Trump and Pence
The interests of the entire LGBTQ community are best served if this doesn’t happen again | via The Guardian

Republicans are creating a wedge issue out of transgender accommodations. This puts the entire LGBTQ community at risk.

In 2004 George W. Bush probably owed his reelection, at least in part, to ballot initiatives in 11 states to ban same-sex marriage. That might be overreach on my part but, at the time, Republicans believed that they had a winning stratagem.

In other words, whether the notion that the existence of same-sex marriage ballot initiatives sealed the deal for Bush is true or urban legend is irrelevant. The simple fact is that those ballot initiatives were part of a Republican strategy to energize evangelical Christian voters. Regardless of the effect, Republicans are determined to create wedge issues which, in turn, create opposing sides.

In 2004 and today, Republicans believed, and continue to believe, that they were and are oh-so-clever. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that trans rights are being used as a wedge issue in advance of the 2022 midterm elections. These efforts will intensify as we near the 2024 presidential contest.

Republicans and the Christian right (which are pretty much the same thing these days) know that the Equality Act is not going to pass the Senate at this time. That is because Joe Manchin has made it abundantly clear that he will not support a rules change to a simple majority for cloture votes.

If you look at opposition to the Equality Act it is disproportionately based on transphobia. One whack job stated: “It would force Catholic institutions to hire transgenders, female “priests” — or face sanctions.” Of course the ministerial exception would prevail.

Family Research Council’s anti-trans sophist, Travis Weber, asserted:

The Equality Act jeopardizes women’s privacy and safety.

The Equality Act’s expansion of the Title II “Public Accommodations” definition means that females would no longer have privacy in public bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, or even battered women’s shelters.…

The point is that right wing organizations are paying an awful lot of attention to about a half-percent of the population. Hardly a word is uttered about gay people. I guess the GOPers realize that homophobia is no longer tolerated in polite society.

Consider Alliance Defending Freedom.

Alliance Defending Freedom is, in essence, a Republican operation. It is also an anti-LGBTQ hate group. In the real world clients contact lawyers for representation. ADF doesn’t always work that way. ADF often does things the other way around, seeking a client to litigate an issue. Sometimes it is to get a case before the Supreme Court and sometimes ADF is engaging in partisan politics.

Such is the case, I believe, with a recent lawsuit on behalf of College of the Ozarks, a Christian school in Missouri. The claim is that the government is forcing the college to place transgender women in female dorms.

I am quite certain that transgender women who comprise about a quarter-percent of the population have overwhelmed the admissions office of College of the Ozarks. After all, what transgender 18-year-old girl would not want to attend a conservative Christian college.

ADF’s lawyer on this case is Julie Marie Blake. With a baccalaureate from Catholic U. of America and a law degree from Notre Dame, we can safely assume that Ms. Blake is a Defender of the Faith™. Ms. Blake is responsible for an obnoxiously dishonest statement:

Women shouldn’t be forced to share private spaces — including showers and dorm rooms — with males, and religious schools shouldn’t be punished simply because of their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Government overreach by the Biden administration continues to victimize women, girls, and people of faith by gutting their legal protections, and it must be stopped.

The truth of the matter is that this nonsensical litigation over a nonexistent problem is based on a nonexistent rule.

On February 11, HUD released a memo. It refers to a January executive order by President Biden addressing discrimination in the federal workplace and public housing:

…the Executive Order directs every federal agency to assess all agency actions taken under federal statutes that prohibit sex discrimination and to fully enforce those statutes to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s Office of General Counsel has concluded that the Fair Housing Act’s sex discrimination provisions are comparable to those of Title VII and that they likewise prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Therefore, I am directing HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) to take the actions outlined in this memo to administer and fully enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The memo also states that the agency:

shall accept for filing and investigate all complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation, that meet other jurisdictional requirements. Where reasonable cause exists to believe that discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity has occurred, FHEO will refer a determination of cause for charge by HUD’s Office of General Counsel.
Call me a cynic but my opinions are thus:
  1. Over a two month span, ADF sought a litigant to pursue this matter.
  2. It found a useful idiot in the president of College of the Ozarks, Jerry C. Davis.
  3. ADF knows that it will raise enough money off this issue to offset any litigation expenses, … and then some.
  4. ADF’s claim that a Housing and Urban Development memo somehow applies to a private college is bullshit.
  5. Moreover, a memo is not a law. HUD merely pledges to investigate charges of discrimination.
  6. Aside from lacking merit, ordinarily a litigant would seek legal counsel if and when some adverse action occurs.
  7. Jerry C. Davis and ADF’s Julie Marie Blake know that no such action will ever occur.
  8. Even if did happen (it won’t) the college would be afforded ample due process.
  9. ADF will continue to engage in this manner in order to characterize Democrats as radical transgender activists who “even want to force a Christian school to house biological males in a female dormitory.”
  10. Ergo, ADF is a participant in creating a wedge issue.
Let’s consider anti-trans legislation in Red States
Keep in mind that this, too, is driven by Alliance Defending Freedom.

In Arkansas, an overwhelming majority of legislators voted to override the governor’s veto of a measure banning gender-affirming care.

Other states, including Texas, are considering similar measures.

These measures are presumably a mix of politics and religion. Legislators are willing to disregard the overwhelming consensus of science and put kids in serious danger in order to appeal to the masses. They are doing so on the backs of a minuscule number of adolescents.

How about transgender participation in sports? A number of states have either banned or proposed to ban trans girls from competing with cisgender girls. They are addressing a problem that does not exist in their state. The only state that ADF has identified as a problem (according to them) is Connecticut. I have not seen legislative findings addressing an issue in the legislated state.

The point is that we (all of us) need to defend transgender people because they are particularly vulnerable, they deserve fair accommodations, transphobia is based on misinformation and because it is the right thing for us to do. Gay minority stress is infuriating. Transgender minority stress puts people at serious risk.

We (substantially more gay that transgender people) need to realize that it is in our own best interests to defend gender-diverse people. The simple fact is that the Republican Party does not represent the American people. It primary represents white, conservative, heterosexual, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, cisgender Christians.

Republicans pit groups against each other. That is the very nature of a wedge issue.

Democrats, on the other hand, recognize that we are a very diverse nation.

Society is not served by the creation of competing factions. Common cause is best achieved by not imposing one’s views on others. Working together we can accomplish far more as a civilization than can ever be achieved with sects challenging each other for some kind of supremacy.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.