Posts tagged "Transphobia"

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

H/T: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

Breitbart Texas launched a transphobic attack on a Texas substitute teacher who was suspended because of her gender identity, depicting the teacher as mentally disturbed and suggesting that she became transgender because she was distraught over her divorce.

On April 8, Lumberton Independent School District suspended Laura Jane Klug, who had worked as a fifth grade substitute teacher, after parents complained to school officials about Klug’s gender identity. Breitbart Texas picked up the story on April 9, using scare quotes to mock Klug’s gender identity and touting a local conservative writer’s claim that Klug is “an emotionally disturbed and confused older man”:

A fifth grade substitute teacher was suspended this week by the Lumberton Independent School District (LISD) after it was discovered the teacher is a “transgender” male [sic]. The teacher who was recently hired by the school district now must wait until Friday to find out if “she” will be terminated from employment.

The issue of Laura Jane Klug’s “gender identity” came up after parents became aware of students talking about it in school. Mr. Klug was asked by school officials not to return to “her” classroom until the school board could be convened to consider the matter according to KFDM TV.

[…]

David Bellow raises other concerns about Klug’s mental state in an article posted today on TexasGOPVote.com. 

"I looked [Klug] up on Facebook," Bellows wrote, "and what I found was an emotionally disturbed and confused older man. He has not always wanted to be a woman. According to a note he posted on his Facebook page on July 7th, 2011 titled "How Much More Can I Take?" Kurt Klug was emotionally distraught and seemingly ready to give in with his life because of the pain of his female wife leaving him. The pain and distraught of his wife leaving him must have driven him to decide that he wanted to become a woman. From 2011 until now, Kurt changed his name to Laura Jane Klug and started dressing up like a woman and acting like a woman."

Bellow and Breitbart’s smears against Klug rely on the discredited trope that transgender people are inherently disturbed and disordered. Medical experts reject this notion. Being transgender, in the words of one expert, is “part of the human condition,” and gender identity is an ingrained, intrinsic part of a person’s identity. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, gender identity is usually established by the age of four. In 2012, the American Psychiatric Association revised the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to drop the diagnosis of “gender identity disorder,” replacing it with gender dysphoria, the possible emotional distress that can come from “a marked incongruence” between one’s assigned sex at birth and one’s gender identity.

But Breitbart has little use for such facts. The website — which employs the rabid anti-LGBT extremist Austin Ruse —has previously mocked transgender people by running a trans-related article with a photo of a cross-dressing South Park character, betraying an embarrassing ignorance about what it even means to be transgender.

Launched along with Breitbart London in February, followed by Breitbart California on April 6, Breitbart Texas’ transphobic attack on Klug comes days after Breitbart California came under fierce criticism for a sexist image of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) face transposed onto a scantily clad woman’s body.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios said yesterday that she wants to restore the ban on gays in the military because gay people are “disordered” and won’t be able to “provide strong defense for our nation.”

Rios, who is also the AFA’s governmental affairs director, was reacting to a Palm Center study that calls for an end to the military’s prohibition on transgender service members, which led her to a long rant that serves as a great example of heterosexual privilege.

Have we been so lulled into silliness and foolishness that we think that transgendered soldiers who are confused about their sexuality who want to undergo gender reassignment, homosexual soldiers who are constantly thinking about their sexuality — and I say that with authority, having interviewed so many ex-gays and talked about this for years, there is an obsession — their identity, they think, is their sexuality.

How many of you who are heterosexual would first of all say to someone in describing yourself, ‘I’m heterosexual, I have sex with the opposite sex’? You have much more of an identity than that, don’t you? Well for homosexuals, they claim that as an identity, it’s all about sex, so that is a disorder in itself. You can write me, I realize that’s angering words but that is a disorder because that’s not who you are, you are much more than that. It is a disorder, it is disordered thinking and if we think that soldiers that are obsessed with these issues are going to provide strong defense for our nation, I think we are foolishly denying whatever is true.

Previously, Rios claimed that the “homosexual takeover of so much of our military ” has eviscerated military readiness and effectiveness.

Rios also criticized former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who chaired the Palm Center study, for writing a four-paragraph foreword for the book Harmful To Minors, in which she endorsed sexual education for minors in order to combat misinformation and STIs.

Rios said Elders has spent her career “calling for children to be sexually active” and lamented that she is “now urging for trannies to be allowed in the military.”

From the 03.20.2014 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

Fox News still calling Chelsea Manning a man eight months after gender transition (via Raw Story )

Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt is still referring to Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning as a male eight months after she announced she was transitioning to female. Following her conviction for violations of the Espionage Act last August, Manning released…

Experts have repeatedly debunked the myth that transgender non-discrimination laws give sexual predators access to women’s restrooms, but that hasn’t stopped conservative media outlets from promoting fake news stories to fear monger about trans-inclusive bathrooms.

For as long as the transgender community has fought for protection from discrimination in public spaces, conservatives have peddled the myth that sexual predators will exploit non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms.

That fear has been an extremely effective tool for scaring people into voting against even basic protections for transgender people, which is why conservatives routinely use the phrase “bathroom bill" to describe laws prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. When conservative media outlets attack non-discrimination laws for transgender people, they almost exclusively focus on bathroom and locker room facilities.

But that fear is baseless - completely unsupported by years of evidence from states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books. In a new Media Matters report, experts from twelve states - including law enforcement officials, state human rights workers, and sexual assault victims advocates - debunk the myth that non-discrimination laws have any relation to incidents of sexual assault or harassment in public restrooms:

The transgender bathroom myth is likely to persist, even in the face clear evidence that discredits it. That’s because, unable to find real incidents to substantiate their fear mongering, anti-LGBT groups have taken to fabricating countless horror stories about trans-inclusive public restrooms. These stories are picked up and widely circulated by conservative (and occasionally mainstream) news outlets. By the time they’re debunked, most of the damage to non-discrimination efforts has already been done.

Last year, for example, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported an incident in which a male student, claiming to be transgender, was allegedly harassing female students in the school’s restrooms. The story was picked up by news outlets like the Daily Mail and Examiner and eventually made its way onto Fox Nation:

The story was a complete fabrication, manufactured by the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a hate group working to repeal a California law protecting transgender students. Cristan Williams, a reporter at The Transadvocate, reached out to the school’s superintendent, who reported no incidents of harassment at the high school. Daily Mail took down its report on the incident, and Examiner published a retraction apologizing for its failure to fact-check the story. But Fox Nation didn’t note the correction, and Fox’s Sean Hannity continued to peddle PJI’s discredited horror stories about trans-inclusive restrooms. Unsurprisingly, PJI’s fears about trans-inclusive restrooms in public schools have turned out to be baseless.

In a statement to Equality MattersTransadvocate's Williams described the problem of media outlets' willingness to promote wild stories about trans-inclusive restrooms without first verifying their accuracy: 

In each case, an anti-LGBT group went to the media with an outlandish story about trans people who became wild after equality laws were passed and in each case, the media was eager to promote these stories without conducting proper fact checking.

PJI was only able to do what it did with the help of a credulous media that’s ready and willing to print - without question - whatever ludicrous anti-trans claim these anti-LGBT groups come up with. It’s a huge problem that does destroy lives. 

Public restrooms aren’t a new battleground for civil rights. Social conservatives frequently invoke “bathroom panic” to justify discrimination against marginalized groups. As Lambda Legal notes, the regulation of bathrooms has been used as a tool to exclude people of color, women, and people with disabilities from participating in public spaces. 

But the claim that sexual predators will exploit non-discrimination laws to sneak into women’s restrooms is a lie, plain and simple. It’s a lie that is unsupported by even a shred of evidence and contradicted by years of experience in states that already have non-discrimination laws on the books. It’s a lie that does tremendous damage to efforts to protect transgender people from violence and harassment, which often occur in public restrooms. And it’s a lie that persists because conservative media outlets would rather tout made-up stories about sexual harassment than fact-check the anti-LGBT groups who invent those stories from whole cloth. 

h/t: Carlos Maza at MMFA

Ezra Klein’s much-hyped news and policy site, Vox.com, has hired Brandon Ambrosino - a gay man who has made a name for himself by suggesting that being gay is a choice and whitewashing anti-gay bigotry and discrimination. 

Vox, the news and policy site headed by Ezra Klein, announced on March 12 that Ambrosino had been hired as a writing fellow:

Klein’s new venture - announced to considerable fanfare in January - will provide Ambrosino a formidable platform as the go-to gay writer for anti-gay conservatives seeking to legitimize their homophobia.

Ambrosino - whose professional background is as a jazz and tap dancer - first garnered considerable attention with an April 2013 essay for The Atlantic. Titled "Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University," Ambrosino’s piece recounted his experience as a student at Liberty University, founded by the inflammatory fundamentalist preacher in 1971. Describing himself as “the world’s most hypersexual fag,” Ambrosino admitted he was an unlikely candidate to attend Liberty, but in his experience, it was “very different from what you might think of it.” He lamented that the school “gets a bad rap because of a few of Falwell’s soundbytes.”

Those sound bites included Falwell’s notorious reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, for which he pinned some of the blame on gays and lesbians. Speaking with Pat Robertson on The 700 Club, Falwell said:

[T]he pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

Ambrosino’s take on Falwell? He argues that the guy with the “big fat smile” has been unfairly maligned by progressives like Bill Maher. While Ambrosino never got the chance to tell Falwell that he’s gay, he “wouldn’t have been afraid of his response.” After all, Ambrosino wrote, he’s confident that Falwell wouldn’t have supported stoningAmbrosino.

With a bar that high, it isn’t surprising that Ambrosino has consistently given free passes to anti-gay bigots and spewers of hate speech. In a December piece for The Atlantic, Ambrosino argued that there’s nothing “anti-gay” about thinking that it’s okay to exclude gay people from the institution of marriage.

Later in December, when Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson sparked a controversy with an interview in which he equated homosexuality with bestiality, compared gay people with “drunks” and “terrorists,” and waxed nostalgic for the Jim Crow South, Ambrosino leapt to Robertson’s defense. Writing for Time, Ambrosino asserted that the criticism of Robertson’s comments showed that LGBT activists were the real bigots. As for Robertson himself, Ambrosino wrote that he seemed like the kind of guy he’d want to go fishing with.

In defending marriage equality opponents and people like Robertson from charges of homophobia, Ambrosino emphasizes the importance of being careful with language. The h-word, he stresses, isn’t something to be used lightly. But when pressed in debates about what does constitute homophobia, Ambrosino generally suggests that some act of violence is required to cross the threshold.

It’s odd that someone who waxes eloquent about how words matter seems to cavalierly dismiss criticism of ugly hate speech directed at the LGBT community. Ambrosino has himself used the transphobic slur “tranny, ” and he took critics of Alec Baldwin to task after the actor faced condemnation for appearing to call a photographer a “cocksucking fag”: 

Ambrosino has continually made clear what little use he has for those dreaded LGBT activists. In a January essay for Time, he urged gay rights activists to learn a thing or two from Martin Luther King, Jr. and love their enemies by not calling out their most bitter opponents as homophobic - a gross perversion of King’s work, given that the civil rights leader never hesitated to expose bigotry when he saw it.

But Ambrosino won’t let such inconvenient facts cloud his worldview. He revels in the edgy and sensational - a fact that was never more apparent than in a January piece for The New Republic in which he claimed that he “chose” to be gay. It was an odd assertion to make for a writer who has admitted struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity after being immersed in a conservative religious background; why would he deliberately make his life more difficult by making such a choice?

Ambrosino never explained when or how he “chose” to be gay. Even in his “response” to critics, he refused to address the question. However, in an April 2013 interview, he recalled when he first experienced “gay feelings” and realized he “was attracted to men” - seemingly contradicting the notion that it was all a choice.

His “I Choose To Be Gay” claim inevitably raised the question of what Ambrosino thinks of discredited ”ex-gay” therapy programs. It turns out he finds them quite “[i]nteresting,” as he tweeted in a link to a 2012 New York Times article on so-called conversion therapy:

"Ex-gay" therapy piques Ambrosino’s interest, but gay pride parades decidedly don’t. Such expressions of pride, he wrote in the Baltimore Sun, undermine the idea that “we’re the same.” Ambrosino didn’t weigh in on whether St. Patrick’s Day Parades celebrating Irish heritage have damaged Irish-Americans’ social position. After all, his real aim appeared to be proving that he just isn’t one of those gays - one of those "stupid whores" who does things like hit on straight guys.

Ambrosino’s gay contrarianism has won him a loyal base of right-wing fans - including Glenn BeckBreitbart News, and TownHall.com - all of whom have lauded Ambrosino’s work. It’s not difficult to discern why. In repeatedly depicting the LGBT community as the real problem, Ambrosino offers the anti-LGBT right the reassuring message that they aren’t doing anything wrong. And when they want to defend comparisons of gay people with mass murderers and child molesters, anti-gay conservatives have a gay writer they can hide behind to shield themselves from accusations of bigotry.

In Vox’s Facebook post announcing Ambrosino’s new gig, Ambrosino wrote that his work often “focuses on finding ways to reconcile the LGBT and religious communities,” echoing his earlier statement that he "refuses to take sides." His body of work  and his growing right-wing fan base, however, make perfectly clear which side Ambrosino has taken. 

H/T: Luke Brinker at MMFA

Brad Dacus and his Pacific Justice Institute have been leading the fight against laws designed to protect transgender students in public schools and Pastor Jack Hibbs has been very involved in the battle against just such a law in California.

Recently, Hibbs interviewed Dacus about the law and uncorked one of the strangest arguments against it that we have ever heard. Claiming that teenage boys will do whatever they can to “sneak a peek” at the girls in the school while they are in the bathroom or the locker room, Hibbs asserted that some kid will “pull a stunt” and claim to be transgender just so he can get access to the girl’s locker room, which he will be allowed to due under the California law.

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW 

David Barton recently spoke at Victory Family Church‎ in Decatur, Texas where he delivered his standard presentation about how every single aspect of American life and society ought to be governed according to the Bible, and that includes putting an end to things like “gender bender" days at elementary schools because "the Bible says you absolutely cannot do that."

"The Bible explicitly condemns cross-dressing," Barton said. “That’s not just a cute little thing that happened at school, that’s a biblically-addressed issue.”

 

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW

Pat Robertson: ‘Keep your mouth shut’ after having sex with transsexuals (via Raw Story )

Televangelist Pat Robertson has some advice for men who have sex with transsexual women: “Keep your mouth shut.” On Monday’s edition of CBN’s The 700 Club, a viewer told Robertson that he felt guilty because he had never told his wife that he…

Oklahoma restaurant won’t serve ‘freaks,’ ‘f*ggots,’ the disabled and welfare recipients (via Raw Story )

A restaurant outside of Oklahoma City is facing criticism after its outspoken owner made a series of inflammatory comments after one of his former customers, who is disabled, complained that he’d been banned from the establishment. Matt Gard claims…

- Gary James, the owner of Gary’s Chicaros in Enid, Oklahoma, is a well-known right-wing extremist, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, sexist, elitist, anti-Democratic Party, and ableist moron. He’s today’s worst person in the world! His restaurant should be boycotted and/or closed down!

thepoliticalfreakshow:

WASHINGTON — Transgender advocate Janet Mock accused CNN’s Piers Morgan of seeking to “sensationalize” her life after Morgan and his producers focused intensely on Mock’s past and physical aspects of her transition in an interview coinciding with the release of her book, Redefining Realness.

Morgan ended the first segment of the Piers Morgan Live interview by saying that Mock at one point had to tell the man she was dating that “you used to be yourself a man” — although Mock has never identified as a man.

The on-screen description of Mock was that she “was a boy until age 18,” although she was identifying as a girl in high school, and the Piers Morgan Live Twitter account posed the question during the interview, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?”

“He’s trying to do info-tainment,” Mock told BuzzFeed Tuesday night. “He doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of me writing this book was about.”

Mock told BuzzFeed that Morgan’s interest in her conversations with her boyfriend and the show’s identification of her departed sharply from the story she seeks to tell.

“My book is not about Aaron or my relationship, but that’s the most sensational thing they want to pull out,” she said. “They’re not talking about my advocacy or anything like that, it’s just about this most sensationalized … meme of discussion of trans women’s lives: ‘We’re not real women, so therefore if we’re in relationships with men we’re deceiving them.’ So, it just feeds into those same kinds of myths and fears that they spread around, which leads to further violence of trans women’s bodies and identities.”

The on-screen line that she “was a boy until age 18” reflected “bad judgment” and “reductive thinking about gender,” she said.

“What they’re saying is, ‘Only until I got the surgery, then I was a woman,’” she said.

But, she said, the interview — for better and worse — is part of want she chose to do by “going out of the bubble” and being public with her story.

“This is my first mainstream television show, was that moment, with Piers Morgan, and you see what they did to my story. Compared to a moment if I’m on Melissa Harris-Perry, which is slightly different, a more sensitive and safe space. But I go onto Piers Morgan, and all of my followers and everyone are like, ‘What is this?’” she said. But, she noted, “It’s also more representative of the ignorance that there is about trans people’s lives. We’re out of the safe bubble of social justice.”

Me + @Lavernecox's reaction after @piersmorganlive tried it with the “man” and “boy” tag lines. #redefiningrealness

So, Mock — who was with actress and trans advocate Laverne Cox and many others at her book launch party as the pre-taped interview aired — struck back: responding on Twitter by sending out a “reaction shot” photo of her and Cox.

“I was just sitting with Laverne, we’re at my party, and that’s why we made that face,” Mock said. “To have a moment that’s just like, ‘This is still our lives. You can try to do what you want and try to editorialize our lives and reduce it, but we know what our lives are. And we still stake claim to our own identities and our lives.”

She noted how social media has changed the tables on interviews like Tuesday’s with Morgan or like the interview that Cox and Carmen Carrera had with Katie Couric last month.

“That’s the special thing about social media now is that we can talk back. Piers doesn’t have the final say. And we read him,” she said. “Our media is just as valid. What we create ourselves, with that one Twitter picture.

“It also empowers our followers, too, who are watching us and wondering, ‘How do you handle this?’ And it shows that we’re not broken by this, we expected this. We didn’t expect greatness and sensitivity from him, but a part of doing that work and showing visibility and support is by going on those shows and being in those testy waters and seeing, ‘How can we navigate it and still rise above it in a sense?’”

Morgan, for his part, expressed on Twitter that he saw nothing to “rise above,” tweeting:

A lot of very irate people accusing me of ‘transphobia’ because I devoted a third of my show to @JanetMock ’s inspiring story. Weird.

For the record, I’m not anything-phobic. We’ll, apart from Madonna-phobic obviously.

Update at 12:15 a.m.:

Very disappointed in @janetmock ’s tweets tonight. Deliberately, and falsely, fuelling some sense of me being ‘transphobic’. Unpleasant.

Update at 12:30 a.m.: CNN has changed its online description of the interview:

Update at 12:30 a.m.: CNN has changed its online description of the interview:

Update at 1:05 a.m.:

I’ve never been subjected to the kind of nonsense that @janetmockand her supporters are accusing me of now…wish I’d never booked her.

Update at 1:20 a.m.: Not done yet:

Oh, stop it. You ‘get it the f**k together’..seriously. > RT @janetmock"Was a boy until 18." @PiersMorganLive get it the f*k together.

For the record, @janetmock had no problem at the time with our interview - but now seems keen to score cheap points. Very disappointing.

As for all the enraged transgender supporters, look at how STUPID you’re being. I’m on your side, you dimwits. @janetmock

Update at 1:40 a.m.: Full circle:

And now she runs to @BuzzFeed to cry foul… I’ve been played in a disgustingly cynical manner. > http://t.co/hbXCeTM0XH …

I’ll deal with you tomorrow night on air @janetmock - never been treated in such a disgraceful manner. Be proud.

"Dr. Chaps" Gordon Klingenschmitt dedicated a segment on today’s "Pray In Jesus Name" program to decrying the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as nothing more than a "bathroom bill" that would allow men to use the women’s restrooms and "violate your wives’ and daughters’ privacy in every public restaurant in America." 

[…]

If they’re not going to get eternal benefits in Heaven,” Klingenschmitt asked, "why should we give them government rewards here on this earth? I don’t think we should." 
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