On Savage Lovecast, Equality Matters' Rachel Percelay Describes How Fox News Turns Transgender People Into Villains

From the October 6 edition of Savage Lovecast:

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DAN SAVAGE (HOST): What is it that you've been doing for the last year at Equality Matters?

RACHEL PERCELAY: So I have been monitoring LGBT media, but I've taken on a special project to look at how Fox News treats trans people and trans ssues

SAVAGE: I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess they treat trans people very, very well.

PERCELAY: You're a little bit wrong.

SAVAGE: I'm wrong? Really? I got that wrong? Well, that's a first. I've never been wrong on the podcast before. Go ahead and correct me. How does Fox News treat trans people and trans issues on their broadcasts?

PERCELAY: So Fox News manages to do kind of the impossible and turn trans people, who, you know, super marginalized group, face a ton of discrimination-

SAVAGE: And violence.

PERCELAY: And violence. I mean, I could go on and spout a ton of statistics. But Fox manages to kind of flip the narrative there and somehow turn trans people into villains, make them seem threatening, kind of greedy, and like they deserve to be mistreated.

SAVAGE: They make them seem like they're greedy for all of the bathrooms.

PERCELAY: All the bathrooms on your taxpayer dollars, you name it. Fox News turns trans people into villains.

SAVAGE: What do you think is the motive behind this? Because we've witnessed this as there's been less currency in attacking lesbian and gay people and bi people, less fear of lesbian, gay and bi people with vast majorities of Americans now knowing someone who's lesbian, gay or bi, there's been this shift to attacking just the T in the LGBT, going after trans people. Is it just a crime of opportunity? Is it because most Americans don't know a trans-person and so the homophobia is less effective so they're just shifting all this bullshit to transphobia.

PERCELAY: Yeah, I mean that's a great question, Dan. Only like 5 percent of Americans actually know someone who's trans, so it's a lot easier for Fox to mistreat trans people, to mock them, to spread misinformation about them without viewers thinking, “huh, that's not true. I have a trans neighbor.”

SAVAGE: Or “that doesn't jive with the trans people I know, that's not what my trans cousin or uncle or friend or co-worker is like.”

PERCELAY: Yeah, exactly. And another way that Fox continues to do that, by not allowing trans guests to come on the air. So I did a counting project where I watched every single mention, every single time that Fox talked about trans people over the past year. And there was 20-something different segments, full segments about transgender people without the network inviting a single transgender guest to speak about trans people.

SAVAGE: That's appaling.

PERCELAY: Yeah, and Fox has no problem inviting anti-LGBT hate groups to talk about trans people. But they don't even give trans people the opportunity or the chance to defend themselves from some of the really awful things that they say.

SAVAGE: And this stuff is dangerous, the transphobia. And Equality Matters and Media Matters have both done a really remarkable job of documenting the atrocities on Fox. And the transphobia that Fox pumps into homes in red states all around the country is toxic and dangerous because there are vulnerable trans people out there and vulnerable young trans people in homes that are blasting Fox News round the clock. And it literally puts them in mortal peril. That this can get people killed, what Fox News is doing.

PERCELAY: Yeah, exactly.

SAVAGE: Demonizing trans people, making trans people look like predators who are after you. In the same way they attempted, the right-wing hate machine attempted, to make gay people look like we were trying to destroy the family. And finally that collapsed because people saw through it. But right now, they're kind of successfully, Fox News making trans people look like they are doing this, they are pretending to be women, trans women so they can access bathrooms and attack cisgender women, which is bullshit.

PERCELAY: Yeah. We've completely debunked that myth. We've talked to experts in 12 different states. We talked to school representatives everywhere, no one has ever seen an instance of a man pretending to be a woman so he could sneak into a bathroom and somehow get away with sexually assaulting a woman.