Rush Limbaugh’s transphobia gets a big pushback as a caller to his radio show condemns Limbaugh’s usage of such terms.
From the 05.29.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Network’s The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Two radio hosts in Rochester, NY lost their jobs following a grossly transphobic segment mocking the transgender community. But the vicious comments that got them fired are nearly identical to the kind of transphobic hate speech Fox News regularly peddles to its national audience with impunity.
On May 22, Rochester radio station 98.9 The Buzz announced that it had fired Kimberly and Beck - the hosts of the station’s morning talk radio show “The Breakfast Buzz’ - following outrage over a segment criticizing Rochester’s plan to cover transgender healthcare for employees and their families. According to a statement from Entercom Rochester:
This morning Entercom fired Kimberly and Beck effective immediately. Their hateful comments against the transgender community do not represent our station or our company. We deeply apologize to the transgender community, the community of Rochester, and anyone else who was offended by their hateful comments. We are proud of our past work on behalf of the local LGBT community and we remain committed to that partnership.
The May 21 segment in question was an “atrocious" train wreck of transphobic slurs, misinformation, and hate speech. Kimberly and Beck called transgender people "nut jobs," trivialized the need for transgender health care, and played Aerosmith’s Dude Looks Like A Lady throughout the segment. They accused a transgender high school athlete of having an unfair advantage over her opponents and joked about her using her genitals to play baseball. And when a caller expressed disappointment in the hosts’ transphobic commentary, another host responded “thank you, sir,” in an attempt to mock the caller’s gender:
From the 05.21.2014 edition of WBZA’s The Breakfast Buzz with Kimberly and Beck:
98.9 The Buzz was right to act quickly to shut down Kimberly and Beck’s hateful transphobic commentary.
But Kimberly and Beck’s comments aren’t all that extreme when compared to the way conservative media outlets talk about the transgender community. In reality, the segment might have been entirely unremarkable had it been aired on Fox News.
Playing Dude Looks Like A Lady to mock transgender people? Fox has done it.
Intentionally misgendering transgender people against their wishes? Common practice at Fox.
Trivializing transgender healthcare as cosmetic or unnecessary? Megyn Kelly is all over it.
Kimberly and Beck’s comments are inexcusable, but they also reached a relatively small audience of listeners. Now that the embattled hosts are looking for work, they might want to consider applying at Fox News. They’ll be able to reach a much broader audience without having to worry about any pesky rules against using hate speech.
Today marks an important victory for the transgender community, even though it may appear to be a small paperwork technicality. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it is now much easier for trans people to change their gender identity on their Social Security records. All that will now be required, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, is for individuals to submit government-issued documentation reflecting a gender change, or a certification from a physician confirming they have undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.
This is a significant departure from the previous policy, which required documentation of complete sex reassignment surgery. Many trans people never undergo such procedures, either because they are too expensive, because they do not want to lose their procreative ability, or because it simply isn’t an important change for them to make to find authenticity in their identities. The SSA change eliminates this high standard for trans people to obtain the appropriate documentation for the gender that reflects how they live their daily lives.
Last month, the City Council of Phoenix, Arizona passed sweeping nondiscrimination protections, ensuring that people have equal access to employment, housing, and public accommodations regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. One state lawmaker, Rep. John Kavanagh (R) is not pleased that transgender people will be protected when using the correct bathroom, and so he has introduced a new bill to ban them from doing just that.
Kavanagh gutted a Senate Bill about a Massage Therapy Board to use as a shell for his new amendment, which prohibits a person from entering a “public restroom, bathroom, shower, bath, dressing room, or locker room” if the sex designation of that facility does not match the individual’s birth certificate. He defended his “show your papers to pee” bill in an interview with 12 News Phoenix:
KAVANAGH: The city of Phoenix has crafted a bill that allows people to define their sex by what they think in their head. If you’re a male, you don’t go into a female shower or locker room, or vice versa. It also raises the specter of people who want to go into those opposite sex facilities not because they’re transgender, but because they’re weird.
Violating this law would constitute “disorderly conduct” and could be prosecuted as a class 1 misdemeanor. The bill describes itself as “an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety and is operative immediately as provided by law.”
The Illinois Family Institute (IFI), a designated anti-LGBT “hate group,” thought it was successful when it opposed East Aurora School District’s transgender-inclusive policy and the district then rescinded the measure. But now that the district has formed a new committee to readdress what would be best for trans students, IFI’s Laurie Higgins is livid. Higgins has posted an epic screed against the effort, blatantly attacking trans members of the committee as “two adult cross-dressing males who wish they were women” and encouraging bullying of transgender — what IFI calls “gender-confused” — students.
Before delving into IFI’s epic tirade of bigotry, let it be noted here that mental health professionals agree that the best therapy for young people questioning their gender identity is to affirm them, including with social recognition (pronouns, name choice, etc.) and a non-discrimination environment. Gender identity is a separate experience from biological sex, and like sexual orientation, it is not chosen, however biologically invisible it may (yet) be. To not respect an individual’s identity is to reject it, and to encourage such rejection is to promote bullying and discrimination. That is exactly IFI’s intention.
Here, Higgins is directly encouraging bullying. There is no “kind, compassionate and inclusive” way of telling a person that their identity exists outside of “morality, objective reality, and public order.” Such messages promote quite the opposite sentiment.
The Aurora community should demand that only Aurora community members may serve on the committee, and at the next election, they should get rid of any school board member who supports any “transgender” policy.
It is unclear if Higgins is even concerned if IFI is advocating on behalf of anybody. Her claims that cisgender (non-trans) students might get uncomfortable in the bathroom around a trans student — a consequence of being similarly misinformed about trans identities — are weak. They are no more substantive than arguments that white customers might feel uncomfortable with black customers at a lunch counter. IFI has a vendetta that is both political and personal, and such perspectives have no role to play when the goal is a safe school with an efficient learning environment.
“The Office of Human Rights transgender and gender identity non-discrimination campaign will appear throughout DC in Fall and Winter of 2012. The campaign will feature five transgender or gender non-conforming people in a series of five ads. The campaign aims to increase understanding of the community, reduce discriminatory incidents in DC and increase reporting of discrimination when it happens.”
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Much has unfolded in the day since the “Bathroom Harassment Act” was first introduced in the Tennessee legislature, a bill that would fine transgender people $50 for using bathrooms and dressing rooms.
First, state Sen. Bo Watson (R) has withdrawn his version of the bill. He had introduced it as a courtesy to state Rep. Richard Floyd (R), who represents the same region of Tennessee. In a statement to ThinkProgress, Watson’s communications director explained that “Sen. Watson concluded that there are far more pressing issues facing the state of Tennessee at this time.”
Floyd now stands alone as the sponsor of the bill (HB 2279), which he defended yesterday using incredibly transphobic rhetoric. In no uncertain terms, he explained that he would resort to violence if he ever encountered someone transgender in a dressing room:
FLOYD: I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry.
Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room.
This bill is nothing short of an outright attack on transgender people, and Floyd’s comments make it clear he lacks any understanding or compassion for the trans community. Enforcement of this bill could lead to ID checks in public restrooms and would be devastatingly stigmatizing, especially considering Tennessee offers no option for individuals to change their birth certificate gender markers. Even individuals passing through one of Tennessee’s airports or bus stops could be targeted for these fines, just for being transgender.