Anti-trans bigot demonstrates that bullies are cowards… (duh!)

Click to embiggen. (I have found this image on dozens of articles and blog posts about trans issues, but never with an art credit. If you know who made this, please let me know so I can at least credit them!)

Click to embiggen. (I have found this image on dozens of articles and blog posts about trans issues, but never with an art credit. If you know who made this, please let me know so I can at least credit them!)

So, professional bigot Travis Weber (spokesperson for the Family Research Council) was on Chris Matthews’ show on MSNBC last week to speak in favor of the North Carolina law that makes it a crime for trans people to use a public bathroom that doesn’t match the gender on their birth certificates. The other guest was Jennifer Boylan, an English professor and writer who happens to be trans.

No matter how hard Matthews tried, he couldn’t get Weber to say which bathroom Boylan should use. He’s there to defend this law that insists Boylan shouldn’t use the women’s room, but Weber can’t bring himself to say it while she’s sitting right there. It’s almost funny.

I was going to say a lot more about this, but another blogger already hits all the points I want to make:

…[he] can’t bring himself to answer the question. Not with Boylan sitting there—not with Boylan empowered to respond to him directly, personally, publicly, and immediately. Watch as Weber’s bigoted “convictions” and “sincerely held religious beliefs” wilt in the presence of one of the people he’s trying to stir up bigotry against.

And:

Those ridiculous lies [they told about same-sex marriage] won ’em some battles — they carried the day before the Washington State Supreme Court — but they didn’t win ’em the war. Because their lies couldn’t survive us. They couldn’t survive us getting out there and speaking for ourselves, they couldn’t survive the scrutiny of decent and reasonable people, they couldn’t survive our lawyers, and they couldn’t survive satire and ridicule…. The [anti-trans] haters are winning some battles right now, and that sucks, and their hateful rhetoric makes an already dangerous world for trans people even more dangerous. But their “wins” are putting trans people in the spotlight. Trans people are speaking for themselves, disproving the lies, and joining in or leading the joyful mocking of the haters — just as the fight against same-sex marriage put same-sex couples (some half or wholly trans) in the spotlight. We spoke for ourselves, we mocked the haters, we gathered supporters, and we won the war.

I’m not arguing for complacency—we won the fight for marriage equality because we got out there and fucking fought it. We’re gonna have to fight this fight too. And we are fighting it and we are going to win. We are winning.

I didn’t identify the blogger before the quote because a lot of trans people of my acquaintance believe (incorrectly) that Dan Savage is anti-trans.

Regardless of what you think of Dan, this time he is definitely right on this one. The anti-trans bigots are using exactly the same arguments they have used against queer people before to justify denying us marriage rights, to justify sodomy laws, and so on. They claim we are monsters and predators and a threat to children. They raise false alarms and generate panic over things that have never actually happened. And yes, they are winning some battles. North Caroline is one place they have won.

But at the same time, they are losing the war. This bills are bringing more trans people forward. And as the panicked cis-hets see and meet real trans people, see the stories of real trans kids and their families, they are realizing the rhetoric is all lies. A CNN/ORC poll published today found that 57% of Americans disapprove of the North Carolina anti-trans bill. But even more important, only 48% of Republicans support such bills. Now, only 48% disapprove, and somehow 4% aren’t sure, but think about that: less than half of all Republicans approve this latest Republican hot-button issue. Wow.

Oh, and the same poll found that only 49% of North Carolina residents support the law.

It reminds me of one of the most telling stories that happened during the marriage equality fight. Before the Supreme Court ruling, one of the states was debating a marriage equality bill. And the relevant committees of both the upper and lower house of the state legislature scheduled public hearings that same day. So many people showed up wanting to speak and both hearings, that the committee chairs decided it would best to combine the hearings. So they moved both committees to a bigger room.

One Republican legislator who had been staunchly opposed to the bill switched his vote after that hearing. He said because they were in a different auditorium, he wasn’t in his usual spot up near the center of the front, but was off to the side, where it was easy to become distracted by the crowd and not pay attention to the citizens speaking. He said watching the gay and lesbian couples who were waiting their turn to speak interacting with each other and their children was a revelation to him. His whole life, he said, he had thought of gay people not as people, but as sexual acts. He didn’t believe they were actually in love. Watching them, he finally realized that queer people are just people. And that the couples were in love just the same as he and his wife. That they weren’t asking for special privileges. They just wanted the same legal protections for their families that straight people take for granted.

Just from watching them interact with their partners and children in the audience seats of an auditorium. That’s all it took.

We must fight. Make no mistake. And those of us who happen to be cis have to fight just as hard for the rights, dignity, and visibility of our trans brothers and sisters as we fought those previous battles. We have to remember that no one is free until everyone is.

But if we fight, we can win. We will win.

http://mediamatters.org/embed/210426

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here to watch the clip from Matthews’ show.)

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live in Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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