For over a decade, gay rights opponents peddled a set of myths and fearmongering tactics to try to sway voters against marriage equality and basic rights for gay people. Now that marriage equality is the law of the land, anti-LGBT organizations have started recycling the same bogus scare tactics to target the new bogeyman of the LGBT rights movement -- the transgender community.
The "slippery slope" argument has been one of the most popular arguments used by opponents of LGBT equality, aimed at making even basic protections for LGBT people appear dangerous.
In debates over sexual orientation non-discrimination laws, opponents warned that prohibiting discrimination against gay people would begin a slippery slope towards protecting pedophilia and bestiality.
Similarly, in the debate over marriage equality, anti-gay activists predicted that allowing same-sex couples to marry would cause a slippery slope to legalized polygamy, bestiality, incest, and pedophilia.
That idea persisted even after gay couples had been legally wedding in Massachusetts for over a decade without opening "a Pandora's box." Immediately following the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision in June 2015, anti-gay advocates continued to argue that marriage equality would undermine the legal limits on who could get married.
Now that the debate over marriage equality has died down, the "transgender slippery slope" argument is emerging in debates over protections for trans people. Opponents suggest that allowing transgender people to define their gender identity would open the floodgates, with people claiming to be a cat, a flower, or a Cocker Spaniel. Fox News and other conservative media outlets have deemed non-discrimination protections for transgender people a "slippery slope." As one prominent anti-LGBT group declared, accommodating transgender people is "not a slippery slope, but a trap door to sexual nihilism."
Opponents of legal protections for gay people have also warned that these protections threaten religious liberty -- specifically the religious liberty of Christians who oppose homosexuality. One of the most commonly cited myths in the fight against marriage equality was the idea that legalizing same-sex marriage would cause churches or pastors to be forced to marry gay couples, despite clear religious exemptions in marriage equality legislation. Anti-LGBT groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Alliance Defending Freedom , and Family Research Council (FRC) hyped claims that pastors and churches were in danger of being forced to perform same-sex marriages.
Despite the obvious constitutional protections for churches and ministers, both conservative and mainstream media outlets parroted religious liberty talking points, even years after states began legalizing same-sex marriage without issue.
Baseless concerns about religious liberty are now playing a major part in debates about accommodations for transgender people. In March, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson claimed that a broad "religious freedom" law was needed to protect churches from being forced to build gender neutral bathrooms. In the same vein, the anti-LGBT legal organization leading the fight against accommodating transgender students claimed that these protections somehow violate the "religious liberty" of other students. And in November, an anti-gay hate-group successfully canceled a school reading of the trans-supportive picture book "I Am Jazz," with the claim that reading the book would "undermin[e] the religious free exercise" of teachers and students.
Opponents of gay equality used to be wildly effective at invoking concerns about the safety of children to argue against basic protections for gay people.
For decades, the myth that gay men are more likely to engage in pedophilia than straight men has been a central right-wing talking point. Anti-LGBT organizations frequently employed the talking point to argue against marriage equality, allowing gay parents to adopt children, and even accepting gay Boy Scout troop leaders.
Though the pedophilia talking point has fallen out of favor with mainstream anti-gay groups, fearmongering about children's well-being remains a central focus of anti-gay politics. Opponents of gay equality regularly cite pseudoscience to falsely argue that the children of gay parents fare less well than the children of straight parents. Others warn that prohibiting anti-gay discrimination would cause gay people to have "inappropriate" jobs like school teachers.
Child-focused fearmongering has been incredibly effective in anti-LGBT politics. In a 2012 report, Political Research Associates noted that the "harm to kids" theme had a "clear, negative impact on how voters felt about same-sex marriage." Even people who generally support LGBT equality become anxious when opponents warn about potential harm to children.
Which helps explain why anti-LGBT groups are using nearly identical talking points in attacks on transgender equality. In cities and states across the country, opponents of non-discrimination protections for transgender people have adopted the myth that these protections would be exploited by sexual predators looking to enter women's bathrooms and commit sexual assault -- especially against young girls. Government experts, advocates for sexual assault victims, and law enforcement officials have debunked that talking point, but it continues to dominate debates about transgender equality.
In November, opponents of transgender equality in Houston, Texas successfully demonstrated how horror stories about children's safety can impact public and media discussions about trans non-discrimination. The city's broad non-discrimination law was repealed following a public misinformation campaign that relied heavily on an ad picturing a man following a young girl into a public bathroom stall:
The transgender community continues to face astronomical rates of harassment and discrimination at work, in school, in public places, and even from law enforcement. While public attitudes about same-sex marriage and acceptance of homosexuality shifted considerably over the past decade, acceptance of transgender people has lagged behind. Given that only 16 percent of Americans personally know someone who is transgender, it's still common for anti-LGBT groups to spread myths about the transgender community with impunity.
But these myths aren't new -- and journalists should recognize that the talking points being used to attack transgender equality are the same bogus, recycled attacks that anti-LGBT groups have been peddling against gay people for years.
2015 was an important year in education policy, with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the beginning of the 2016 election campaigns, and local fights for teachers and public schools making national headlines. In an important year for students and teachers across the education spectrum, however, some media outlets used their platforms to push falsehoods. Here are five of the worst media failures on public education this year.
This summer, teachers union opponent and former journalist Campbell Brown launched a "non-profit, non-partisan news site about education," called The Seventy Four. In spite of the site's stated mission to combat "misinformation and political spin" with "investigation, expertise, and experience," Brown hired Eric Owens, who has a long history of attacks on students and teachers, to write for the site. Owens has a long history of attacking and mocking teachers and students with transphobic, sexist, victim-blaming, and racially insensitive rhetoric as the education editor at the Daily Caller.
This year, The Wall Street Journal continued its campaign of misinformation on teachers unions, pushing harmful, union-opposed policies such as a Louisiana voucher program that was found to violate desegregation requirements and a Washington, D.C. voucher program reported to waste federal dollars on "unsuitable learning environments." The WSJ editorial board often explicitly attributed its support of these unsuccessful policies to combating teachers unions. In an October editorial, for example, the board wrote that being "unpopular with unions... ought to be a requirement for any education leadership position," ignoring the troubling realities of the programs they attempted to defend in spite of well-founded union concerns.
As ESSA moved through Congress in late November, the editorial board doubled down on its teacher-blaming rhetoric, claiming that the new legislation was favored by "teachers unions who want less accountability," and advocating for the continuation of unpopular high-stakes testing and voucher policies in the states.
The Washington Post editorial board similarly advocated for continuing the extensive testing requirements of the No Child Left Behind legislation, lending support to a high-stakes testing policy with questionable public or research support, and villainized teachers unions in the process. In its February editorial on the issue, the Post claimed that teachers unions "give lip service to accountability as long as their members aren't the ones held to account," and cited this self-interest as the source of unions' opposition to flawed teacher evaluation models that utilize students' standardized test scores to punish teachers.
Fox News featured offensive and often inaccurate commentary on public education and the teaching profession throughout the year -- in some cases doubling down on the anti-teacher rhetoric many Fox figures pushed in 2014.
In February, Outnumbered co-host Kennedy kicked off the teacher-bashing by arguing that "there really shouldn't be public schools," before the hosts agreed that the federal Department of Education ought to be abolished. In April, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy slurred prospective bilingual educators, referring to immigrants with legal permission to work in the United States as "illegals" during a segment highlighting an initiative to boost language learning in schools.
In August, Fox & Friends included a segment where Fox News regular Frank Luntz conducted a live focus group segment about public education. Questions for the focus group included "Who here has issue with teachers unions?" and "Doesn't it make you angry that you're putting all this money into public schools?" Luntz followed up his leading question about teachers unions by singling out a teacher from the group and asking him to "defend" himself.
In an October discussion about New York City schools on Fox's The Five, the co-hosts implored the city's public school teachers to "become a better teacher" and "don't suck at your job." That same month, co-host Juan Williams attacked unions' endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, asserting that an "unholy alliance between education unions and Democrats" would be "dangerous for our kids" and would "hurt" "minority communities" and "poor people."
This year also marked the launch of the 2016 presidential campaign season, with five Republican and three Democratic debates held this fall. While candidates outlined their positions time and again on national security issues, women's health care, and taxes, the debates barely mentioned education issues. A Media Matters search of all eight full debate transcripts found only nine mentions of any variation of the term "teach." In fact, according to this review, no candidate or moderator uttered the phrases "No Child Left Behind," "Race To The Top," or "Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)" throughout the 2015 debate season, despite the recent passage of the landmark ESSA legislation replacing No Child Left Behind.
Moderators did discuss schools and teachers a handful of times throughout the debate season, mostly in relation to national security. In the August 6 Republican debate on Fox News, moderator Bret Baier questioned former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on their disagreement on the Common Core state standards and asked former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) whether he would abolish the Department of Education, among other federal agencies. The moderators of the October 28 CNBC Republican debate also mentioned teachers once, when moderator Carlos Quintanilla asked Donald Trump about his comments that educators ought to be armed. And on CNN's December 15 Republican debate, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked candidates about the closure of the Los Angeles Unified school district following an email threat.
The other five debates did not feature questions regarding K-12 education policy.
Public school educators and their unions in major cities made national headlines in 2015 following strikes, contentious contract negotiations, school board elections, and school funding battles. While research shows that teachers unions not only protect the rights of educators but also benefit students and their communities, state newspapers editorializing on union activities framed unions and educators as selfishly seeking higher pay at the expense of others.
Amidst a victory year for teachers unions on several fronts, Media Matters found that state newspapers in New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, California, and Washington published editorials distorting the facts to question the motives of teachers and attack their right to organize.
In Buffalo, New York, The Buffalo News repeatedly claimed that teachers unions supporting a parent-led movement against standardized testing want to maintain "the wretched, costly, dysfunctional status quo" and require children to "pay the price." In Scranton, Pennsylvania, The Scranton Times-Tribune lamented that teachers unions had the ability to strike and dismissed teachers' calls to be treated with respect and dignity. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, The Albuquerque Journal mocked teachers' concerns over an unfair evaluation method that was subsequently struck down by a district court that agreed with the unions. In Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Times dismissed unions' worries that a charter expansion plan created by one of the paper's education reporting funders would financially jeopardize local public schools, telling those who opposed the plan to "quit whining." And in Seattle, Washington, The Seattle Times repeatedly attacked the local union for "using their students as pawns," as they advocated for fair pay, guaranteed recess time, more funding for schools, and greater equity in school discipline policies.
These editorial board attacks on educators -- because of the readers they serve and the prominence of local priorities on education policy -- have the dangerous potential to shift public conversation away from the facts and to pit communities against the teachers who advocate for them. After a year where the importance of education policy has become more critical than ever, hopefully this disturbing trend will not continue in 2016.
Image by Ian MacKenzie under a Creative Commons license.
After NPR's The Diane Rehm Show hosted a spokesman from a notorious anti-gay hate group during a discussion of same-sex adoption, NPR's ombudsman admitted that the show erred in failing to properly identify the group.
On the December 10 edition of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, guest host Melissa Ross interviewed Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council (FRC), to discuss legal battles over parenting and adoption rights for same-sex couples. While the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed FRC as an anti-gay hate group since 2010, NPR didn't identify Sprigg as a hate group spokesman, and Sprigg used the platform to peddle misinformation about LGBT equality.
In a post responding to criticisms of the segment, NPR's ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen joined Diane Rehm in acknowledging that the show erred by "not us[ing] a clear identifier" for Sprigg. Rehm admitted that she has "to do a better job of being more careful about identification":
I heard from many people after Media Matters for America, which calls itself a "progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media," wrote a blog post objecting to a guest on the Dec. 10 Diane Rehm Show (which had a guest host, Melissa Ross, that day). Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, was one of four guests invited to discuss the day's topic: legal battles over parenting and adoption rights for same-sex couples.
Media Matters wrote that NPR (which distributes the show but does not produce it) gave Sprigg "a national platform to peddle misinformation about same-sex parenting." The organization Faithful America also sent an email blast that said: "Tell NPR: Don't let anti-gay hate group speak for Christians."
In the last 45 seconds of the program, as Ross was focused on wrapping up, Sprigg said that "most orthodox Christians" believe that "engaging in homosexual conduct is contrary to the will of God," a claim that depends on the murky definition of "orthodox Christians." (See this May 2015 Pew Research Center poll looking at Americans' attitudes over whether their religious beliefs are in conflict with homosexuality.) But as I read the transcript, the show's other guests forcefully pushed back against Sprigg's other claims at pretty much every turn.
I asked Rehm about the guest booking. Her view (with which I agree): "I certainly don't see that there's a problem having someone like that on the program." Where the show erred, she said, "was we did not use a clear identifier [for Sprigg] other than the title of his organization." She added, "We have to do a better job of being more careful about identification."
NPR hosted a spokesman from a notorious anti-gay hate group during a discussion of same-sex adoption, giving him a national platform to peddle misinformation about same-sex parenting.
On the December 10 edition of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, guest host Melissa Ross interviewed Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council (FRC) to discuss legal battles over parenting and adoption rights for same-sex couples.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed FRC as an anti-gay hate group since 2010 due to the organization's propagation of known falsehoods about LGBT people. The group has a history of making wild and inflammatory attacks on LGBT equality while masquerading as a serious policy organization in the media. Sprigg, who served as an ordained Baptist minister before joining FRC, has called for recriminalizing gay sex in the U.S. and suggested LGBT people should be "export[ed]" from the country.
But NPR didn't identify Sprigg as a hate group spokesman, and Sprigg used the platform to peddle misinformation about LGBT equality. Sprigg cited a widely discredited paper to suggest that children raised by same-sex couples perform poorly, and resurrected the long debunked horror story that Catholic adoption agencies have been shut down for refusing to serve same-sex couples. While guest host Melissa Ross did not push back on Sprigg's talking points, fellow guest Emily Hetch-McGowan, Director of Public Policy the Family Equality Council, called out FRC's use of discredited research:
PETER SPRIGG: And I think that certainly there is abundant reason to believe that children do best when raised by a married mother and father. And within the context of foster care the judge has an obligation to do what's in the best interest of the child. And he exercised that discretion.
MELISSA ROSS: And what research does the Family Research Council cite to buttress the claim that a child is better off with a heterosexual couple?
SPRIGG: Well, there's an abundance of research showing that children do better overall when raised by their own married biological father who are committed to one another in a life-long marriage. There are just reams of research showing that. Now this is a slightly different situation because of the fact that you're dealing with a situation where they are being removed from their biological parents. But we think that there is evidence to suggest that children would do better with a mother and father even if it's not their biological parents.
Breitbart News headlined a post about HIV rates in the transgender community with the anti-transgender slur "trannies," accompanied by an image of a 15 year-old transgender girl.
Breitbart News contributor and anti-gay hate group leader Austin Ruse headlined a December 2 post with the anti-transgender slur "trannies." The slur was accompanied with an image of Jazz Jennings, a 15-year-old transgender activist who wrote the book I Am Jazz, and stars in the TLC series "I Am Jazz."
Ruse's post referenced a recent meta-analysis by the World Health Organization detailing high rates of HIV among transgender women. Ruse used the study to attack Jazz Jennings as "a gender confused 15-year-old boy" and suggest that it's "dangerous" to "become 'transgender.'"
From a December 2 post on Breitbart News:
A new study from the World Health Organization shows how dangerous it is to become "transgender."
The WHO performed a meta-analysis of 15 different countries and found that men who dress as women are 49 times more likely to contact the HIV virus than the general population. Men who dress as women and also prostitute themselves are nine times more likely to contract HIV than those who do not prostitute themselves.
From the December 1 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show:
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Tony Perkins, a right-wing radio talk show host and president of the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council (FRC), has hosted most of the Republican presidential candidates on his radio show or at FRC-sponsored events.
From the November 23 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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Right-wing Colorado pastor and radio host Kevin Swanson suggested that the terrorist attack at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris was "a message from God" and posed a question to the "concert-goers, at least those who survived: 'Did you love the devil and did you love the devil's works as your friends were being shot up in that massacre?'"
On the November 19 edition of his show Generations Radio, Swanson said he was "deadly serious" about wanting to ask survivors of the terrorist attack, which occurred during a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal, whether they "appreciate[d] the works of the devil as their friends where being shot up in that concert" (emphasis added):
SWANSON: These events are important. I think it's important to analyze them. They're symbolic to what's happening in our entire society today, and when you get a wake up call like what happened at France's 9/11 last Friday night, at the concert I think we all need to pay attention to what's happening. This is a message from God. God is shooting a shot across the bow and we better be paying attention to this. Music matters, culture matters. Culture ultimately is a reflection of world view, and so if you want to know world view just take a look at the culture and say 'oh that's what the world view is all about.'
SWANSON: It's a warning. Certainly a providential irony here. These are the works of the devil, the mass murder itself, are the works of the devil. In other words, there was a demonstration of the devil and his works happening at the time that they were singing the song "who'll love the devil, who'll sing his song, I'll love the devil, I'll sing his song." At the moment they were singing that, the devil himself or at least the devil influencing these murderers and entered in showed the concert-goers the works of the devil. Now at that point, I think we need to ask concert-goers, at least those who survived "Did you love the devil and did you love the devil's works as your friends were being shot up in that massacre?" I think we ought to ask the question right now. And I'm very serious, I'm deadly serious asking this question. "You were dancing to this worship service to the devil, the devil came in, the devil did what the devil does best: he killed, he massacred, he destroyed. As the devil did his works," again, the microphone is in the face of those who were attending the conference [sic] right now, I'm asking the question of those attending that concert "did you appreciate the works of the devil as your friends where being shot up in that concert?"
Swanson has a track record of inflammatory rhetoric, as well as being an influential figure in right-wing political circles. According to Right Wing Watch, during his closing remarks at the November 7 National Religious Liberties Conference he organized, Swanson declared that the Bible called for the death penalty as the punishment for homosexuality. The conference was attended by Republican presidential candidates including Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and then-candidate Bobby Jindal.
Swanson's extreme rhetoric has drawn media attention to the GOP candidates who attended his November conference. During the November 5 edition of CNN's The Lead, host Jake Tapper asked Ted Cruz if his alliance with Swanson wasn't "in some ways" an endorsement for "conservative intolerance." During the November 9 edition of her show on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow also blasted the conference's homophobic content and criticized the three Republicans attending, asking whether Fox Business would push candidates to explain their stance during the November 10 debate (emphasis added):
This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality. This religious liberties conference in Iowa this weekend. And there were pamphlets about why gay people should be executed. There were multiple discussions about it from the stage.
There were at least two other speakers besides the host of the event who have publicly called for gay people to be executed. There was discussion at the event in print about whether or not -- there was discussion at the event by people who have described the finite differences between the different methods of execution that should be used to kill people should they be thrown off cliffs, should they be stoned to death? Apparently both of those are sanctions means of execution for the crime of being gay.
And again, this host of the event who interviewed three Republican presidential candidates on stage, who convened the entire event, he has spoken in the past about the need to execute gay people in order to live in a properly Christian society. He did not hide that light under bushel once the candidates were there. He talked about that repeatedly at this event from the same stage that these candidates appeared.
And Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are going to be at the kids' table at the next Republican debate, which is tomorrow night in Milwaukee. Ted Cruz will be on the main stage because Ted Cruz is now polling third in a number of polls nationwide.
I don't know if that is considered to be a scandal anymore in Republican politics. I mean, it will be interesting to see if it comes up in tomorrow night's debate, right? I don't know if our friends over at the Fox Business Channel will feel comfortable raising this issue with Senator Cruz or with any of the other candidates who went to the "kill the gays" event this weekend.
Eagles of Death Metal is a side project of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, who is raising money for the families of those killed during the attacks.
During a hearing on a bill aimed at denying protections for transgender students, a Wisconsin state representative called out the extreme anti-LGBT legal organization working to enact similar laws across the country.
On November 19, the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Education held a hearing on AB 469, a bill that would prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity. The bill was based in part on "model" legislation drawn up by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
State Representative Mandela Barnes (D) called out Alliance Defending Freedom for working to criminalize homosexuality abroad during the hearing on the bill:
REP. MANDELA BARNES (D): It was said that the bill came from a group called... the Alliance for Defending Freedom. And I just want to confirm that that's the case, that's where the bill -
REP. JESSE KREMER (R): No, the bill did not originate there. The bill originated somewhere - there was a bill that was being worked on that was more like the Minnesota bill, and that's what we were looking at originally. We were also looking at the Nevada bill, and as I mentioned, I talked to the authors in both of those states, and then we found out about Alliance Defending Freedom bill, policy, that they had kind of come up with also - so we kind of merged the policies together to get something that would hopefully work for Wisconsin for everyone.
BARNES: I don't know how much people really know about Alliance Defending Freedom. They're not really a friendly group.
REP. JEREMY THIESFELDT (R): Representative Barnes, Alliance Defending Freedom is not on trial here today.
BARNES: Oh, I understand that.
THIESFELDT: Keep your comments to the bill, please.
BARNES: But it's sort of the company we keep and where the ideas come from. We should be really aware of that, really conscious of where some of this policy is coming from. Because this is an organization that's tried to criminalize homosexuality in other countries. And I don't think that's the type of place where we should be getting any of our policy here in the state of Wisconsin.
Barnes' description of ADF's extreme anti-LGBT work is accurate. While the group is best known for its "religious liberty" work, ADF has also sought to promote and defend anti-sodomy laws that criminalize gay sex in countries like Belize and Jamaica.
ADF has launched a concerted nationwide effort to push its own "model" policies denying transgender students equal access to school facilities. As State Representative Jesse Kremer, who introduced AB 469, pointed out, Wisconsin's bill mirrors similar legislation in Minnesota and Nevada. As Media Matters has documented, those bills also drew heavily from ADF's model legislation:
ADF's influence in shaping discriminatory state and school policies is a significant story in the ongoing debate over protections for transgender students. Journalists should follow Representative Barnes' lead and tell audiences what they need to know about ADF, its extreme international work, and the group's campaign to sneak their discriminatory model legislation into statehouses across the country.
The Washington Post's editorial board denounced the "fear-mongering" that "has become a staple" of debates over transgender student rights and led to "tragic discrimination" against transgender students. The fearmongering is based on the debunked "bathroom" myth hyped by right-wing media.
Conservative media have repeatedly and falsely claimed that anti-discrimination policies that protect transgender students would be exploited by students who will pretend pretend to be transgender in order to sneak into restrooms or locker rooms of the opposite sex and behave inappropriately. The myth has been thoroughly debunked by schools and experts from cities and states across the country with existing protections for transgender students.
In a November 17 editorial, the WaPo's editorial board slammed the bathroom myth "fear-mongering" that has "unfortunately become a staple" of the debate surrounding equal-protection for transgender students, while shining a light on how these myths can dangerously foster discrimination against and stigmatization of students. The Post highlighted the "tragic discrimination" an Illinois transgender student encountered after she asked "to change clothes privately within the girls' locker room," noting that accommodating transgender students is a "critical matter for school districts everywhere" and calling for schools to replace "emotion with reason:"
To understand the bid of a female transgender student to use the girls' locker room at her suburban Chicago high school, it is necessary to get past all the fear-mongering that unfortunately has become a staple of these debates about bathrooms. Listen instead to what this young girl has told school officials: about having her own sense of privacy, about being isolated and ostracized and about how all she wants is "to be a girl like every other girl."
It's mystifying that some solution couldn't be reached between the two parties, but details of the two-year investigation prompted by the girl's complaint paint a far different picture than that suggested by the rhetoric of school officials. How the girl, who is undergoing hormone therapy and is recognized by the school as a female in all other respects (including her use of bathrooms), first asked -- and was denied -- an opportunity to change clothes privately within the girls' locker room in an area such as a restroom stall. How the school's insistence she use separate facilities for the past two years has stigmatized her. It is clear from the government's investigation, which included inspection of the facilities and interviews with school staff about conduct common in the locker rooms, that the privacy of all students could be protected without singling out this girl for separate and discriminatory treatment. It is a point that was underscored by the hundreds of students and community members who signed a student-led petition in support of her access to the locker room.
It is estimated that there are very small numbers of transgender students, but as school superintendent Daniel E. Cates pointed out in his public statements, figuring out how to best accommodate them is an emerging and critical matter for school districts everywhere. Those challenges, though, are nothing compared with the difficulties that confront transgender adolescents, so it's important that schools set the example by replacing emotion with reason.
The Post's calls for equality for transgender students are backed by the collective experience of 17 school districts around the nation that have implemented policies protecting transgender students with no negative consequences, and falls during Transgender Awareness Week, which according to LGBT media advocacy organization GLAAD, "help[s] raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people."
From the November 17 edition of Premier Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the November 13 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the November 13 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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Fox News has announced that Jesse Watters, correspondent for The O'Reilly Factor, will be hosting his own show on the network. Watters has a track record of producing segments where he shames homeless Americans and mocks members of the LGBT community. Watters has also repeatedly made disparaging comments about immigrants, women, and African-Americans while guest hosting shows on Fox.