Fox News' Bill O'Reilly continued a pattern of transphobic commentary when he said that bringing a 12-year old boy to Hooters was comparable to allowing transgender students to use appropriate locker rooms or restrooms -- a right that O'Reilly believes will be exploited by mischievous adolescents who want to spy on the opposite sex -- noting the difference between bringing a 12 year old to Hooters and allowing a “guy who thinks he's a girl” into a women's locker room is that Hooters has chicken wings.
On the November 12 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, the eponymous host opened a segment with a story about a middle school football coach who made the controversial decision to bring his 12-15 year old players to a Hooters restaurant to celebrate a win. When liberal contributor Alan Colmes expressed opposition to bringing children of that age to Hooters, O'Reilly inexplicably began comparing the Hooters trip to allowing transgendered students into the locker rooms and school bathrooms that comport with their gender identity.
O'Reilly was incredulous after Colmes rejected the comparison, saying, “The transsexual in the locker room, in the bathroom, and all of that, you're fine with that. But you won't take the kid to Hooters.” He then prescribed his “way to deal with” transgendered students, saying, “The way to deal with it is basically, look, if you're born a boy you stay in the boys locker room,” but once “you're an adult you can go where you want.”
O'REILLY: In -- the transsexual in the locker room, in the bathroom, and all of that, you're fine with that. But you won't take the kid to hooters.
COLMES: There happen to be people of indeterminate gender who are out in public, you have to deal with it. People have to learn to deal with that. The fact is --
O'REILLY: The way to deal with it is basically, look, if you're born a boy you stay in the boys locker room even though -- and then when you're an adult you can go where you want. But this is what gets me about you -- you, Colmes. You. You. You say no to Hooters, but yes to the transgender. Here comes a guy who thinks he's a girl, into the locker room.
COLMES: One issue has nothing to do with the other, Bill.
O'REILLY: Yes, it does!
COLMES: No it doesn't.
O'REILLY: It's not like Monica with the strip club!
COLMES: One is taking a 12-year-old to see 'T and A,' and the other is someone who happens to be of indeterminate gender because that's the way they're built. It's a different thing.
O'REILLY: Listen. If the guy goes into the girls' locker room, there's going to be what you just described! But you're ok with it!
COLMES: So a girls' locker room is like Hooters to you?
O'REILLY: Have you ever been in a locker room, Colmes?
COLMES: I actually have. Yes.
O'REILLY: They don't have chicken wings but -- it's called a locker room for a reason. Do you see what I'm saying?
COLMES: It's a different purpose.
O'REILLY: Do you see what I'm saying, Crowley?
O'REILLY: Do you see what I'm saying about Colmes? He's down with the transgender going into the opposite locker room, but he won't take the kid to Hooters?
O'Reilly's commentary is merely his latest chapter in a history rife with anti-LGBT commentary and attacks on people who don't conform to strict gender norms. Most recently, O'Reilly said that allowing transgender students to use appropriate facilities is “the biggest con in the world.” He also declared a California transgender rights law “anarchy and madness” and dispatched his producer to ridicule the “gays” and “transvestites” participating in Brooklyn, NY's historic Mermaid Parade. O'Reilly has advised parents to punish boys who like the color pink and warned that watching transgender people on television might cause kids to experiment with homosexuality.
Fox News's a transphobia problem extends well beyond The O'Reilly Factor. A number of equality groups including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Basic Rights Oregon have criticized the network for its transphobic content.