Monday, May 26, 2008

Religious Right Says: Save Our Children From Trans People!

The following radio spot, entitled “Predator,” began circulating this past month in Colorado:

This is yet another classic example of the religious right’s invocation of “children’s safety” in order to promote their own political candidates and agenda.

This clip is not coming from groups who aim to eradicate sexual assault and violence against women, though “Predator” may seem to insinuate that. In fact, Focus on the Family Action and Colorado Family Action, the two groups responsible for creating and running the spot, could seem to care less about women’s rights. Focus on the Family Action states on its website that it is geared towards those who care about the “family” and about “traditional moral values.” The Focus on the Family Action page is devoted entirely to a preservation of traditional marriage between a man and a woman (and, I would think by extension, the “traditional” use of marriage as a means for men to possess and own women) and the restriction of abortion and contraceptive access for women.

“Predator” invokes age-old stereotypes about trans women and gender non-conforming individuals in order to fight against public schools’ development of gender-neutral bathrooms. The groups behind the clip are clearly trying to capitalize on mainstream society’s rampant transphobia and anxiety about gender norms in order to endorse their politician of choice.

This endorsement parrots the classic transphobic cliché: We must carefully monitor conditions in our public schools to ensure that gender non-normative and transgender people cannot comfortably or safely enter those spaces. If not, trans people will inevitably destroy “our children.”

Is anyone else getting sick of this bullshit? I can only hope that anyone who hears it realizes how downright ridiculous it is - unfortunately, I fear that may not be the case. As a gender non-normative educator in a public middle school, the fervor and confidence with which these ludicrous right-wingers attack trans people’s humanity in instances like this gives me pause, despite my better sense.

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