My overall assessment is that we are losing this battle. The dynamic is going against us. Young people believe that we are wrong; not only do they believe that we are wrong, but they believe it with a “go to the mat” intensity.
The above is current anti-marriage equality movement golden boy (because he prefaces his arguments by affirming the “equal dignity of same sex love”) David Blankenhorn, speaking at Family Research Council back in February. He is responding to a question from the audience about whether it is possible to “win this.”
FRC’s Peter Sprigg was practically wetting himself with joy that they could showcase Blankenhorn – in particular, he was gleeful that they had a speaker who is adamant about being a liberal with gay friends. It’s all the more interesting, then, that the video of this two hour talk was posted on their website the next day, only to disappear shortly thereafter. I assume that Blankenhorn’s truthfulness about how they are losing was considered too damaging.
The Anti-Gay Industry might have huge piles of money, but they are losing their “culture war.” Marriage equality across the nation is all but inevitable, as the business community will not tolerate for long a bureaucratic mess of contradictory marriage laws. Public opinion on this issue, and GLBT equality in general, has shifted more rapidly than on any other issue in recent memory. The generation in high school now, even those who identify themselves as Evangelicals, find their elders’ obsession with “homosexuality” puzzling at best, and are having none of it. Many of them have openly gay friends and family members, and they can see right through the silly lies of screamers like James Dobson.
Which brings us to what appears to be the AGI’s new fallback strategy. This morning’s Washington Post tells us the following:
As more state and local governments extend anti-bias protections to transgender people, fierce opposition is surfacing. In Colorado, conservatives contend a new state law will enable sexual predators to frequent women’s bathrooms; in Maryland a “Not My Shower” campaign seeks to overturn a comparable county law.
Yep, because they know they’ve lost the battle to maintain social disapproval of gay and lesbian people, AGI leaders have, in unison, trained their sights on a target they believe will be more vulnerable to dehumanization. Every unhinged talk radio show and website is now chanting from exactly the same script, which goes like this: If it’s unlawful to discriminate against people on the basis of gender identity, “men dressed as women” will lurk in public restrooms! Women and girls won’t be safe! We’ve discussed this idiocy before, because there is such a group (we’ve come to call them the Showerheads) right across the river in Montgomery County. This fringe group utterly failed in their attempt to block the public schools from adopting an accurate and inclusive human sexuality curriculum, a curriculum overwhelmingly supported by students and parents, so they immediately turned their attention to a subject about which the public is much less educated: Gender identity and transgender people. They are hoping that the public will be uninformed enough to believe their false statements about inclusive non-discrimination laws (for example, Chuck Colson’s claim that the Montgomery and Colorado laws “mandate co-ed locker rooms”) and to be unaware that laws like this have no impact on public restrooms at all.
At the end of May, the Colorado legislature passed HB 200, an inclusive non-discrimination bill, and Governor Bill Ritter signed it into law. Lo and behold, “Focus on the Family” bankrolled a radio ad that repeats, verbatim, the talking points of the Montgomery County Showerheads. Teach the Facts has the audio and a transcript.
Here’s a portion:
Kid’s voice: “Mom…”
Announcer: If the Colorado legislature has its way…
Kid: “A man in a dress came into the girl’s restroom at school today.”
Announcer: We could all be dealing with a new type of predator.
This new approach represents the last gasp of a spiteful and snarling anti-civil rights movement. Whereas they previously could count on the fact that most people didn’t know much about sexual orientation, and didn’t have the benefit of out friends, co-workers, neighbors and family members who could dispel their fear and ignorance, that’s no longer the case. Anti-GLBT activists are now counting on their ability to get away with lying about gender identity and transgender people. By broadly labeling all efforts to prohibit discrimination the “gay agenda” and claiming that this “agenda” is to “de-gender society” (whatever that means), they hope to maintain a foothold and split our community. As with everything else, though, the facts are what they are. Here are a few of them:
Despite the frenzied attempt by the AGI to portray it as such, inclusive non-discrimination law is not some new and untested idea.
There are currently 107 jurisdictions with explicit public policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. What this means is that approximately 40% of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction in which it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of how a person expresses their gender. The first of these laws was enacted in 1975. If there were any validity to the dire consequence claims of anti-gay activists, wouldn’t someone have noticed by now? One would think that out of 40% of the population, the AGI could come up with one incident in which a predator pretending to be transgender had menaced someone in a bathroom. But they can’t.
“It just does not happen – it’s entirely fabricated,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “There’s not a single case in the U.S. of the problem they’re talking about.”
And here’s a clue to what the AGI is planning. In reading this quote, recall that the first such law was enacted in 1975.
“It’s rather early in the genesis of these types of laws for there to be a lot of concrete evidence that predators will abuse them,” [Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger] wrote in an e-mail. “But the law does, indeed, make it possible – and we would hardly be surprised if anecdotal evidence starts pouring forth indicating that.”
What do you want to bet he means “anecdotal evidence” like this? I’ve heard several other intimations from talk show hosts – in the form of “we wouldn’t be surprised” statements – that such “evidence” will be produced. It’s hard to imagine anything more despicable than using children for this sort of hoax.
Despite histrionic verbiage claiming that public restrooms will suddenly be vulnerable to some sort of open season, these laws in fact have no impact at all on the use of public restrooms. Think about it. At a sporting event, or any crowded public facility, women use the men’s room all the time. It’s not illegal to do so. If some legislator wants to champion a law to make it illegal that’s certainly an option, but it’s not illegal now. What is illegal is for a person of any gender to go into any kind of restroom for the purpose of harassment or surveillance of others. That’s not going to change, because, frankly, nobody would want it to.
As usual, the AGI’s desperate need to bear false witness – and to bear false witness against people who they believe aren’t at liberty to defend themselves because of the very discrimination the AGI is trying to maintain – reveals their inherent weakness. The only word that fits is pathetic.
More to come.