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Remember when access journalist Maggie Haberman claimed Donald Trump would be a queer ally to the LGBT community? This wasn't quite Judith Miller level stupidity but it's starting to get there. The Trump administration has over the past two years proven overtly hostile to LGBT rights; they tried to bounce transgender soldiers from the armed forces and later attempted to completely "unperson" all trans people. Trump has never even acknowledged Pride month, unless you count his tweeting out support for a Supreme Court ruling in favor of a baker who refused to make a "gay" wedding cake.

Now, we learn the Trump administration doesn't even want LGBT kids in 4-H, the agriculture-oriented youth organization that teaches children responsibility and resiliency, the latter of which is especially useful if you're a LGBT kid in Trump's America. 4-H had published an inclusion guidance early this year that stated the group welcomed "all gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations and sexes."


Children feeling safe and wanted is vital to their development. LGBT kids can also face the torturous choice between living openly and losing their place in peer groups and extracurricular activities. These inclusion guidelines were "safety nets" for queer youth, so of course conservative Christian groups were quick to rebuke them. Can't have God's Unwanted Children using the bathrooms or locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

Former (I'll get to that in a bit) Iowa 4-H state director John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas said that the new set of rules led to heated debate from both sides of the issue.

Some people are calling to say "Thank you. Go. Thank you for doing this. We need this. This affected my life when I was in 4-H," Chaisson-Cárdenas said, "and then you have people saying, you know, 'The wrath of God will fall upon you.'"

Hmm, OK, so one side is all "this affects me on a deeply human level" and the other is "argle bargle, fire and brimstone!" Guess which "argument" was more compelling to the Trump administration? Within days of the policy's publication early this year, Heidi Green, chief of staff for US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, requested that it be rescinded. She no longer has this job because that was months ago and this is the Trump administration we're talking about. It's like the black plague over there.

Christian groups pressured 4-H leaders to remove the document, and a Christian law firm threatened to sue on likely dubious and discriminatory legal grounds. Some groups folded, but Chaisson-Cárdenas, the only statewide Latino director in 4-H's history, resisted. Chaisson-Cárdenas, who's dyslexic and a former Guatemalan refugee, had reason to believe in inclusion. He remained steadfast in his view that 4-H was for "all kids," from all backgrounds, and not simply the life experiences that narrow-minded people believed was "appropriate."

Some conservative 4-H volunteers, leaders, former members and overall crappy people described the inclusion policy as a "fascist push to redefine humanity" (these creeps always Princess Bride the word "fascist"). They also literally claimed that transgender children were "sinful" and "horrendous." If you feel this way about any child, you're the one who doesn't belong within a thousand feet of an organization dedicated to helping children "reach their fullest potential." Turning children into "little boxes made of ticky tacky" is not a noble goal.

Chaisson-Cárdenas received death threats from people I'm sure identify as "pro-life." He still pushed back.

"I guess I am not sure why we are valuing the propaganda machine of a recognized hate group over the existing rights of LGBTQ youth?" Chaisson-Cárdenas wrote in reference to WorldNetDaily, an alt-right online publication that extensively covered the dust-up in Iowa.

The pressure from Green and the Trump administration led to 4-H retracting the guidance. Josh Lawrence, vice president of Iowa State University's Extension and Outreach, which oversees Iowa's 4-H program, disciplined Chaisson-Cárdenas and questioned his judgment and professionalism. He was given the option to resign in May or "next steps would be taken." Chaisson-Cárdenas declined this generous offer and instead held firm in his belief that xenophobia is "pervasive within 4-H" and that an updated inclusion policy with specific protections for LGBT members was necessary. He was fired in August.

Weird, huh, that while the media was lamenting the aborted dinner plans of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Trump administration was continuing its work behind the scenes to make life miserable for LGBT Americans. It's why I have so little sympathy for people who themselves possess little sympathy. They deserve all the public shunning (not harassment, as Jennifer Rubin clarified, but shunning) they receive.

Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Seattle. However, he's more reliable for food and drink recommendations in Portland, where he spends a lot of time for theatre work. His co-adaptation of "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins runs from March through May at Pioneer Square's Cafe Nordo.

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The producers of your favorite live-action Jack Chick pamphlet, "God's Not Dead" -- you know, the one where the Hercules dude plays an evil philosophy professor who tells all of his students on the first day that they are no longer allowed to believe in god? As all secular professors do? -- have come out with a thrilling new movie, all about how abortion is bad or whatever.

The movie tells the "true" story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic worker turned professional anti-choicer. Johnson has been a darling of the forced birth circuit ever since she made up ridiculous and provably false reasons for quitting the Planned Parenthood that was about to fire her for being bad at her job.

Basically, she claims that Planned Parenthood was pushing her to make more abortions happen so they could reel in more dough, and also that she witnessed (for the first time ever!) an ultrasound-guided abortion and saw the baby move from the light and then immediately realized that what she was doing was wrong.

The thing is, however -- no ultrasound-guided abortions were performed on the day she said it happened, and the only reason there was an uptick in abortions at her clinic was because they started offering the abortion pill on a daily basis (and had previously only been performing surgical abortions every other Saturday).

As you may have guessed, the movie does not address any of these things. It also looks very, very bad.

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Ever since Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully underwent surgery for lung cancer, conservative sites and message boards have been trafficking in a ridiculous theory that she is actually dead and that there is some kind of Weekend at Bernie's-esque conspiracy to pretend she is still alive.

Now, one would think that her recent public appearance at a concert held in her honor would have put this to rest. Alas, it did not. Rather, the "researchers" (as they hilariously call themselves) determined that the concert was actually her funeral.

No. Really. That was a thing.

I admit that I gave this a lot more thought than I should have. Like, how did they think this would go? How long did they imagine this would go on for? Why would they risk having a full on funeral concert, open to the press? Wouldn't they just have not bothered to have a funeral at all? And what did these people think was going to happen when it was announced that she died for real? Or did they think that we were going to pretend that she is immortal and thus never announce her death? It's so confusing!

Being very up to date on the "RBG is secretly dead!" nonsense, I was very curious about which way the "anons" would go with this when they announced her return to work on Friday. They did not disappoint!

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