Monday, June 06, 2016

'Boycott Target' anti-gay hate group undercuts its own argument

If you are involved in observing anti-lgbt groups, then you know the story of the Georgia ACLU director, Dillard Smith, who quit over the organization's defense of transgender men and women using the restrooms of their desired gender identities. She claims that an encounter with three transgender women while she was in the bathroom with her children led her to this action.

This is her story via the interview she did with Megyn Kelly of Fox News (courtesy of the American Family Association's One News Now):

"Before my recruitment to Georgia, in my native California, the Bay Area where I am from, I took my young daughters, I have three daughters, I took the youngest two into a women's restroom, a public women's restroom, and shortly after we were in entered three transgender young adults, all over six feet, all with really deep voices, all obviously men," Smith told The Kelly File.

 My children were visibly frightened. I was very uncomfortable, and it engendered a lot of questions from my daughters for which I was ill-prepared to answer."

 So since my arrival at the ACLU, I have been actively seeking out information and asking questions," Smith continued. "As we advance, as there is an effort to advance transgender rights, what are the implications on the rights of women and girls? What are the implications on the rights of parents?"

Granted, there is no way to verify this story, including her claim that the women were "over six feet tall" or transgender.  After all, I know a few women who are over six feet tall with really deep voices who are not transgender.

 But none of this stopped One News Now from weighing in with red flags:
Smith's situation comes as conservative groups such as American Family Association are boycotting Target over its policy allowing transgenders to use the restroom and changing room of their choosing. According to AFA, sexual predators could take advantage of the policy, thereby putting women and children at risk.

 "This proves our point and it's what we've been saying all along," says Walker Wildmon of AFA. "Allowing men free access to women's restrooms and changing rooms is a dangerous policy."

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that Smith's story is totally true. There is still a huge fallacy with Wildmon's statement.  

Where exactly was the danger here? 

At no point did Smith indicate that she or her daughters were in any danger from the women.  If anything, it proves that transgender women are no danger to anyone using the women's restroom.

The problem here seems to be that Smith didn't want to explain to her daughters the existence of transgender women.  Seeing that the women did not pose a danger to either Smith or her children, why should they be forced to inconvenience themselves simply because Smith did not want to explain a certain fact of life to her children, - that there are some people who are transgender?

That's like saying that since some parents have a problem explaining same-sex families to their children, we should ban gays from adopting. 

Noah Michelson of The Huffington Post had this to say about the situation:

The way that Dillard Smith handled this situation is absolutely appalling — full stop. If her strategy to deal with any question poised by her children that she can’t easily and instantly answer is to stick her head in the sand, run the opposite direction — or worse, take it out on a group of wholly innocent people, I fear for her kids. They’re going to meet lots of people in their lives that don’t look like them or talk like them or act like them. The sooner they learn that people come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and genders and sexualities, the sooner they can shrug their shoulders, toss a “that’s cool” over their shoulders and head back outside to play.

So, what should a parent do if they encounter a trans person while in the bathroom — or anywhere else — with their kids? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration including how old the children are and what their specific questions are, but generally speaking: Start by explaining that there are all kinds of people in this big, beautiful world and that everyone is special in their own way. Tell them that being different is a magnificent thing and ask them to imagine how boring it would be if everyone was the same. From there, check out some of the many resources available on the web to get into the particulars of what it means to be trans (see below for just a few). And... that’s it, really!

I couldn't agree more. But back to the subject of this post, feeling uncomfortable because of an unfamiliar situation is not the same as being in immediate danger.  The attempt to spin this situation into an attack on transgender women says more about the American Family Association's desperation to be seen as winners in a situation which, like so many other boycotts it has undertaken , has blown up in its face.

'Meet Donald Trump's gays' & other Mon midday news briefs

Meet Trump’s gays - A pertinent article. This to me isn't about simply Trump. It's about who we embrace as our general leaders, pertinent issues, etc. It is difficult want to fight for a community when some members slag you off because of cliques, and not just social cliques, either. Not totally difficult, though, when one thinks of our next generation who needs to see warriors.  

These New Subway Ads Will Promote Transgender People’s Right To Use Restrooms - Great! Step up the education and don't stop. 

Perry Atkinson: Obama 'Has Been The Most Offensive Attack Against Christianity In The History Of The United States' - Naturally, Obama's support of the lgbt community fits somewhere in there.

 He Bullied His Gay Friend Into Suicide, Now His Son Is Gay - God's trying to tell you something . . .

 Obama: “We can finish the job” and end AIDS by 2030 - We are all going to miss President Obama when he leaves office.

'Don't Target Our Daughters' protests at Target seems to have flopped

Last weekend was supposed to be the big "Don't Target Our Daughters" protests at Target stores nationwide. Coordinated by religious right maven Janet Porter (of Faith2Action), the protests were aimed at shaming Target for its trans-inclusive policies.

I'm really not hearing news of anything, except for at a handful of stores and these were small protests. And in one particular Target,  the protests backfired:

From The Windy City Times:

Claiming that national retailer Target's position of gender identity inclusion for its customers and employees is "allowing biological men into women's restrooms," the Ohio-based religious hate group Faith2Action's planned a nationwide protest of Target Stores June 4 which they termed "Don't Target Our Daughters."
Faith2Action founder and president Janet Porter called the event the "best opportunity to take back ground since Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty took his stand."
On the same day and time as the action was planned, around 50 people encircled the entrance of an Uptown Chicago Target to ensure that there was no ground for Porter and her anti-trans activists to take. Organized by trans activists, the Gay Liberation Network and allies, the counter-protest was designed "to support Target and the trans community regardless of whether or not opponents of equal rights show up."
"It wasn't that long ago that I was out here protesting Target because they had made some anti-LGBT moves," iconic Chicago transgender activist June M. LaTrobe told Windy City Times. "They have come so far. For the broad trans community, a retail establishment supporting us is fantastic."

  . . . "There is a myth that after we won marriage equality first here in Illinois and then the United States that the struggle for LGBT freedom was over," Gay Liberation Network founder Andy Thayer said. "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. The other side never rests. After they lost marriage, the first thing that they saw as their wedge issue was bathrooms. They use it as an attack on all trans rights. We live in a country where trans people's unemployment and violence rates are way off the charts. The bathroom issue is a way to attack trans people for who they are."

The article in its entirety is a good read. And unless other news comes out, I think its safe that the "Don't Target Our Daughters" protests were less than a blip on a radar screen.

You lose again, religious right.