Monday, June 06, 2016

'Boycott Target' anti-gay hate group undercuts its own argument

If you are involved in observing anti-lgbt groups, then you know the story of the Georgia ACLU director, Dillard Smith, who quit over the organization's defense of transgender men and women using the restrooms of their desired gender identities. She claims that an encounter with three transgender women while she was in the bathroom with her children led her to this action.

This is her story via the interview she did with Megyn Kelly of Fox News (courtesy of the American Family Association's One News Now):

"Before my recruitment to Georgia, in my native California, the Bay Area where I am from, I took my young daughters, I have three daughters, I took the youngest two into a women's restroom, a public women's restroom, and shortly after we were in entered three transgender young adults, all over six feet, all with really deep voices, all obviously men," Smith told The Kelly File.

 My children were visibly frightened. I was very uncomfortable, and it engendered a lot of questions from my daughters for which I was ill-prepared to answer."

 So since my arrival at the ACLU, I have been actively seeking out information and asking questions," Smith continued. "As we advance, as there is an effort to advance transgender rights, what are the implications on the rights of women and girls? What are the implications on the rights of parents?"

Granted, there is no way to verify this story, including her claim that the women were "over six feet tall" or transgender.  After all, I know a few women who are over six feet tall with really deep voices who are not transgender.

 But none of this stopped One News Now from weighing in with red flags:
 
Smith's situation comes as conservative groups such as American Family Association are boycotting Target over its policy allowing transgenders to use the restroom and changing room of their choosing. According to AFA, sexual predators could take advantage of the policy, thereby putting women and children at risk.

 "This proves our point and it's what we've been saying all along," says Walker Wildmon of AFA. "Allowing men free access to women's restrooms and changing rooms is a dangerous policy."

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that Smith's story is totally true. There is still a huge fallacy with Wildmon's statement.  

Where exactly was the danger here? 

At no point did Smith indicate that she or her daughters were in any danger from the women.  If anything, it proves that transgender women are no danger to anyone using the women's restroom.

The problem here seems to be that Smith didn't want to explain to her daughters the existence of transgender women.  Seeing that the women did not pose a danger to either Smith or her children, why should they be forced to inconvenience themselves simply because Smith did not want to explain a certain fact of life to her children, - that there are some people who are transgender?

That's like saying that since some parents have a problem explaining same-sex families to their children, we should ban gays from adopting. 

Noah Michelson of The Huffington Post had this to say about the situation:

The way that Dillard Smith handled this situation is absolutely appalling — full stop. If her strategy to deal with any question poised by her children that she can’t easily and instantly answer is to stick her head in the sand, run the opposite direction — or worse, take it out on a group of wholly innocent people, I fear for her kids. They’re going to meet lots of people in their lives that don’t look like them or talk like them or act like them. The sooner they learn that people come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and genders and sexualities, the sooner they can shrug their shoulders, toss a “that’s cool” over their shoulders and head back outside to play.

So, what should a parent do if they encounter a trans person while in the bathroom — or anywhere else — with their kids? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration including how old the children are and what their specific questions are, but generally speaking: Start by explaining that there are all kinds of people in this big, beautiful world and that everyone is special in their own way. Tell them that being different is a magnificent thing and ask them to imagine how boring it would be if everyone was the same. From there, check out some of the many resources available on the web to get into the particulars of what it means to be trans (see below for just a few). And... that’s it, really!

I couldn't agree more. But back to the subject of this post, feeling uncomfortable because of an unfamiliar situation is not the same as being in immediate danger.  The attempt to spin this situation into an attack on transgender women says more about the American Family Association's desperation to be seen as winners in a situation which, like so many other boycotts it has undertaken , has blown up in its face.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Got it right. Trans people are not responsible for the feelings of others, the people with those feelings are. You don't get to legislate people out of existence because you don't want to bother explaining a fact of life to your kid.
We should be making laws keeping convicted sex offenders out of bathrooms (and we haven't even bothered with these known molesters) but people are instead trying to legislate against Trans women and Trans men. Pathetic and wholly misguided.