After North Carolina yesterday, it's safe to say that finally the lgbt community is realizing that in spite of winning marriage, we are still involved in a brutal war of rhetoric and position against groups and folks determined to take away our rights.
Welcome to the party, y'all.
That being said, my guess is that after North Carolina, anti-gay groups will be coordinating to repeat what happened in there throughout the United States in as many areas as they can. The following is simply my opinion as to what the lgbt community and our allies MUST do next to combat and defeat this new attack on us.
The anchor of anti-gay assault this time is the transgender community. Exploiting fears and ignorance, the religious right and their allies in state legislatures are using "bathroom bills"
to strip the entire lgbt community of our rights. My advice is to don't run from the lie. Run to it. Full speed. We have enough information and resources to bogart and refute the talking point. Resources like the following from Media Matters (which by the way does NOT get used enough by our community)
This graphic needs to be sent out to as many places as possible. Its information needs to be repeated in as many places as possible. Don't be afraid to overwhelm. The goal is to get the truth about these so-called "bathroom bills" out there and drilled into as many heads as possible. And on that same note, I understand the trepidation and fear, but as many transgender brothers and sisters as can be need to be public and telling their story. If folks have transgender family members, they need to tell their stories also. It's all about getting the truth out there.
I have no doubt that we will win this particular fight. But what about next time because my guess is that there will be another fight after this one. Religious right groups have an nauseatingly uncanny knack of pinpointing a fear about the lgbt community and using it to exploit the uninformed. This mess about "bathroom bills" is just the latest in a long line of horror stories and lies they have told about the lgbt community. It's like I said in another post:
In the 70s, they said the children must be protected from "recruitment" since gays supposedly can't reproduce.
In the 80s, they exploited the ignorance regarding the AIDS crisis to make lgbts seem like deserving pariahs.
In the 90s. it was all about keeping us from receiving unfair "special rights."
And in the early 2000's, it was all about "protecting marriage."
So what can we do about it? We connect all of these past lies. We consistently remind people of other claims the religious right have made about lgbts (such as hate crimes legislation will lead pastors to be arrested in their pulpits) which turned out to be not true. In doing this, we can to strip the "bathroom bill" of its unearned power as a legitimate problem, thereby exposing it as yet another lie designed to demonize the lgbt community.
As much as I hate to say this, the lgbt community have the bad habit of underestimating those who want to deny us our equality. We are too quick to celebrate when we get one victory and too slow to realize that the one victory in question is only a battle in a larger war.
It's not that we aren't intelligent or talented enough to defeat religious right lies. It's that we seem to always be deliberately unprepared. We generally win, but only after lots of heart ache, tears, anger, circular firing squads, and all of the trappings of a people trying to catch up in a battle.
I don't about any of you, but I am tired of playing catch up.
Related post - How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America