GLAAD has released its annual report: Accelerating Acceptance 2018. GLAAD notes:
For the first time, the 2018 Accelerating Acceptance report found a decrease in acceptance of LGBTQ people. As in previous years, this year’s report examines issues such as comfort levels around LGBTQ individuals, reports of LGBTQ discrimination, and support for equal rights.
I do not doubt the findings and agree that it is troubling. I have an hypothesis as to the elements of what I think and hope is a temporary decline in acceptance of LGBT people.
The President of the United States has legitimized anti-LGBT hate groups, giving them a patina of respectability. Trump has also allowed them to influence public policy. This has included initiatives like the ban on transgender military service.
None of Trump’s appointees are particularly LGBT friendly. Three, AG Sessions, VP Pence and HUD Secretary Carson, are particularly unglued anti-LGBT zealots. Sessions sent a memorandum that eviscerated LGBT protections in the federal workplace.
In effect, the President of the United States has asserted that conservative Christians have a necessary and legitimate right to discriminate against LGBT citizens. What worries me going forward is that Trump has reshaped the federal judiciary with bizarrely unqualified nominees who have anti-LGBT records. What keeps me awake at night is Trump (or perhaps Pence) making another Supreme Court nomination while Republicans control the Senate.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
The very existence of this case has created a windfall for anti-LGBT hate groups. Nothing that they do should influence how the Supreme Court rules but the holier-than-thou set has used the case to raise funds. Acting as if they are personally defending the baker’s constitutional rights, they are aggressively pursuing handouts.
They know that the best way to get people to open their wallets is to make them angry and fearful. Then they offer themselves as saviors. They are bombarding their supporters with an endless barrage of anti-gay messages.
The religious right has probably caused many people to be far angrier at LGBT citizens than they might otherwise be. People are fearful of being persecuted by LGBT people. People identify with the baker and they have been told that the baker is being prohibited from practicing his religion. That is obviously not the case but the Christian fundamentalists have an incurious constituency.
Already pissed off people have been told, over and over again, that the state wants to force the baker to “celebrate” a same-sex wedding which connotes the presence of thought police. The fundamentalists and their supporters fume. Meanwhile, all the couple really want is a damned cake. The baker is free to disapprove of them if he wants to. Nobody cares.
This is far from over. If the Court rules in favor of the baker, these same groups will take credit and ask for more money to keep “radical LGBT activists” at bay. If the Court rules in favor of Colorado, then these groups will claim to have been victimized — asking for money to limit the damage caused by those same “radical LGBT activists.” Either way we are going to be denigrated in service to the almighty dollar.
The Catholic Church
At a time when the Church was seemingly lessening its attention on gay people, the new Pope started off with a “gender theory” hobby in the very early stages of his papacy. This morphed into “gender ideology” and a cottage industry was born.
Influenced by the Church, Ethics and Public Policy Center “published” two McHugh-Mayer anti-LGBT reports to its pretentious blog. Ryan T. Anderson’s recent book is based on a combination of Catholic ideology and the Mayer-McHugh spew. While those reports are riddled with scientific errors and were not subjected to peer review, they have served as a supposedly scientific basis for discrimination. All that is required of disapproving people is a pretext. It doesn’t have to be factually accurate. It doesn’t even have to make sense. It simply has to justify oppression.
The Church has been especially vociferous in its opposition to accommodations for transgender youth in public schools. At least in part, the Church is responsible for a tiny minority getting an out-sized portion of very negative attention. Many citizens seem to have been convinced that transgender kids are confused and require counseling instead of gender affirmation. They continue to be misinformed with wild desistence rates that have no bearing on trans kids who are highly unlikely to outgrow their gender dysphoria.
People believe that the RLA (Radical LGBT Activists) are trying to fool them along with cooperating researchers. Apparently there is a widespread belief that medical science is involved in a massive liberal conspiracy to alter the truth about sexual orientation and sexual identity. It reminds me of cancer patients who insist that some monk in the Himalayas has the magic potion to eradicate metasisis. They swear that the medical establishment is conspiring to deceive them.
In spite of it all I am optimistic for the future. Trump, Pence and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III won’t be around forever. If we all do our part and vote, perhaps we can keep these fools in check. It’s really up to us.
The ultimate goal of the RLA — the very essence of our continuing struggle — is to get people to accept the scientifically supported truth that neither sexual orientation nor gender identity are choices. When people accept that simple fact discrimination tends to evaporate. We are not propagandists. Nor are we ideologues. We are just proponents of reality.