn't expose them to secular culture, and so on, their kids wouldn't grow up to be gay. They hid from reality with spooky campfire stories about how kids had to be "recruited" into homosexuality, or "exposed" to it, or worse, sexually abused. They soothed themselves with lies that if their kids did say they were gay, they were merely being tempted by Satan, they were "struggling" with their sexuality," and they could change if they just loved Jesus enough. They could pray it away.
And here's where their rhetorical tricks came in. Conservative Christians didn't want to eliminate gay people. They simply wanted to impose their beliefs on them and force them to pray it away, or at least pretend they have prayed it away, to keep the conservative Christian lies intact. Love the sinner, hate the sin, eliminate the homosexuality, not the homosexual.
But all these millions of gay kids just keep coming out of conservative Christian homes, often with horror stories and scars to show for it. Sometimes worse. It turned out that when scientists and educators and gay people themselves explained for decades that sexuality wasn't a choice and that gay folks simply exist, regardless of how much fundamentalists homeschool their kids, they weren't lying. Kids didn't "become" that way because they were "exposed" to something. They weren't "groomed." They simply were and are. And conservatives had biiiiiig temper tantrums, like they always do when reality is slapping them in the face.
There is nothing new under the sun, gentle readers. Just replace "gay" with "trans" in the preceding paragraphs. Now that there is more of a public movement for trans folks to be understood and respected and allowed to live their damn lives in peace, the religious Right is applying the same playbook of lies to the trans issue that they did to the gay issue.
Before Matt Walsh launched into the tirade above, he talked about the "mutilation of truth," and denied the very idea that transgender people truly exist. (UPDATE:Just look at this tweet. He's even more explicit. "There is no such thing as a trans child.") Michael Knowles is playing cute with words, saying he wants to "eradicate transgenderism," not trans people, as if there is any difference out here in the real world. There is only a difference when you're trying to preserve the conservative Christian lies about what it means to be trans.
It is, to be clear, a meaningless distinction.
Conservative Christian mommies and daddies? Having gay kids is not about you, and you don't have a say in it, and having trans kids is not about you, and you don't have a say in it. We are not being unkind. We are saying grow the fuck up. Many of you have gay kids, and many of you have trans and non-binary kids. It's not about you. Nothing you can say or do can prevent you from having LGBTQ+ kids. Nothing.
The only thing you have a choice in — and indeed, it's your actual responsibility as parents — is whether your LGBTQ+ kids will grow up never questioning whether they're loved and supported, or if they'll fall into depression, addiction and/or risk of suicide stemming from the self-hatred that comes from familial rejection.
That's the part of this that's about you. That's it. Grow the fuck up.
Now, do society's messages make a difference? Sure as hell, they do. Because when an LGBTQ+ kid is enduring the hell of living in an unloving conservative Christian home, a stray message from the outside world that says they're OK might just be the thing that saves their life. It might be the thing that says there's a world out there for them if they can just steel themselves and survive until they have a chance to get out. It could even be seeing Sam Smith and Kim Petras at the Grammys and going "Oh wow, those people look like they're doing OK."
That interferes with the grooming of the kind of parent who would listen to Matt Walsh and think he's making sense. The kind of grooming that strives to turn kids into vicious little bigots like their parents and makes sure LGBTQ+ kids are groomed with enough religious fear and self-hatred that they'd never dream of coming out and living as their true selves.
In the sob story Matt Walsh tells, the main character is poor, put-upon, vile, hateful parents whose grooming has failed, in which case, they're not losing their child. They're losing the manufactured vision board child they've created in their own hateful image.
Their actual kid didn't go anywhere. They're right there, asking their parents to love them more than they love their fucked up, hateful and childish religious beliefs.
Grow the fuck up and love your kids.
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