Connect with us

News Analysis

Conservatives are now blaming science for low trans regret rates

Medical journal JAMA found that the regret rate for trans chest masculinization, commonly referred to as “top surgery” is extremely low

Published

on

Landon Richie, Texas University student and trans activist (Left) & Noah Finn Adams, a British singer-songwriter, trans activist & YouTuber have both had documented successful gender affirming top surgery and serve as social media role models for younger trans-males.

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – A study published last Wednesday in the prestigious medical journal JAMA Surgery found that the regret rate for transgender chest masculinization, commonly referred to as “top surgery,” is extremely low.

Almost none of the participants expressed regret following their procedures. The research is in line with many other studies which indicate low regret rates for transgender individuals — rates notably lower than many other prevalent medical procedures. This contradicts the accounts of political detransitioners who have testified in U.S. hearings, claiming that gender-affirming care leads to “regret and irreversible damage.”

In response, conservative anti-trans influencers and thought leaders erupted at the findings, offering wild and incredulous explanations, and some even challenged the validity of scientific medical journals themselves.

The study itself is titled, “Long-Term Regret and Satisfaction With Decision Following Gender-Affirming Mastectomy,” and sought to study the rate of regret and satisfaction after 2 years or more following gender affirming top surgery. The study’s results were stunning – in 139 surgery patients, the median regret score was 0/100 and the median satisfaction score was 5/5 with similar means as well. In other words… regret was virtually nonexistent in the study among post-op transgender people.

In fact, the regret was so low that many statistical techniques would not even work due to the uniformity of the numbers:

In this cross-sectional survey study of participants who underwent gender-affirming mastectomy 2.0 to 23.6 years ago, respondents had a high level of satisfaction with their decision and low rates of decisional regret. The median Satisfaction With Decision score was 5 on a 5-point scale, and the median decisional regret score was 0 on a 100-point scale. This extremely low level of regret and dissatisfaction and lack of variance in scores impeded the ability to determine meaningful associations among these results, clinical outcomes, and demographic information.

The numbers are in line with many other studies on satisfaction among transgender people. Detransition rates, for instance, have been pegged at somewhere between 1-3%, with transgender youth seeing very low detransition rates. Surgery regret is in line with at least 27 other studies that show a pooled regret rate of around 1% – compare this to regret rates from things like knee surgery, which can be as high as 30%. Gender affirming care appears to be extremely well tolerated with very low instances of regret when compared to other medically necessary care.

Unsurprisingly, the study provoked a significant reaction from conservative circles. Nearly every conservative figure associated with endorsing anti-trans legislation throughout the U.S. offered their perspective on the research. Leor Sapir of the Manhattan Institute, known for advocating against gender-affirming care, seemed to suggest that individuals discontented with their surgeries might not participate in surveys inquiring about potential regrets.

Chloe Cole, a political detransitioner, appeared to hint at a similar stance. On Twitter, these reactions were met with widespread jest, with many drawing humorous parallels to how these people might treat Yelp reviews and customer service feedback:

A variety of tweets mocking conservative responses to study showing low transition regret rates.

When initial arguments fell short, these figures began to scrutinize the scientific process itself. SEGM, a known anti-trans group, issued a non-peer-reviewed “response” arguing that esteemed medical journals serve as “platforms for propagating politically-driven research.” Leor Sapir criticized the peer-review system in gender medicine studies, labeling it as “a broken chain of trust.”

Perhaps most amusingly, Matt Walsh circulated a video asserting that scientific research holds little value, suggesting the low regret rates in the study are because “transgender people are just not admitting their regret” and are “lying to themselves.”

Leor Sapir calling scientific medical journals a “broken chain of trust”

The intense conservative backlash, to the point of disputing reputable scientific journals, likely stems from the fact that reduced regret rates weaken a central narrative these figures have championed in legal and legislative spaces.

Over the past three years, anti-trans entities have showcased political detransitioners, reminiscent of the ex-gay campaigns from the 1990s and 2000s, to argue that regrets over gender transition and detransition are widespread. Some have even asserted detransition rates of up to 80%, a claim that has been broadly debunked.

Yet, research consistently struggles to find substantial evidence supporting this narrative. The rarity of detransition and regret is underscored by Florida’s inability to enlist a single resident to bear witness against a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on gender-affirming care.

As we progress, courts will continue scrutinize evidence surrounding gender-affirming care in lawsuits aimed at repealing oppressive transgender care bans. Time and again, Republicans have failed in these legal battles, largely due to the absence of robust medical expertise and scientifically credible arguments.

A case in point is Arkansas, where a full review of the facts by a Judge underscored the overwhelming scientific support for gender-affirming care. Should anti-trans groups and Republicans defending these statutes choose to dismiss respected scientific journals outright, their chances of prevailing in court will only diminish further.

****************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

News Analysis

Conservatives find new LGBTQ+ outrage: Paw Patrol

It’s hard to keep track of everything conservative’s have cancelled for LGBTQ+ representation in recent months

Published

on

Erin In The Morning/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Bud Light beer. Costa coffee. Target clothing. It’s hard to keep track of everything conservative’s have cancelled for LGBTQ+ representation in recent months. It seems even the mere mention of a transgender person is enough to get a company targeted these days, and a single rainbow flag could result in harassment and bomb threats.

Now, conservatives have turned their eyes to a new target to be outraged over: Paw Patrol.

Or, to be more accurate, their outrage has turned the Paw Patrol spinoff, Rubble & Crew, a construction-themed spinoff of the original animated series. In a viral video on twitter reaching over 2 million people, conservative influencer and former GOP primary candidate Robby Starbuck opened his video with the ominous statement, “They are coming for your children.” The outrageous content in question worthy of such a bold claim? A single nonbinary character wearing trans colored socks, who appears in only a single episode.

You can watch the video here:

Robby Starbuck video on Paw Patrol

The video quickly gained traction among prominent conservative influencers and elected officials. Libs of TikTok, notorious for fueling viral outrage and inciting violence against LGBTQ+ individuals and their supporters, circulated the video. They then falsely alleged that Paw Patrol was “embedding pornographic links on their candy wrappers,” a claim refuted by Twitter’s Community Notes feature. The Daily Caller, often criticized for transphobic content, also wrote an article on the matter. Prominent elected officials, like Tennessee House Majority Leader Representative William Lambeth, who penned the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth, also shared the video.

The video identifies queer author Lindz Amer as the creative mind behind the episode. Amer, a distinguished writer and recipient of the GLAAD Rising Stars Grant awarded for initiatives that “champion intersectional LGBTQ+ issues,” shared their excitement on Instagram: “I wanted to write a nonbinary character that was aspirational and incredibly cool, someone for the pups (and kids at home) to look up to. They found an awesome non-binary actor to voice River and I’m so so happy about how it turned out.”

Representation matters, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. As more individuals embrace their true identities and come out, families are increasingly inclusive of LGBTQ+ members. The Internet and Television Association has observed that over the past two decades, the shift towards greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals can be largely attributed to positive portrayals on TV. Speaking on the matter with the NCTA, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis emphasized the significance of LGBTQ+ representation in children’s programming, noting, “By introducing this level of representation to children’s shows, we foster conversations about embracing differences, ensuring that children begin to cultivate a robust sense of self-worth from a young age.”

In recent months, though, conservatives have sought out to stamp out representation in all aspects of public life. Sixteen states have enacted restrictions on LGBTQ+ content in educational settings, under the guise of “Don’t Say Gay Or Trans” laws. In Florida, an educator was dismissed for as little as showing a Disney film featuring a gay character. GOP attorneys general have penned letters to Target, claiming the sale of LGBTQ+ themed apparel for young people violates obscenity laws. In Georgia, a predetermined mock trial saw a teacher fired for reading the Scholastic Kids book, “My Shadow Is Purple.” Virginia witnessed a lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, calling for the removal of LGBTQ+ books from their shelves. Ironically, the same conservatives who once lambasted the notion of “cancel culture” now seem to have fully embraced it.

For those who want to see the episode, it has just been released. The episode is titled, “The Crew Builds An Observatory,” where the characters join together to help River, the nonbinary character in question, catch a picture of a shooting star. You can watch it now on Nick Jr.

****************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

News Analysis

Court “expert” couldn’t name any medications for blocking puberty

New investigative piece delves into anti-trans experts making the rounds across the nation. One could not name a common puberty blocking drug

Published

on

Hormone associated therapy and sex hormone suppression Lupron (leuprolide) (Screenshot/YouTube Cleveland Clinic)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – A cohort of so-called experts has traveled the United States, raking in more than a million dollars to contest gender-affirming care for trans youth in court battles.

Judges have frequently dismissed them as lacking credibility, yet states continue to shell out for their services. A recent deep dive by HuffPost into court transcripts now casts serious shadows over their proclaimed “expertise.”

Astoundingly, one of these alleged specialists, Dr. James Cantor, couldn’t even identify a single drug used in puberty-blocking treatments for transgender youth.

The article uncovers the details around a group of six witnesses that states have paid over a million dollars to defend anti-trans laws. These witnesses include:

  • Paul Hruz – An endocrinologist who, according to court documents in Arkansas, has never treated a patient for gender dysphoria.
  • Michael Laidlaw – An endocrinologist often associated with the Alliance Defending Freedom who has appeared in conferences that promote “curing homosexuality through faith healing.”
  • James Cantor – A psychologist who did not see youth patients in his care typically, has never diagnosed gender dysphoria in young people, and who subscribes to the much discredited theory of “autogynephelia,” essentially calling being transgender a fetish.
  • Stephen Levine – An ex-WPATH psychiatrist who argues for removal of gender affirming care for transgender inmates.
  • Quentin Van Meter – Former president of the American College of Pediatricians, a SPLC-designated hate group that supports sexual orientation therapy.
  • Patrick Lappert – A doctor who is also a deacon for Courage International, a conversion therapy organization encouraging gay people to “live chaste lives.”

Judges have consistently ruled these witnesses as not credible. For example, in Arkansas, Judge Moody declared Dr. Lappert and Dr. Hruz unqualified—both had attempted to defend the state’s law.

Moody pointed out that their views on gender-affirming care “are rooted in ideology rather than science.” In Florida, a judge emphasized in a footnote that Dr. Hruz appeared as “a deeply biased advocate” and highlighted the underlying ideological insinuation from these so-called experts that “transgender identity is not real, that it is made up.”

These witnesses have, at times, made statements widely decried as cruel towards transgender people. Dr. Hruz has, for instance, once allegedly answered claims of transgender suicidality with the statement: “some children are born into this world to suffer and die.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Lappert, in an interview on a Catholic YouTube channel, even compares pronouns to heresy, stating “no one is served by heresy.”

Now, in this latest investigative piece by HuffPost, new court transcripts have been analyzed and unveiled, including this stunning deposition of Dr. James Cantor, when he was unable to name a single puberty blocker:

Because of moments like this, judges at the district court level have frequently ruled against anti-trans experts on the scientific grounds for bans on gender-affirming care. Specifically, in cases from FloridaArkansas, and Tennessee, judges determined that the facts robustly endorse gender-affirming care’s efficacy in curbing suicidality, anxiety, and depression in transgender youth.

Yet, some of these rulings have been overturned at the appellate level in ongoing court fights. This shift isn’t due to appellate judges being persuaded by these witnesses’ testimonies. Instead, they lean on the recent Dobbs abortion decision, which permits such bans based on the premise that gender-affirming care “is not deeply rooted in this nation’s history and traditions.”

GOP-aligned judges in the 6th and 11th Circuit courts contend that transgender individuals don’t constitute a “quasi-suspect class” under the equal protection clause. They argue that discrimination against transgender individuals doesn’t amount to unlawful gender discrimination, essentially sidestepping the rationale the Supreme Court employed in Bostock v. Clayton County, which established Title VII rights for trans individuals. With this perspective, these circuits employ the “rational basis” review as opposed to intermediate scrutiny.

This means states aren’t obligated to demonstrate that these bans are precisely targeted and evidence-backed, but merely that the law has a rational connection to a legitimate governmental objective. This stance diverges from the 8th Circuit Court, which sustained the preliminary injunction in Arkansas using intermediate scrutiny.

To the advantage of these state “experts,” they can persistently promote pseudoscientific perspectives on transgender care without genuinely substantiating the care’s purported harm. This endeavor has proven exceedingly profitable for them.

Based on public records requests, state and local governments have disbursed $1.1 million to such experts and an additional $6.6 million to affiliated teams. These numbers, as reported by HuffPost, likely are half of the true dollar figure given that many states did not release their spending.

There are many more court cases left – challenges are currently proceeding in places like MontanaNorth DakotaOklahoma, and more states have court cases currently underway. Undoubtedly, these experts will continue to travel and defend anti-trans state laws in many of these states.

You can read the full investigative report from HuffPost here.

****************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Candace Owens suspended for anti-LGBTQ YouTube hate again

The Daily Wire personality’s channel has recently featured false accusations that the LGBTQ “agenda” is to push pedophilia

Published

on

Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By  Ari Drennen | WASHINGTON – A short video posted Tuesday on the Daily Wire’s YouTube channel contained a by-now familiar disclosure: the platform had suspended Candace Owens, “prohibiting her from posting or appearing on any of the Daily Wire’s YouTube channels.” Multiple Daily Wire personalities have triggered enforcement actions by the platform for their frequent vitriol against LGBTQ people.

In announcing the news, Daily Wire personality Michael Knowles did not say how long the suspension was expected to last, but Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing stated in June that Owens and Knowles had both received two strikes against their accounts for violating YouTube’s policies on hate speech. Three strikes against a YouTube account in a 90-day period can lead to its termination. Because the Daily Wire did not confirm the timing of the first strike, it is possible that it occurred prior to the current 90 window, leaving the podcaster with two strikes.

In response to a request for comment, a YouTube spokesperson stated: “We issued a strike to the Candace Owens Podcast channel for violating our hate speech policy, which prohibits content promoting hatred against protected individuals or groups, including the LGBTQ+ community.”

The video “Carlee Russell The Female Jussie Smollet?!” appears to have been removed from Owens’ channel. Media Matters previously reported on comments featured in the video, which followed Owens’ publication of an interview titled, “Is Homosexuality Ruining Western Civilization?” and included the claim that “it is gay men that are abusing children” in the Catholic Church.

Independent analysis still shows, however, that Owens’ YouTube channel, which is estimated to earn as much as $1.1 million per yearremains monetized with advertiser content. Knowles’ show, which Social Blade estimates to bring in as much as $3 million annually, is monetized as well. 

Knowles responded to his own prior suspension by removing the most extreme anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from his show and telling his audience that they could find the content — including a members-only segment he called “Trans Tuesday” — on the Daily Wire’s website. Owens, meanwhile, plowed ahead with vicious attacks against gay people

Content from before Owens’ previous suspension featured accusations that anybody who shopped at the retail chain Target was “gay” and “a pervert,” claims that “transgenderism” is “a cancer and we should fight it,” and boasts that the podcaster could beat up a nonbinary naval service member. YouTube’s hate speech policies say content that “repeatedly targets, insults, and abuses a group based on protected group status across multiple uploads” may lead to penalties. 

YouTube’s enforcement of its policies related to the LGBTQ community has been uneven. In April, after repeatedly targeting TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, Daily Wire personality and “What is a Woman” filmmaker Matt Walsh had advertiser revenue stripped from his channel, only to have it restored 90 days later despite Walsh publicly vowing not to change his behavior.

The banner image on Owens’ YouTube channel advertises her show as streaming live on DailyWire+, Rumble, and X (formerly Twitter). YouTube, notably, is missing from that list.

***************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Political attacks on Trans youth are the tip of the iceberg 

“This is a coordinated & organized effort to erase not just trans people, but LGBTQ people from being able to publicly live our lives”

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Rebecca Farmer | BOULDER, Colo. – The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released Banning Medical Care and Legal Recognition for Transgender People, the fifth in MAP’s report series, Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America. 

The report details how the dramatic increase in political attacks on transgender youth are just the tip of the iceberg and part of a coordinated effort to eliminate transgender people of all ages from public life.

This year alone, state legislatures introduced more than 725 anti-LGBTQ bills shattering previous records. In 2023, more states enacted bans on transgender youth medical care than passed bans on marriage equality in 2004, one of the worst years in the fight for marriage equality.

“While most of the public focus has been on recent efforts to ban medical care for transgender youth, these attacks are part of a much larger, coordinated effort to try to erase transgender people from public life entirely,” said Logan Casey, Senior Policy Researcher & Advisor at MAP.  “Anti-LGBTQ extremists want to make it impossible for transgender people to be ourselves and to be legally recognized according to our gender identity.”  

This latest report in the Under Fire series from MAP identifies five core tactics opponents are using in their attempts to erase transgender people from public life: 

Tactic 1: Banning health care for transgender youth

The pace at which states are banning access to this care is remarkable. For example, prior to 2021, no states banned medical care for transgender youth.

Today, 22 states have enacted this kind of ban – 19 of them during this year alone. Currently more than 1 in 3 transgender youth live in a state that bans or severely restricts health care for them.  These kinds of laws have been enacted in all but two states in the U.S. South, leaving transgender youth in nearly an entire region without access to medically necessary care.  

Tactic 2: Banning health care or severely restricting health care for transgender adults

Bill introduced across the country are more explicitly targeting transgender adults’ access to care. Nearly one-third of youth-focused medical care ban bills introduced in 2023 would also limit health care for at least some transgender adults.

Some legislation seeks to ban healthcare for transgender adults by redefining a minor to include adults up to age 26.

At least nine states explicitly exclude transgender-related healthcare from Medicaid coverage for adults as well as youth. Some states also ban coverage transgender-related care in state health insurance plans.  Roughly one in seven bills attacking transgender health care included provisions to ban or restrict coverage in private health insurance.  

Tactic 3: Limiting transgender people’s ability to live openly and participate in daily life

Anti-LGBTQ forces are increasingly targeting the ability of transgender people to live openly and safely as themselves throughout their daily lives. This includes making it impossible or extremely difficult to obtain accurate ID, banning the use of bathrooms, restricting social transition, and more.  

ID documents: Four states ban people from updating the gender marker on their birth certificates and another 12 states impose invasive and overly burdensome medical requirements.  

Bathroom bans: Nine states now ban transgender people from using bathrooms and other facilities that match their gender identity. 

New bans, especially in Florida, are expanding their scope to apply not only to schools but also to other government-owned buildings and spaces; Florida’s ban includes major airports, sports arenas, and much more.  

Forced outing: Five states now require schools to out transgender students to their families, often regardless of whether this might put the child at risk of harm.  

Opponents are also working to overturn the existing but limited protections for transgender people, while also working to enact new ways to remove opportunities for legal recognition.

Just in 2023, four states have enacted a new kind of law that defines “sex” throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender and nonbinary people. Two additional states’ governors issued executive orders to the same effect.  

Fewer than half of states have explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender people. Some states are working to undermine those existing protections with religious exemptions

Tactic 5: Criminalizing and harassing supporters of transgender people

Even supporters of transgender equality are being targeted. Healthcare providers for transgender people are facing loss of their licenses or even criminal penalties for providing medically necessary care that is endorsed by major medical associations.

In five states, it is now a felony to provide best-practice medical care to transgender youth.  Dozens of hospitals have reported receiving bomb threats and other serious harassment for providing medically necessary care to transgender youth.  

Many bills in recent years also target parents who support their transgender children. Florida legislation introduced in 2023 would have allowed the state to remove children from their families if the parents were even suspected of supporting them in receiving best-practice medical care. 

“Make no mistake – this swift and coordinated attack on transgender people in the U.S. is part of a larger war on LGBTQ people,” said Casey. “It’s essential that we see beyond one bill or policy to understand the broader scope of what is occurring. This is a coordinated and organized effort to try to erase not just transgender people, but LGBTQ people overall, from being able to publicly live our lives.” 

The entire “Under Fire” series is available here

About MAP: MAP’s mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life. www.mapresearch.org

Continue Reading

News Analysis

Missouri trans clinic closure: Page out of anti-abortion playbook

The restriction on clinics serving trans youth bears a striking resemblance to liability laws targeting another medical procedure: abortion

Published

on

Washington University's Transgender Center is located at St. Louis Children's Hospital. (Photo Credit: St Louis Children's Hospital/Facebook)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – In a recent Tuesday statement, the gender clinic at Washington University announced its decision to cease services for transgender youth under its care.

While youth already receiving care were ostensibly protected under a “grandfather clause” following Missouri’s ban on gender-affirming care, another facet of the law was previously underreported: a prolonged 15-year liability window for those same individuals if they allege “harm” from such treatments, even if the care was performed perfectly.

The touted “grandfather clause” exempting trans youth who already were receiving care appears to have been a mirage, one which disappeared the moment this portion of the bill kicked in. Now, Republicans have a mechanism for closing trans clinics around the country, and they’re borrowing an old tactic from anti-abortion laws to do so, with troubling implications for both.

The provision states that medical practitioners are subject to liability for 15 years following gender affirming care for transgender youth. Disturbingly, one need not even prove neglect on the part of a doctor for a lawsuit to be successful. Providing care under such a system would be impossible.

Washington University’s clinic echoed this sentiment in its recent statement where it announced it would end care: “Due to Missouri’s latest legislation on transgender care, a novel legal challenge has emerged for those treated as minors. This claim introduces insurmountable liability for our health professionals, making it impossible for us to continue all-encompassing transgender care for minors without placing the university and our staff under untenable legal risk.”

You can see the liability provision here:

This is not the first time that a state has used stringent liability provisions as a covert method to ban certain medical treatments. The Missouri restriction on clinics serving transgender youth bears a striking resemblance to liability laws targeting another medical procedure: abortion.

In 1997, Louisiana’s Act 825 laid out specific liability consequences for abortion providers. Perversely, under this legislation, a patient who voluntarily sought and underwent an abortion could then sue for “damages” that, bizarrely, encompassed the intended outcome of the procedure itself—the death of the “unborn child.”

Oklahoma followed a similar trajectory, introducing liability tied to mandatory parental notification for all abortions conducted within its borders. Arguably the most extreme manifestation of this trend surfaced recently in Texas, where laws now empower virtually anyone to sue an abortion provider solely for performing the procedure.

These liability provisions make providing care prohibitively difficult. Firstly, their duration is much longer the typical liability timeframe associated with other medications and procedures. To put it in perspective, Missouri’s medical malpractice lawsuits for all other medical procedures have a window of just 2 years.

What amplifies the predicament is that there’s no need to prove neglect—diverging sharply from standard malpractice suits where establishing neglect is pivotal. These specific provisions targeting gender-affirming and abortion care essentially render the practice financially untenable. Yet, the most most damaging aspect of these provisions is in the difficulty in fighting them in court.

Louisiana’s Act 825 came during a period where Roe v. Wade protections still applied. By 1997, Louisiana had lost several lawsuits declaring abortion bans unconstitutional. In 1990, the state had passed an absolute abortion ban with only an exception “to save the life of the woman or in cases of rape and incest.” This was ruled unconstitutional in 1992.

Legislatures contended with repeated findings on the constitutionality of abortion and concocted new ways to target it. Act 825 represented a major breakthrough.

To challenge a law traditionally, one must target an entity that might enforce it against them, often a state’s district attorney or attorney general. However, Louisiana’s Act 825 posed a unique conundrum. Doctors wishing to administer abortions found themselves devoid of a clear entity to litigate against in seeking to negate the law.

Instead, they were confronted with the peril of possibly being sued after performing an abortion and hoping the challenge would falter in court on constitutional grounds. This amplified risk notably heightened the financial strain of facilitating abortions within the state. Nevertheless, a handful of practitioners pressed on, banking on Roe v. Wade to shield them in individual legal battles.

For trans care, though, it is even more perilous. There is no overarching Roe v. Wade law with settled precedent. Instead, that precedent is still developing as courts seek to interpret if transgender people can be legally discriminated against, or if they are offered protections under the 14th Amendment.

Clinics like the Washington University Gender Clinic cannot even sue to overturn the liability provisions, which could be cost-prohibitive if even a single transgender person decides, 15 years later, that they are unsatisfied with their transition.

There are already signs that liability provisions are expanding. In Texas, for instance, SB1029 passed the Senate but was not ultimately enacted into law. Unlike the Missouri law, which limited the liability provisions to trans youth, the Texas bill expanded it to all transgender care. Any doctor could be sued by any patient, even if the care was provided perfectly, and they would remain strictly liable. Should any state wish to ban gender affirming care for all trans adults, bills like this could be a mechanism to do so.

Given the parallels between anti-abortion and anti-trans legislations, it’s foreseeable that similar tactics may target both types of care in upcoming months. The narrative surrounding abortion and trans care—focused on the alleged “harm” they inflict—lays the groundwork for endorsing such legislations.

Furthermore, the liability clauses act as a deterrent to legal challenges, effectively weaponizing undue risk against the providers. This could lead to the cessation of vital services without any constitutional examination of the underlying laws in the near future.

**********************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

News Analysis

X is placing major ads on a heavily followed antisemitic account

X CEO Linda Yaccarino keeps breaking her promise about brand safety as ads run on account endorsing killing politicians & LGBTQ advocates

Published

on

X (formerly Twitter) has been placing ads for major brands like MLB, Bayer, Tyson Foods, and eBay on the account of Stew Peters, a white nationalist streamer with over 400,000 followers who uses the social platform to endorse the killings of politicians and LGBTQ advocates. (Screenshot/YouTube Stew Peters Show)

By  Eric Hananoki | WASHINGTON – X (formerly Twitter) has been placing ads for major brands like MLB, Bayer, Tyson Foods, and eBay on the account of Stew Peters, a white nationalist streamer who uses the social platform to endorse the killings of politicians and LGBTQ advocates. 

Peters has over 400,000 followers on his account, which he uses to attack people for being Jewish, and recently wrote of the Elon Musk-backed “BanTheADL” campaign: “The ADL controlling free speech has gone on long enough. The final solution should be @elonmusk banning the @ADL from twitter/@x.”   

X CEO Linda Yaccarino has been claiming that her platform is a safe place for brands. She recently tweeted that X has a “commitment to brand safety” and told CNBC in a recent interview that companies are “protected from the risk of being next to” toxic content and, “By all objective metrics, X is a much healthier and safer platform than it was a year ago.” 

That’s false: Media Matters and other observers have shown that X remains a toxic environment, especially for advertisers. Since Elon Musk took over the company, X has placed ads for numerous brands directly on pro-HitlerHolocaust denialwhite nationalist, and neo-Nazi accounts. Ads have also appeared next to unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish people and 9/11. 

Peters is a far-right conspiracy theorist, white nationalist, and Rumble host who believes that politicians, pro-vaccine advocates, and journalists must be executed.

Peters was previously banned on X when it was known as Twitter, but he was able to reopen an account under Musk. During his time on X, he has authored numerous posts that have spread false claims and conspiracy theories, including recently claiming that a laser weapon caused the Lahaina wildfires. 

He also uses his account to attack people for being Jewish and promote white nationalism. He once posted a celebratory picture of Hitler, writing: “Say what you will about Hitler, but people turned out for his rallies.” 

He wrote of the Holocaust: “The Covid bioweapon genocide is significantly WORSE than the holocaust in terms of worldwide reach and number of deaths.” 

Despite (or maybe because of) his toxic background, numerous political figures have appeared on his program. They include: U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Bob Good (R-VA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ); Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Peters recently spoke at the ReAwaken America tour in Las Vegas along with Donald Trump Jr., Lara Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Michael Flynn, among others. During that speech, Peters again called for the hanging of Anthony Fauci. 

Peters openly promotes violence on his account, which is a violation of X’s purported rules. X, however, has repeatedly failed to enforce its rules under Musk and Yaccarino’s watch. 

X placed ads for major advertisers on Peters’ violent posts and account 

We looked at two recent examples of Peters promoting violence and found numerous ads for major brands directly on those posts. We also looked at Peters’ account and found numerous other brand ads. 

Pro-LGBTQ killing. Peters posted an image of a flier calling for the murder of pro-LGBTQ advocates, including the anti-bullying group GLSEN and Target, because they support transgender rights. He wrote: “Apparently some fine Americans are circulating some literature at their local Target store.”

Brand ads on that post include:

Stew Peters ads

While advertising for Bayer — a pharmaceutical company that helped produce a COVID-19 vaccine — has appeared on his account, Peters has said drug companies involved in the manufacturing of the vaccine should receive “the death penalty.” 

Pro-politician killing. Peters posted an image of gallows with the caption “government repair kit.” He wrote: “We have a lot of repairing to do.” 

Brand ads on that post include:

Stew Peters ads second example

Peters’ account is filled with other calls for violence. Those include him posting a video of politicians and reporters making pro-COVID-19 vaccine remarks and writing, “Every single one of these people deserve the rope”; and him saying of non-binary singer Sam Smith, “Any serious society would give this demon the Old Yeller treatment.” 

Peters also recently suggested violence against California state Rep. Lori Wilson (D), posting on X regarding a speech she made supporting gender affirming care: “Time for a trip to the woodshed.” (Replies to Peters included “gallows,” “hang,” and “to the big tree.”) 

We also found ads for numerous brands on Peters’ account page: 

***************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

News Analysis

Charlie Kirk: Trans people are “An abomination to God”

Kirk calls trans people a “throbbing middle finger to God” then deadnaming trans swimmer Lia Thomas, stating, “you’re an abomination to God”

Published

on

Charlie Kirk speaking to reporters at a conservative gathering. (Screenshot/YouTube Right Wing Watch)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – In a video released Monday by Right Wing Watch, Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk calls transgender people a “throbbing middle finger to God” and “an abomination.”

He follows up by deadnaming University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, stating, “you’re an abomination to God.” Kirk, an influential conservative who runs Turning Point USA, has previously made statements that could be interpreted to promote violence towards transgender people, such as the time he called for transgender people to be “taken care of” like men did in the “1950s and 60s.”

“The one issue that I think is so against our senses, so against the natural law – and dare I say, a throbbing middle finger to God – is the transgender thing happening in America right now,” Kirk said. “You’re in a church, so it’s important to remember Deuteronomy 22:5, ‘A woman shall not wear a man’s garment nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the lord your God.’ You hear that [Deadname removed] Thomas? You’re an abomination to God!”

You can see the video here (content warning: extreme anti-trans rhetoric, deadnaming):

Turning Point USA has played a significant role in politics opposing transgender rights. The organization, which operates with a budget in the tens of millions of dollars, supports candidates who emphasize anti-trans stances in their campaigns.

For example, Rep. Braxton Mitchell of Montana authored the state’s anti-drag bill, which passed but was later blocked as likely unconstitutional. Rep. Mazzie Boyd of Missouri penned similar legislation. Both were candidates that were developed through TPUSA or at conventions run by them.

Additionally, Turning Point USA operates the “Turning Point Academy,” an “educational movement” promoting anti-LGBTQ narratives for K-12 students. The organization has collaborated with Libs of TikTok, managed by Chaya Raichik, a notable anti-trans Twitter account criticized for inciting anti-trans violence.

Charlie Kirk has previously made extreme remarks about transgender individuals. Earlier this year, he interviewed swimmer Riley Gaines, known for her anti-trans views, and seemed to suggest transgender people should be dealt with violently, stating that trans people are “sick” and that men should have “taken care of” trans people like “we did in the 1950s and 60s.” Such remarks sparked significant protests at several universities where Kirk was scheduled to speak, including the University of California, Davis.

Charlie Kirk’s organization often conducts speaking tours on college campuses. One notable tour is the Live Free Tour. In 2022, it was advertised as an event to “counter left-leaning propaganda and uphold conservative values in the classroom.”

The 2023 tour includes both Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens. Owens has made violent comments regarding transgender individuals, suggesting she would beat a hypothetical trans grandchild with a cane and advocating for the removal of trans children from their parents.

Here are the 2023 tour dates for the Live Free Tour this year:

  • San Jose State University – October 2nd
  • University of Central Florida – October 10th
  • Georgia Tech – October 12th
  • University of Texas, San Antonio – October 18th
  • The University of Buffalo – October 25th
  • University of California, Los Angeles – November 9th

Kirk, along with many opponents of transgender rights, has often suggested that his views are rooted in science. He has criticized policies that allow transgender participation in sports, saying, “We have entered dangerous territory where science, biology, and facts no longer matter.” Turning Point USA has published videos echoing similar sentiments.

However, Kirk’s recent statements may cast doubt on this position. A majority of the anti-trans care bans over the past two years were crafted by a coalition of religious groups, as per leaked emails covered by Vice News, which characterized the emails as indicative of an “anti-trans holy war.”

With the organization and its leader increasingly emphasizing anti-trans legislation, monitoring their stance in the upcoming months will be crucial, especially as we approach 2024’s elections. While elections centered on trans issues haven’t resulted in many conservative wins—and have arguably led to losses in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia—it’s evident that Kirk and his organization view this as a galvanizing issue to rally a Republican base that opposes transgender rights.

**********************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

News Analysis

Matt Walsh’s anti-LGBTQ YouTube hate speech monetized

After the Daily Wire personality announced the penalty, he repeatedly misgendered Lia Thomas & claimed LGBTQ people & allies were groomers

Published

on

Graphic by Molly Butler for Media Matters

By Ari Drennen | WASHINGTON – In an April 24 video posted to YouTube, Matt Walsh confirmed that his channel had been stripped of advertiser revenue, a first step to either permanent demonetization or a ban from the platform, claiming that the penalty would cost him more than $100,000 per month. 

Walsh then explained that he could “get back into YouTube’s good graces” and restore advertiser revenue to his channel by “simply respecting preferred pronouns and refraining from offering any meaningful critiques of gender ideology.”

He didn’t do any of that, misgendering Lia Thomas in multiple videos, attacking Bud Light, Disney, and Target with false accusations of “grooming” and “promoting transgenderism,” and claiming that LGBTQ activists demand child sacrifice. At least half a dozen videos published after Walsh’s demonetization and reviewed by Media Matters appear to violate YouTube’s advertiser-friendly guidelines. Three months later, YouTube restored advertiser revenue to his channel anyway. 

An August 25 YouTube video titled “Kids Are Now Being Forced To Learn Radical Gender Theory” features organic advertiser content while Walsh declares that LGBTQ activists believe “public schools should groom all kids” and that they demand “you offer your children up to them as sacrifices on their altar.” Ad content now also appears on Walsh’s videos from before he was demonetized, including one in which he attacks trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, misgenders her multiple times, and calls her “a monster of our own making,” as well as on a shorter version of the same rant focused entirely on Mulvaney and the influencer’s connection to Bud Light. 

During his suspension from advertiser revenue, Walsh stopped posting the full version of his show to YouTube, opting instead to post it to the Daily Wire’s own website and X.com (formerly Twitter). But in shorter videos posted to YouTube, Walsh continued attacking Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light, in defiance of YouTube’s disciplinary ruling, with a May 5 video mocking the brand’s poor sales, during which the podcaster declared, “It is going to make brands in the future think long and hard about promoting transgenderism.” 

Walsh’s flouting of YouTube guidelines didn’t stop there. In a video posted May 22, Walsh blasted former Vice President Mike Pence for siding with “the Disney groomers,” whom the Daily Wire personality claimed support “the castration and mutilation of kids” and “pornographic content in elementary schools.” The same day, Walsh called for a boycott of Target, saying, “Anyone who is making anything related to Pride, the Pride flag and all that — it’s all satanic imagery.”

video posted on June 2 contained some vivid verbal imagery, with Walsh saying, “We take Bud Light and we put its head on a — on a pike, okay, at the entrance of the town, to show the other woke corporations: This is what we can do. We can actually do this to you. We can destroy you.” Walsh then pivoted to Target, with a similarly blunt message: “To be seen walking out of Target carrying the Target bag with the Target symbol — it’s like you’re a groomer too.” 

Walsh also attacked former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas. Throughout an interview with one of Thomas’ former teammates, over a year after her final swim meet, Walsh repeatedly deadnamed and misgendered the swimmer. Walsh himself seemed aware that he was violating YouTube’s community guidelines, as he promoted the interview two days later in a separate video, instructing viewers they could find the video on Twitter or YouTube, at least  “until YouTube takes it down.” Walsh misgendered Thomas in that video as well. 

In a video posted June 9, Walsh called me “depraved and insane” for defending the rights of adults to seek gender affirming care.

Without official ad content, Walsh started inserting ads for gold, skin care brand Genucel, and ExpressVPN into his monologues. At the same time, Walsh excoriated YouTube for its guidelines, saying, “Now they decided that if you just use the word ‘him’ in relation to a man who prefers to be seen as a woman, now that’s harassment.”

The platform blinked first. The Social Blade previously estimated Walsh’s annual advertiser revenue to be as high as $1.6 million per year. Now, following his return from demonetization, he could still be making as much as $1.4 million a year for sharing content that last year earned him the title of Transphobe of the Year. This kind of content fuels dangerous real world actions: a San Bernardino mother of 9 was shot in August defending the Pride flag in front of her store. The shooter had previously shared Walsh’s call to boycott Target and had pinned an image of a burning Pride flag to the top of his account on X.

Update (9/8/23): Matt Walsh reacted to this article by sharing it with his audience on X (formerly Twitter), writing simply “lol.”

In a statement to Media Matters confirming the initial demonetization, a spokesperson for YouTube wrote, “We suspended monetization on Matt Walsh’s channel due to repeated violations of our YouTube Partner Program policies, which include our Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines. These policies apply equally to all creators, regardless of political viewpoint, and channels that repeatedly violate these policies are demonetized.” YouTube’s hate speech policy prohibits content that “promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups” based on, among other protected categories, “gender identity and expression” and/or “sexual orientation.”

Walsh repeatedly violated those policies during his suspension, and YouTube is rewarding him with cash by the truck load.

***************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Intrusive legislation intimidates & drives self-censorship in schools

Between January 2021 and June 2023, 392 educational intimidation bills have been introduced in state legislatures

Published

on

High School students during classes break. (Photo Credit: Flagler Schools/Facebook)

By Suzanne Trimel | WASHINGTON – A wave of state legislation sweeping the nation is creating the conditions to intimidate educators into self-censorship in schools, according to a new PEN America report released this past month.

Educational Intimidation: How ‘Parental Rights’ Legislation Undermines the Freedom to Learn examines the rise of what PEN America has dubbed “educational intimidation bills,” a category of legislation that has the effect of prompting self-censorship in schools through indirect mechanisms, rather than direct edicts. Under the guise of advancing “parental rights,” nearly 400 of these bills have been introduced that risk empowering ideologues to intervene in the curricular and extracurricular decisions of teachers, librarians, and school administrators, overriding the judgment of educators and the views of the majority.

These intimidation bills are distinct from “educational gag orders,” a class of bills previously documented by PEN America that directly ban what can be taught in classrooms, targeting discussions of race, racism, gender, aspects of American history and other “prohibited” or “divisive” concepts. Intimidation bills compound the crisis in public education, casting a chilling effect through new tools that radically expand the avenues for lone parents, government officials, and citizens to monitor and exert control over pedagogical decisions.

“This rising tide of educational intimidation exposes the movement that cloaks itself in the language of ‘parental rights’ for what it really is: a smoke screen for efforts to suppress teaching and learning and hijack public education in America,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of Free Expression and Education programs at PEN America. “The opportunity for parents to inspect and object to school curricula is already commonly granted in public school systems, as it should be. But this spate of provisions dramatically expands these powers in ways that are designed to spur schools and educators to self-censor. These bills risk turning every classroom into an ideological battleground, forcing teachers out of the profession, and jeopardizing the future of millions of students.”

In its Index of Educational Intimidation Bills that accompanies the report, PEN America has identified 392 educational intimidation bills introduced in state legislatures between January 2021 and June 2023, 39 of which have passed into law in 19 states. The organization catalogs 12 types of educational intimidation provisions, including those that:

  • would require teachers to post all instructional or professional development materials on public websites, making it easy for any citizen to object;
  • would restrict students’ library access or make it easier for individual parents to get books banned for all students;
  • invite parents to opt students into or out of certain content, creating unwieldy “a la carte” curricula that risk defeating the unifying purpose of public schools;
  • expand the concept of “obscenity” beyond its well-established legal definition, opening educators and librarians up to criminal penalties;
  • would deputize teachers with requirements to police students’ gender expression.

The report documents how many of these laws and policies are already responsible for educational censorship across the country. An art teacher in Tennessee no longer teaches about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo or artist and AIDS activist Keith Haring because of the state’s HB 529, which requires teachers to alert parents to any LGBTQ+ content so they can withdraw their children from the lesson. Fear of discipline or criminal liability under some of these new state laws has driven school districts to ban books with sexual or LGBTQ+ content, from Missouri, to Virginia, to Florida, to, most recently, Iowa.

Laws and policies in Florida, Indiana, and at least seven other states require that parents be notified of any significant changes to their child’s gender expression or sexual orientation, turning teachers into what North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum called in a veto message, “the pronoun police.” One school district in Florida even banned ‘Safe Space’ stickers, because the presence of a student in such a space could “trigger a duty” for the school staff to notify a parent of their child’s “well-being.” Such measures, argue the report’s authors, compromise the role of educators and schools in supporting students and exercising professional judgment to engage families constructively in issues affecting their children.

Among the key findings from the report include:

  • Between January 2021 and June 2023, 392 educational intimidation bills have been introduced in state legislatures, 39 of which have passed into law. An additional nine policies have been adopted via executive order or enacted as part of state regulatory policy.
  • At least 19 states have passed educational intimidation bills or adopted them via state policy.
  • These bills overwhelmingly emanate from conservative legislators: 377 of the 392 have been introduced by Republicans.
  • Over 80 bills would force teachers to monitor students’ gender expression, forcibly outing students to their parents regardless whether educators believe that such a disclosure is warranted, or how it will be received. Outing provisions are in effect, by law or by executive order, in Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Utah, Kentucky, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
  • Of the intimidation bills introduced in 2023, 45 percent have an anti-LGBTQ+ provision, including the forced outing of students.
  • Missouri (31) has introduced the most educational intimidation bills in the nation, followed by Texas (21), Oklahoma (20), South Carolina (18), Indiana (17) and Mississippi (16).

The ideological motivation behind the bills is another key focus. As the authors explain, the bills are based on model legislation produced by a small group of conservative think tanks and activist groups, with the vast majority sponsored by Republican legislators, sometimes in concert with, or following other legislation that includes more direct censorious prohibitions. One bill proposed in Kansas was described by a supportive lawmaker as a “slick little way” of preventing critical race theory from being taught in classrooms.

The report authors express grave concern about increasing “experimentation and copycatting” across state lines to introduce these laws. Bills that fail during one legislative session are often reintroduced or recycled in the next, and in the current political climate, even provisions that are less extreme in their wording can be interpreted or applied in ways that advance censorship. Similar policies are also being adopted at the district level, making the true impact difficult to quantify.

“These bills are not what they seem,” Friedman continued. “They are the next phase in a years-long campaign to incite panic and impose ideological strictures on schools. Education in a democracy must be characterized by openness and curiosity, by the freedom to read, learn, and think. These bills strike at that foundation, in novel, sometimes subtle, yet potentially irrevocable ways. Their spread should not be taken lightly.”

*************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by PEN America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

New poll shows massive backlash to anti-LGBTQ school policies

A new Navigator Research Poll shows that book bans, school sports policies, and Don’t Say Gay bills are wildly unpopular

Published

on

South Lakes High School, Reston, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Fairfax County Schools/Facebook)

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – Over the past two years, over a dozen states—all under Republican governance—have enacted policies that forcibly disclose the gender identities of transgender youth to their families, ban LGBTQ+ literature in educational settings, and prohibit educators from discussing LGBTQ+ topics.

Driven by a wave of right-wing, anti-trans sentiment, teachers have been labeled as “groomers” and terminated for even showing incidental support for LGBTQ+ people, such as showing classroom films with LGBTQ+ characters in them. At the same time, books with LGBTQ+ themes are facing scrutiny, and students are subjected to exhaustive investigations into their gender—often instigated by parents who question the legitimacy of a transgender student’s athletic victory.

Now, a new Navigator Research survey reveals significant public backlash against the GOP’s stance on LGBTQ+ issues in schools.

Navigator Research surveyed 1,000 registered voters between August 17-August 21 to ask about education policy in general. When asked about the top three issues voters care about, only 28% listed “being exposed to woke issues about gender and race in school” as one of their top three issues. Instead, topics such as safety from gun violence, education quality, and providing mental healthcare in school garnered widespread support.

See the survey results on education priorities here:

The survey delved into specific policies enacted in conservative states, revealing broad public disapproval. Policies involving book bans and mandatory genital inspections for youth athletes in order to confirm their sex were especially unpopular, with 92% and 84% opposition, respectively. Additional measures, such as the prohibition of Advanced Placement African-American History, suspensions for teachers who show support for LGBTQ+ students, and bans on classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity, also faced strong opposition—each garnering over 65% disapproval in the survey. Opposition was even widespread among parents, who opposed each of these policies.

See the survey results on specific policies here:

These findings pose a significant challenge for conservatives who are doubling down on an anti-LGBTQ+ platform. When considered alongside other polls, such as a Fox News survey in which 86% of respondents identified attacks on transgender children as “a problem,” the data suggest that Republicans are experiencing substantial backlash. This is particularly relevant given the considerable focus they have placed on targeting transgender individuals in schools and in personal lives. According to the Navigator survey, a mere 34% of voters indicated trust in the Republican Party on these issues. Democrats currently enjoy a 10-point advantage on matters related to race and gender in educational settings, buoyed by strong support from independent voters.

Anti-trans politics have not been successful for Republicans in recent elections, either. In Georgia, Herschel Walker featured an anti-trans swimmer, Riley Gaines, in his final election ads to try to make the race about transgender issues – he lost his election bid. Similar defeats happened in ArizonaMichiganWisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where millions were spent on anti-trans election ads failed to bring about Republican victories. Most recently, Ohio Republicans spent $2,000,000 on anti-trans ads to try to convince voters that voting no on a constitutional amendment ballot initiative designed to make abortion protections harder to pass would actually lead to “trans surgeries for kids.” The referendum suffered a massive double-digit defeat.

Despite this, Republicans persist in prioritizing anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ policies in their campaigns. To date, 16 states have imposed restrictions on discussing LGBTQ+ topics in schools, while 23 states have enacted sports bans targeting transgender youth. In Georgia, a teacher was recently dismissed for reading the Scholastic Kids book “My Shadow Is Purple” in a showy hearing featuring school administrators grilling her support for LGBTQ+ students. Similarly, in Florida, a teacher lost her job simply for screening a Disney film that included an LGBTQ+ character. In Oklahoma, students who wish to participate in sports must complete “biological sex affidavits.” Just this past weekend, Iowa teachers started distributing legal notices and forms to parents seeking permission for nickname use, such as “Joe” for a student named Joseph. These policies starkly contrast with the voter sentiments revealed in the survey, signaling a discord between public opinion and legislative action.

There are indications that Republicans may be recognizing the political liability associated with these issues. During a recent debate, when GOP primary candidate Nikki Haley was questioned about transgender individuals in schools, she quickly shifted the conversation to reading remediation. Other candidates also refrained from extensively discussing the topic, largely sidestepping the issue altogether. It’s probable that their internal polling aligns with recent external surveys, revealing both the topic’s limited traction and a notable absence of strong support. Nevertheless, the policies continue to be heavily pushed by Republicans in state legislatures, and voters will see their record when they do head to the ballot boxes in 2024.

***************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Popular