Fox News host Mike Huckabee and his guest, Capitol Resource Institute's Karen England, peddled the discredited myth that California students would be changing their identities on a whim to sneak into opposite sex restrooms and locker rooms in light of a new state law allowing transgender students access to facilities and sports teams that match their gender identities.
On the August 18 edition of Huckabee, England and Huckabee skirted a serious discussion of the bullying and discrimination encountered by transgender youth. Instead, Huckabee granted England a platform to spout ignorant ideas about how the law would affect students:
ENGLAND: This is very extreme, very radical, that they are going to let boys wake up one day, decide that they're girls, and let them have access to our restrooms and our locker rooms in all of our public schools in California. This is for kindergarteners as well as high schoolers.
England, it turns out, is not a gender identity expert -- her career has been devoted to right-wing politics. If she were familiar with the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics - which reports that gender identity is generally established by about age four - she may not have been so shocked that the new law “is for kindergarteners as well as high schoolers.”
Moreover, England would also have recognized that boys won't simply “wake up one day [and] decide that they're girls.” Not only do scientific findings rebut such claims, they also have no empirical basis. School districts that have enacted similar protections have reported no instances of inappropriate bathroom behavior. Right-wing media figures like Fox's Bill O'Reilly and Greg Gutfeld have sought to stoke “bathroom panic,” based on nothing more than their claims that they themselves would take advantage of the law to sneak into women's restrooms and locker rooms.
Huckabee also obsessed over what students may do in restrooms. As he hearkened back to a time when LGBT individuals faced even greater social stigma and bigotry, Huckabee suggested that students who benefit from the law would only invite further bullying: “I'm having a hard time, thinking back on my school days, that a biological boy going into the girls' restroom would be less subject to being ridiculed and bullied than not.”